Popular Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Gumi, has declared that Nigerian is fighting a tribal war, insisting there must be amnesty for bandits if they must quit the forests.
According to him, “Government is supposed to be the mediator, they’re supposed to be neutral and not take sides and the moment the government begins to take sides, it becomes part of the conflicts. And this is what I saw in Zamfara, Niger and other states.
Sheikh Gumi made this remarks while appearing on Arise TV’s ‘Morning Show’ anchored by the trio of Dr. Reuben Abati, Rufai Oseni and Tundun Abiola today.
The cleric while noting that the bandits are committing all sorts of atrocities -, rape, killings, also posited that atrocities have been committed against them by various tribes across Nigeria insisting that “This is tribal war going on and the government taking one side.
“When you said these bandits are committing atrocities, yes, agree they are committing crimes – they are killing people, they are , they are raping, they are doing all sorts of atrocities.
“But, have you for once go to their own sides and see all sorts of atrocities that are also committed against them?
“Do you know that an ordinary herdsman is lynched in many towns in Nigeria? We have seen that in Oyo, we have seen that in Anambra, we have seen that in many regions of Nigeria.
“I think there should be well meaning Nigerians that should stay neutral in this tribal war.”
Elaborating on his call for amnesty for the bandits, Gumi said they are ready to surrender if government will provide means of livelihood for them.
“The example about what happened in the Niger Delta, I think we take example from that. When they were vandalising pipelines, which is an umbilical cord for the nation’s economy, the nation came into negotiation with them and they were even given the pipelines to guard.
“Now, the herdsmen are controlling a big chunk of land whereby now they are preventing farmers from farming and it’s very important to the economy of the nation because when you leave a big big chunk of the population hungry without farming, it’s going to affect the economy.
“In the same sense, as the Niger delta are important to the economy, these herdsmen have become important to the economy because they are preventing people from farming.
“They can be our guards, they guard the forests. We have spoken to them, we have seen them guarding the forest in Shinkafi area of Zamfara state where for sometimes now, more than 10months, there has been no kidnapping and they have even freed people that were kidnapped,” Gumi said.
He dismissed the amnesty granted to bandits by Katsina State Governor Bello Masari, describing it “political amnesty” without any package.
“When you grant a political amnesty, I mean amnesty in the front of the press and the media but in the real sense there was no amnesty.
“Amnesty comes with a package. The package is you rehabilitate these criminals, you provide for them social amenities like schools, hospitals, etc.
“You entice them to leave the forests by providing them with skills or one kind of profession. But there is no any project put forward.”
Gumi also pointed out that the herdsmen aren’t in a hurry to negotiate because there are thousands of persons in their possession.
“Look at the sufferings Nigerians are going through simply because we’re not in dialogue with these people. These people aren’t aliens from Mars or from the outer space, they are Nigerians, we know them, we know their relatives, we know everything about them and have qualities that we can tap on, that’s the Fulani man, he’s known to be shy, respectful to his elders and they work in unity and community.
“We can gather them all together, they’re ready even to sit down. They told me they’re ready to sit down with the government. So I don’t know what is stopping the national Congress of the herdsmen.
“If they come together and say the way is finished, I don’t see any Fulani man wrecking that agreement. It needs engagement from the government.( Journalist101)