Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has disclosed that some bad elements in the Nigerian security system are allegedly colluding with bandits to terrorize the country.
The Islamic cleric made this revelation while speaking during an interview session with the Arise TV, monitored by The New Diplomat, Wednesday.
According to the Kaduna-based cleric, who recently added chief negotiator on behalf of the bandits to his title, the weapons being used by the bandits are being shipped across the borders into the country with the knowledge of some bad elements in the nation’s security apparatus.
Speaking further, he added that banditry is a business, adding that there are some people who are profiting from it.
While reacting to the general insinuations that the bandits terrorising the country are not Nigerians, Gumi debunked the claims, saying that his time with the bandits revealed that many bandits in the forest are Nigerians.
In his own words: “I am not an immigration officer to know who is a Nigerian or not by mere looking at him, but the people we saw in the bush are Nigerians. Infact, most of the times their cousins, fathers are there (in the bush). So, for us they are Nigerians. I am for Nigeria, I am for the truth, I am for justice and I don’t accept extra-judicial killings whether from the authorities, military, bandits or from any individual.
“We want peace in the nation, we want the rule of law, we want everybody to go through the due process of law. No blood should be spilled, this is what I am advocating for.
“These bandits, if you don’t know are operating with alot of bad elements in the our security system. This is a big business, many people are involved, I am still against everybody committing crime against this country.
“How can these big weapons get across our borders and get into the forest without the cooperation of some elements in the security system? It is not possible. If I give you the same weapon can you take it to the UK? You cannot get it there because their security system is alert.”
While attempting to prescribe solutions to the banditry nightmare in Nigeria, the cleric called for a complete overhaul of the security system, saying that the country’s security agencies need to be more alert and proactive.
Gumi, who had in the past demanded that amnesty be granted to the marauding bandits, reiterated his call for amnesty. According to him, some of the bandits do not see themselves as criminals, saying that the government should immediately act before they get infiltrated by other elements who are more dangerous than them.
In his words, “One of the solution to fighting this banditry is to overhaul our security system. The last picture we saw of the last abduction, those boys carrying weapons at the back, I want them to be in school. When we went to Niger State and met one of them, I told one of them ‘I will bring you to school in Kaduna, do you want to come to school?’, he said ‘yes, yes’, he wants to come to school. These boys wants to go to school, so if the government will give me a free hand I will remove those weapons from them and put them in school.”
Speaking further, Gumi stated that the Fulani herdsmen are gradually becoming radicalized, expressing that they might be infiltrated if the government continues to politicise the issue.
“The herdsmen are ready to are ready to sit down and negotiate with the government. If you hear the letter released by these people that kidnapped the federal government college students, I saw things which only the experts know. The herdsmen now are gradually becoming radicalized, but not in a terrorist form I mean religiously, and this is a bad omen for us because when a criminal comes out reading religious texts to justify his action, then such people are much more difficult to convince. Let’s go against them before the evil forces meet them,” he added.