DSS Invites Sheikh Gumi For Questioning

Sheikh Ahmad Gumi made an appearance on Channels TV's Politics Today on February 22, 2021.
Sheikh Ahmad Gumi made an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today on February 22, 2021.

 

The Department of State Services on Friday said it has invited Kaduna-based cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi for questioning.

“Sheikh Gumi was invited by the Service,” the service’s spokesmperson, Peter Afunaya, said in a response to a Channels Television enquiry.

The spokesman added that “it is not out of place for it to invite any person of interest.”

However, the cleric, speaking to Channels Television after Friday mosque duties, said he is not aware of any invitation.

“Nobody invited me for questioning or any arrest,” he said.

Although the DSS did not confirm the rationale for the invitation, Sheikh Gumi has recently been outspoken on the issue of banditry in Nigeria.

According to the cleric, amnesty should be extended to bandits, who he says have been ‘forced’ into criminality due to, in part, government neglect.

In a recent interview, Gumi alleged that some military operatives actively connive with bandits to wreak havoc on the country.

‘Peaceful people’

Nigeria is currently dealing with a banditry scourge, especially in the North-West region.

Students are frequently kidnapped in schools and attacks on road travelers and communities are ubiquitous.

On Thursday, at least one person was killed and 33 others abducted in a community in Kaduna state.

However, Gumi, who has visited some bandit groups in the forests where they reside, has advocated for the bandits to be treated with compassion.

“When I listened to them, I found out that it is a simple case of criminality which turned into banditry, which turned into ethnic war, and some genocide too behind the scene; people don’t know,” Sheikh Gumi said in an interview with Channels Television last February.

The cleric said that while “there is no excuse for any crime; nothing can justify crime, and they are committing crime,” the bandits were forced into criminality.

“I think it is a population that is pushed by circumstances into criminality,” he said. “And this is what we should look, let’s remove the pressure, let’s remove the things that made them into criminals because we have lived thousands of years without any problems with the nomadic herdsmen. They are peaceful people. But something happened that led them to this.”

Obasanjo, Gumi Seek Creation Of Special Courts For Banditry Cases, Others

 

Special courts should be created to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding, and unlawful carrying of weapons in the country.

This formed part of the solutions to the nation’s security challenges recommended by former President Olusegun Obasanjo and popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

Both men met on Sunday at the residence of the former president in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital to discuss and propose possible solutions to the security challenges in the country.

Suggesting ways to address the issues of insecurity, Obasanjo and Gumi stressed the need for the people, irrespective of their affiliation, to desist from blame game, as well as attributing ethnicity, religion, and region to crimes committed by criminals.

They asked the people to respect one another, show tolerance and accommodation where necessary, as well as condemn criminal acts no matter where it was committed and by whom it was committed.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sheikh Abubakar Gumi met at the residence of the elder statesman in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on April 4, 2021.

 

According to the elder statesman and the Islamic scholar, encouraging more of carrot solution as may be found necessary, sharing information at all levels, and not accepting criminality as a way of life for any individual or group in the country, are part of the solutions to insecurity in the land.

At the meeting, they agreed that banditry, kidnapping, and other crimes that have led to general insecurity were a nationwide phenomenon.

Obasanjo and Gumi also acknowledged that people from various parts of the country and outside Nigeria were involved, although some people were more predominantly involved than others.

They appealed to authorities and the people not to encourage or support criminality, saying the security situation in the country has gone beyond tolerance.

The elder statesman and the Islamic scholar also identified the crisis as a micro-ethnic conflict between the Fulani and many host communities mainly in the North West.

They attributed the remote causes of the crisis to educational and economic disparities, as well as the negative use of religion and ethnicity by deceitful politicians.

A screengrab taken on April 4, 2021, shows former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sheikh Abubakar Gumi during a meeting held at the residence of the elder statesman in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

 

Discussions at the meeting focused on the causes, effects, and implications of the various security threats, as well as the reactions by communities, local authorities, state governments, and the Federal Government, as well as authorities in neighbouring countries and nations within West Africa.

At the end of the discussion, Obasanjo and Gumi agreed to continue to work together for solutions for the security of Nigeria and to seek others to join them.

They believe that keeping Nigeria safe and secure for all citizens and foreigners is a task that all well-meaning Nigerians must engage in, separately and collectively.

