by Abdullahi Hammed
The Scholar Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, on Friday, has called President Muhammadu Buhari to create a federal ministry of Fulani herdsmen to address the grievances of bandits and killer herders terrorising the country.
Mr Gumi, a self-appointed intermediary in the ongoing crises of banditry and killer herdsmen, said in a Facebook post on Friday that bandits should be rehabilitated like Niger Delta militants, adding that declaring war against bandits would be futile.
“Some said we have tried amnesty but it didn’t work. You didn’t try amnesty but tried amnesia. Amnesty without rehabilitation, reconciliation, and reparation is no amnesty,” Mr Gumi said.
“Ask the former Niger Delta Militants who killed security men in the past what an amnesty is. What stops us from having a federal ministry of Nomadic Affairs where their grievances and complaints will be addressed?”
President Umar Yar’Adua implemented an amnesty policy that saw the rehabilitation of thousands of Niger Delta militants who had waged a decade-long war on oil facilities across the region.
The militants lamented economic deprivation and environmental degradation that assailed the oil-rich region, drawing both sympathy and condemnation from different segments of the society.
The militants accepted political and economic solutions, including the creation of a Niger Delta ministry, proposed by the Yar’Adua administration and relinquished their arms and ammunition, marking an end of hostilities that saw the destruction of oil installations and deadly attacks on local and expatriate oil workers.
Mr Gumi’s statement came days after Katsina Governor Aminu Masari openly admitted that Fulanis are the bandits and herders responsible for the widespread killing and abduction across the country.
Mr Gumi said his efforts to get amnesty for bandits and killer herdsmen have been sabotaged by President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to deploy troops against violent criminals.
“Some disingenuous people say: peace and negotiations with herdsmen bandits have failed, and your mission has failed! I said my mission has not failed but it was sabotaged or discouraged by the same influential people that benefit from the chaos or like us to destroy ourselves and leave the herdsmen in perpetual ignorance,” Mr Gumi said.
In the Facebook post, Mr Gumi also slammed presidential spokesman Femi Adesina for mocking him as a bandit lover for his open support alliance with the bandits, who have been responsible for widespread killing, destruction and mass abduction of citizens, including schoolchildren.
“You bootlicker that called me a bandit-lover! I am not one, but my country-lover, my region-lover, my state-lover, and my people-lover, and humanity-lover,” Mr Gumi said to Mr Adesina without naming him.
It was unclear whether or not Mr Buhari was weighing amnesty for bandits as a sustainable solution to the acute insecurity that threatens to define his legacy.