The controversial Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has described as of no significance the recent order of a Federal High Court, Abuja, proscribing the activities of all bandits across the country.
The Kaduna-based cleric described the order as mere political expediency, adding that it will not come to effect.
Gumi added that the declaration of the court would rather cause more mayhem, saying that it won’t stop the bandits from wreaking havoc.
On Friday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in a ruling declared the activities of the ‘Yan Bindiga Group’ and the ‘Yan Ta’adda Group’ and other similar groups in any part of the country, especially in the North-West and North-Central geopolitical zones, as “acts of terrorism and illegality.”
Reacting to the order, Gumi in a statement by his media aide, Tukur Mamu, said the order was similar to the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation. He added that though order was granted by a court, the international community did not accord it recognition.
The statement reads, “So it’s just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on ground.
“If you can remember, IPOB was also declared a terrorist organisation. The declaration was even backed by the order of the court, but as you can see, even the international community did not recognise FG’s declaration on IPOB.
“So it has failed to be effective or to achieve the desired results.
“They have not been banned from travelling to other countries, while their citizenship remains intact; it has not been denounced.
“So what type of declaration is that?
“I sincerely hope that Nigerians will not take the herdsmen as terrorists, but should regard the criminality of the few among them against innocent people as acts of terrorism just as we see IPOB and their attacks on security agencies and other northern citizens as acts of terrorism.
“Very few herdsmen are bandits if you go through their population.
“I hope this declaration will not give the licence to people to be profiling herdsmen in general as terrorists and taking laws into their hands against them.
“It will cause more mayhem. The declaration will not change anything, it will not change the dynamics. Already, the military is engaging them.
“It didn’t stop them from kidnappings and killings. The declaration will not end their aggression against the society.
“The Fulani banditry is a socio-economic problem. We have seen it, we interacted widely with them.
“We told the federal government the way out. It can only be won through engagement, dialogue and justice.
“That is why today, there is relative peace in the Niger Delta because government has accepted the painful reality of rehabilitating and empowering them.
“There has to be equitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria and justice for every one.
“People don’t want to accept it. Before the issue of banditry that now affects all of us, the Fulani have suffered so much.
“They have lost their legitimate means of livelihood; I mean their cows through cattle rustling and extortion by security agencies.
“That has to be addressed as a means of genuine reconciliation and integration. They should have sense of belonging.”