Thereafter, Gumi extended an invitation to Obasanjo to visit Kaduna State, with a view to continuing the discussion and the former president accepted the invite.

Obasanjo, Gumi Meet, Propose Solutions To Banditry, Other Security Challenges

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, met on Sunday to discuss and propose possible solutions to the security challenges in Nigeria.

The meeting, which held at the residence of the former president in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, was part of efforts to find solutions to the menace of banditry, kidnapping, and payment of ransom, among other security threats in the land.

After the exchange of pleasantries, Gumi briefed Obasanjo on measures and steps he had taken to stem the tide of insecurity in many parts of the North.

Discussions centred on the causes, effects and implications of the various security threats, as well as the reactions by communities, local authorities, state governments, and the Federal Government, as well as authorities in neighbouring countries and nations within West Africa.

In their resolution, Obasanjo and Gumi agreed that banditry, kidnapping, and other crimes that have led to general insecurity were a nationwide phenomenon.

They acknowledged that people from various parts of the country and outside Nigeria were involved, although some people were more predominantly involved than others.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sheikh Abubakar Gumi met at the residence of the elder statesman in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on April 4, 2021.

 

The elder statesman and the Islamic scholar appealed to authorities and the people not to encourage or support criminality, noting that the security situation in the country has gone beyond tolerance.

They identified the crisis as a micro-ethnic conflict between the Fulani and many host communities mainly in the North West, saying its remote causes were educational and economic disparities, as well as the negative use of religion and ethnicity by deceitful politicians.

 

The Way Forward

On how to tackle the menace, Obasanjo and Gumi stressed the need for the people, irrespective of their affiliation, to desist from blame game, as well as attributing ethnicity, religion, and region to crimes committed by criminals.

They also called on the people to respect one another, show tolerance and accommodation where necessary, as well as condemn criminal acts no matter where it was committed and by whom it was committed.

According to them, encouraging more carrot solution as may be found necessary, sharing information at all levels, and not accepting criminality as a way of life for any individual or group in the country, are part of the solutions to insecurity in the land.

A screengrab taken on April 4, 2021, shows former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sheikh Abubakar Gumi during a meeting held at the residence of the elder statesman in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

 

Read the statement jointly signed by the former president and the Islamic scholar below:

As part of his continued efforts to find solutions for the general insecurity in the country and particularly for the menace of banditry, kidnapping and ransom payment, Sheikh Gumi with a delegation of eight, as follows Prof. Usman Yusuf, Mallam Tukur Mamu, Dr Umar Ardo, Dr Ibrahim Abdullahi, Honourable Suleiman Gumi, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, and Mallam Buba Mohammed, visited Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State on April 4, 2021.

Chief Obasanjo received Sheikh Gumi and his delegation in the presence of Oba Babajide Bakare, Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta; Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, Chairman of Ogun State Christian Association of Nigeria; Sheikh Sa’addallah Alade Bamigbola, Chief Imam of Egbaland; Chief Kenny Martins, Chief Ola Babajide Jaiyeoba; Rev. Tony Ojeshina, Chief Imams of Oke-Ona, Gbagura, Owu and Mr Vitalis Ortese.

After the exchange of pleasantries, Sheikh Gumi briefed Chief Obasanjo with other hosts on the measures and steps he had taken and spearheaded to stem the tide of insecurity and menace of banditry, kidnapping and ransom payment in many parts of the North.

Questions and discussions ensued to clarify some statements credited to Sheikh Gumi on his well-intended mission in the past.  After clarification of points by Sheikh Gumi, discussions centred on causes – remote and immediate –, effects and implications, actions and reactions by communities, local authorities, state governments, national government and governments of our neighbouring countries and countries within West Africa.

After deep, frank, and intimate discussions, the following points were arrived at and decided upon for appropriate actions as recommended:

Chief Obasanjo commended Sheikh Gumi for his initiative and encouraged him not to relent in his efforts. Sheikh Gumi thanked Chief Obasanjo for his past services, emphasising the special unifying efforts and attributes to the nation and for the warm welcome accorded to his delegation.

The menace of banditry, kidnapping, other crimes, and atrocities leading to general insecurity is a nationwide phenomenon. We acknowledge that people from different parts of the country and outside the country are involved although some people are more predominantly involved than others.

