Renown Islamic scholar, Ahmad Gumi, claimed yesterday that bandits operating in Nigeria were doing so in connivance with some security agents in the country.

Gumi, who spoke in an interview on Arise TV, said: ‘’These bandits are operating with a lot of people in the security system. This is business, otherwise, how can these big weapons they use cross the borders into the country if money is not exchanging hands.’’

Explaining that the banditry in Nigeria was more of tribal war between herders and other tribes, Gumi said it was further compounded by the partiality of the government.

According to him, government which is supposed to be neutral is taking sides against the bandits, sending security agents after them.

‘’We over-simplify a very complex issue and this breeds confusion. Nigeria is fighting a tribal war and government is supposed to be neutral but it is not. This is what I saw in Zamfara; this is what I saw in Niger.

“When you say these bandits are committing atrocities, yes, agreed, they are committing crimes – they are killing people, they are kidnapping, they are raping, they are doing all sorts of atrocities. But, have you for once gone to their sides and see all sorts of atrocities that are also committed against them?

“So that rather than wielding the big stick and relying on military action, the Federal Government will do well in restoring normalcy by engaging the bandits in negotiation and using willing volunteers among them to win the battle.

‘’Boko Haram leader, Shekau, had been causing havoc in the country for more than 10 years and the military could not kill him but ISWAP, a splinter group from Boko Haram was able to eliminate him. So is the case with the herdsmen. We can use them to suppress the criminals among them.

“As we all know, at a point, the Boko Haram were ready for dialogue and at a point, they even recommended the current President (Buhari) to negotiate for them. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo even tried to broker peace with Boko Haram.

‘’People should be neutral in this tribal war. The children of herders who are now bandits are also being killed in different parts of the country. Look at what happened in Oyo area of the South West where herders and their children were killed.

‘’I don’t speak for bandits committing atrocities; I also don’t speak for those committing atrocities against the bandits, I’m only trying to be neutral.

‘’People do not understand when I say it is ethnic war going on. You see Fulani fighting Yoruba in the South West, Igbo in the South East and other tribes in the north. I wonder why government should be taking sides with other tribes against herders. Bandits are ready to stop banditry if the military is ready to cooperate with them,’’ Gumi said.

Vanguard Newspaper

Insecurity : Banditry in Nigeria is a business – Sheikh Gumi


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