Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has denied being a lover of banditry following an article by the special adviser to the president on media and publicity Femi Adesina.
Mr Adesina, in an article titled, ‘I like this pampering. Don’t you?’ had hailed the military for its offensive against bandits in the north.
Gumi, however, said the bandits “are going nowhere,” adding that “they are already in battle gear.” The cleric has been calling for amnesty for bandits who have ravaged the north.
Without mentioning the cleric’s name, the presidential aide wrote in his article that “a bandit-lover is on record as saying military offensive would not work, and that the bandits “are going nowhere.”
“True? False. They are going somewhere. And that is: hell.”
Gumi reacted in his own article titled, ‘War has never been a solution anytime anywhere.’ He said, “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.
“I am a qualified medical doctor who knows what it takes to precisely excise a brain tumour without destroying the delicate surrounding brain tissues. I was a commissioned military officer who knows what the military is for and what is the capability of our military. I am an intellectual with a PhD from abroad. I am an Islamic scholar who knows the immorality of killing innocent lives. So, silence for me in this ocean of oblivion is not an option.
“Only a fool would allow his dwelling to be a theatre of war. Unfortunately, how many fools are there. Killing rats in your rat-infested sitting room with an iron rod will only end up destroying your gadgets and furniture probably without killing any. We should not mask out poor governance with artillery power.
“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.
“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. 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?
“All the bandit leaders we saw complained of how some repentant ones were picked and extra-judicially killed after the surrender of their weapons. Without their trust of the very unjust system all Nigerians complain of, which they took arms to fight, peace and negotiations with them will not work. This brings our role of mediation. They know as religious men we will not deceive them, and they came out in troops to meet us. To our astonishment, it is the same unjust system that turns round to betray our peace mission. Some of the press for giving a negative narrative, whom I also term criminals-in-purpose, some of the politicians who I see as urban-bandits who out of their share mismanagement of our meagre resources and misplacement of priority cause the death and infirmity of more people than the bandits affect.”