We must not advertently or inadvertently, in words, action or inaction encourage or support criminality. We acknowledge that the security situation has gone beyond tolerance; hence Sheik Gumi’s coming to Abeokuta to confer with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

We identified the crisis as micro-ethnic conflict between the Fulani and many host communities mainly in the North West. We identified the remote causes as educational and economic disparities, and the negative use of religion and ethnicity by unscrupulous politicians.

Solutions must be seen and provided on short-, medium-, and long-term bases and must be composed of stick and carrot for the offender and the vulnerable.

All well-meaning Nigerians have to be involved in finding solutions by – desisting from blame game; desisting from ethnicising these crimes; desisting from religionising these crimes; desisting from regionalising these crimes; respecting one another individually, community-wise, locally, ethnically, religiously and socially; showing tolerance and accommodation where necessary; condemning criminal acts no matter where it is committed and by whom it is committed in Nigeria; encouraging more of carrot solution as may be found necessary; sharing information at all levels; not accepting criminality as a way of life for any individual or group in our nation.

Since the end of the civil war, the military is the strongest and most potent instrument and symbol of national unity that we have, and we must keep it so.

State governments must have adequate means of providing security for their people and as chief executives and chief security officers of their states, they must have the means at their disposal to ensure security for all within their states.

Federal Government must be proactive, secure necessary and updated intelligence to deal with organised crimes and have a common policy for the nation. It is not solving the problem when one state goes for negotiation and molly-cuddling of criminals and another one goes for shooting them.  Nor should one state go for ransom payment and another one going against.

Education is one main key to solve the problem in the long run, but it must start now.  The 14 million children that should be in school and are out of school must be put in school with local authorities, state governments, and federal government working together.

Wean those who are ready to be weaned out of the bushes and crime, settle and rehabilitate them, give them skills, empower them and let them have employment.

The hardened criminals must be hard hit with the stick.  Unlawful carrying of arms should be very seriously punished. Federal Government should take the issue up seriously within ECOWAS to work for a regional solution.

Every community must be encouraged and empowered to stand firm and strong against criminals. There should be protection and reward covertly for whistleblowers against criminals living in the community.

Special courts should be created to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons.

Let the slogan be: Security is the responsibility of all Nigerians.

We agree to continue to work together for solutions for the security of Nigeria and to seek others to join us as we widely circulate our joint statement. To this end, Sheik Gumi has extended an invitation to Chief Obasanjo to visit Kaduna with a view to continuing the discourse started today and Chief Obasanjo has graciously accepted.

We conclude that to keep Nigeria safe and secure for all Nigerians and others living in Nigeria is a task that all well-meaning Nigerians must engage in, separately and collectively.

Both of us resolve that we would not relent in our efforts. The delegations on both sides acceded to this statement. We agree to meet again in due course to re-examine the progress and situation of security in Nigeria.

_____________________      __________________________

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo      Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi

Tuesday Update: Is Nigeria About To Exit COVID-19 Second Wave?

Good morning,

We are leading with updates on the farmers-herdsmen crisis and the very pertinent question of whether Nigeria will soon exit the second wave of the pandemic.


A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom

Governors Continue War Of Words

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Monday described his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed as a terrorist based on his apparent support for herdsmen who move around with AK-47.

Mr. Mohammed had said herdsmen had no option but to wield AK-47s to protect themselves, due to the security situation in the country. After drawing criticism from several quarters, including from Mr. Ortom, the Bauchi Governor said he had used AK-47 as a figure of speech for protection.

Governor Bala argues that herdsmen are exposed and need to protect themselves.

But Mr. Ortom’s latest comment shows he remains unhappy with Mr. Mohammed’s position.

Quote: “I am beginning to think that my brother, the governor of Bauchi State is part of the terrorist Fulani organisation that is terrorising this country,” Mr. Ortom said at his Monday press conference.

Context: The farmers-herdsmen conflict is an inflammable issue. Farming-centric states like Benue have pushed back against the free movement of cattle, but herdsmen communities, mostly Fulanis, claim they have been unfairly targeted for practicing their nomadic lifestyle. The conflict has devolved into various forms of violence and governments, both states and federal, are exploring a number of options – ranching, ban on open grazing – to tackle the problem.

