Declaring Bandits As Terrorists Inconsequential — Sheikh Gumi

  • Says such declaration on IPOB changed nothing

BY VICTOR BUORO – Eminent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has described as inconsequential the Court listing of bandits as terrorists, claiming that the Federal Government took the decision for political expediency.

Sheikh Gumi said it is disappointing that the Government allowed itself to be pressured into taking the action for the pleasure of a certain section of the country.

“I think the Federal Government has succumbed to media blackmail by a section of the country. It will not have any practical value because even before the declaration they are being fought and treated as terrorists”, the popular Islamic Cleric claimed

He said in a statement by his Media Consultant, Malam Tukur Mamu, the Dan-Iyan Fika that “So it’s just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on ground.

“If you can remember, IPOB has also been tagged 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.”

Further questioning the Court’s declaration, Sheikh Gumi said; “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 then take 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.”

According to the eminent scholar; “It didn’t stop them from kidnappings and killings. The declaration will not end their aggression against society. It is a socio-political problem. 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 the government have accepted the painful reality of rehabilitating and empowering them.

“There has to be equitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria and justice for everyone. People don’t want to accept it. Before the issue of banditry that now affects all of us, the Fulani have suffered so much.”

Lamenting that many Nigerians, Fulani people inclusive, have been financially crippled over the years, the Islamic cleric said; “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 a sense of belonging.”

The Federal High Court, Abuja Division, presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, had declared proscribed bandit groups as terrorists and specifically held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.

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