Babagana Zulum: The Borno State Governor said the time has come to transform livestock production in the country as a way to tackle the farmers-herdsmen crisis.


Sheikh Ahmad Gumi made an appearance on Channels TV's Politics Today on February 22, 2021.
Sheikh Ahmad Gumi made an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today on February 22, 2021.

Sheikh Gumi Makes Case For Fulani-Herdsmen Bandits

Since he met with Fulani-herdsmen bandits in the bush, popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has attracted national attention.

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television on Monday, the cleric reiterated his calls for the government to grant repentant bandits amnesty and reintegrate them into society.

Gumi’s stance has been roundly criticised for pampering criminality, but he maintains that the bandits are a victim of circumstances.

Quote: “I think it is a population that is pushed by circumstances into criminality,” he said. “And this is what we should look, let’s remove the pressure, let’s remove the things that made them into criminals because we have lived thousands of years without any problems with the nomadic herdsmen. They are peaceful people. But something happened that led them to this.”


The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire.

Nigeria To Exit Second Wave Of COVID-19?

Health Minister Osagie Ehanire, on Monday, suggested that the country may soon exit the second wave of the pandemic as the rate of new COVID-19 infections slows down.

“We are, however, not drawing conclusions yet and certainly not declaring victory, but rather watching developments as they unfold nationally and internationally, ready to make use of comparative advantages that may emerge,” the Minister said.

On Monday, Nigeria recorded 542 new cases of the virus and 23 deaths, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said the country will soon receive four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.


What else is happening?

Aminu Tambuwal: The Sokoto State Governor has called on the need for Nigerians to live in peace with one another irrespective of their belief, tribe, or religion. He made the call while assenting to Sokoto’s hisbah law.

President Muhammadu Buhari met with Senate President Ahmed Lawan at the State House in Abuja on February 22, 2021. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House
President Muhammadu Buhari met with Senate President Ahmed Lawan at the State House in Abuja on February 22, 2021. Bayo Omoboriowo/State House

Ahmed Lawan: The Senate leader met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday to discuss the nation’s security challenges, among other topics.

Niger State: The 53 abducted travellers who recently regained their freedom have been reunited with their families. They have also been sharing their stories.

Rivers State: Gunmen have abducted a lecturer with the University of Port Harcourt, Dr. Jones Ayuwo, and a first-class traditional ruler in the state, Aaron Ikuru of Ikuru Town.

Ayo Fayose: The Federal High Court in Lagos has granted permission to former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, to travel abroad for further medical treatment. He must however return to defend himself in corruption charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the court said.

DRC: The government has blamed a Rwandan Hutu rebel group for the killing of Italy’s ambassador to the Central Africa nation.

China: Canadian ministers have voted to label China’s treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang as genocide, a move angrily slammed by Beijing as a “malicious provocation”.


And that’s it for this morning. See you tomorrow.

‘They Are Peaceful People’: Sheikh Gumi Makes Case For Fulani-Herdsmen-Turned-Bandits

 

Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has reiterated that Fulani herdsmen involved in banditry are victims of circumstance.

Sheikh Gumi restated his position during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday.

The cleric has previously advocated for the bandits to be granted amnesty after meeting them in the bush.

“When I listened to them, I found out that it is a simple case of criminality which turned into banditry, which turned into ethnic war, and some genocide too behind the scene; people don’t know,” Sheikh Gumi said.

The cleric said that while “there is no excuse for any crime; nothing can justify crime, and they are committing crime,” the bandits were forced into criminality.

“I think it is a population that is pushed by circumstances into criminality,” he said. “And this is what we should look, let’s remove the pressure, let’s remove the things that made them into criminals because we have lived thousands of years without any problems with the nomadic herdsmen. They are peaceful people. But something happened that led them to this.”

An Ethnic War

According to Gumi, the herdsmen-bandits are engaged in an ethnic war against other peoples, including sedentary Fulanis.

The solution, he added, was dialogue.

“It is a complex issue that Nigerians need to understand,” Sheikh Gumi said. “The solution is very simple, but it’s not military hardware. The solution is dialogue and teaching.

Sheikh Ahmad Gumi made an appearance on Channels TV's Politics Today on February 22, 2021.
Sheikh Ahmad Gumi made an appearance on Channels TV’s Politics Today on February 22, 2021.

 

“These people are acting with natural instincts, not special knowledge. And they don’t have any ambition or anything. They don’t have a vision of the future. They are talking about existence; their livelihood is destroyed; because the cattle rustling that was going on for a long time, they are the first victims of it.

“So we need to investigate how cattle rustling became a big business in Nigeria and how it affected the socio-cultural behaviour of the nomadic Fulani. They were pushed into criminality.”

‘Evil resides in Everyone’

Bandit attacks have heightened across Nigeria in the past year.

Last December, over 300 pupils were kidnapped from a boy’s secondary boarding school in Kankara, Katsina State.

Earlier this month, bandits stormed a science secondary school in Kagara, Niger State and kidnapped 41 pupils and staff. They are yet to regain their freedom.

Numerous killings have also been recorded during these bandit attacks.

But for every victim of kidnapping, these herdsmen-bandits have ten victims, Gumi said on the Monday program.

“They are killed by the military, lynched in town,” he added. “Do you know that there are situations where any man with this Fulani physique – slim, light-complexioned, even dark ones – on a motorbike is automatically arrested and incarcerated? They are being profiled.

“The Fulani herdsmen is seeing evil all around him. You can imagine when he sees his children, women, everything killed, his animals slaughtered.

“You see what happened in Oyo, his hut burnt down. Who is burning down his hut? It is somebody coming from a building, somebody coming from a car. He doesn’t own a car, he doesn’t own a building, he doesn’t enjoy anything of the Nigerian cake.

“Then you are coming, again, the little thing he has, to kill his animals. So he is seeing the evil from the other side. So each side is seeing the other’s side as evil.

“So it is the clergy that now has to come in the middle, Muslims and Christians. We have to listen to them. Demonising anybody is not appropriate. And evil is there in everybody.”

Sheikh Gumi restated his call for amnesty for victims of banditry and the herdsmen-bandits.

“Amnesty comes with a package – all victims should be looked at and the government should compensate because actually, it’s the responsibility of the government to protect people, their lives and livelihood; and they were not able to do,” he said. “So since it’s a negligence from the government, then the government should come from both sides.”

Sheikh Gumi Asks FG To Give Bandits ‘Blanket Amnesty’

Sheikh Gumi (white beards) during a visit to Niger State Governor Abubakar Bello at the Government House in Minna, Niger State capital.

 

Popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has called on the Federal Government to give bandits willing to make peace ‘blanket amnesty’ if the current security situation must be tackled.

The Islamic scholar disclosed this on Friday while addressing journalists in Minna, Niger State capital.

“The Federal government should give them blanket amnesty, then if somebody continues, then we will deal with them,” Sheik Gumi said while giving updates on the demands of the bandits.

This was after the cleric visited the camp of some bandits operating in Niger State.

He explained that some of the complaints of the bandits are that they were being killed and maimed unjustly.

“The outcome (of his visit) is very positive. We have many factions and each faction is saying I have complaints and grievances – we are persecuted, we are arrested, we are lynched -,” the cleric said, quoting the bandits.

READ ALSO: Kagara Abductions: We Are Committed To The Safe Rescue Of All Abductees – IGP

Speaking concerning his discussion during his secret visit to the bandits, Sheik Gumi said there is a positive response from the bandits who are holding the Kagara school students and their staff captive.

He, however, did not state if the students have been released.

Gumi’s comments come a few days after gunmen gained access to Government Science College, Kagara, Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State around 2:00am and abducted scores of students, teachers, and many others.

The school principal who escaped from the attack confirmed to Channels Television that the gunmen came in military uniform and shot sporadically into the air. He said the operation started from the staff quarters where they abducted members of staff including a couple before they gained access to the students’ hostels.

One student was killed during the attack.

 

Targeted Institution

Kidnappers have in recent times targeted schools in the country. Less than three months ago, scores of students were abducted from the Government Secondary School, Kankara in Katsina State. They were, however, released by their kidnappers after some days.

Niger State has in the past days seen a spike in kidnapping by gunmen.  A few days back, armed men attacked a bus belonging to the Niger State Transport Authority (NSTA) along Minna-Zungeru Road and abducted at least 21 passengers.

Schools have been the target of attacks in recent times in Nigeria.