Buhari Scoffs at Amnesty, Bares Fangs on Bandits

Buhari Scoffs at Amnesty, Bares Fangs on Bandits

…Vows to Tackle Growing Insecurity in the Country …Frowns at Treating Criminals With Kid Gloves In what appears as some cold embrace to the suggestion mulling amnesty for the bandits ravaging most parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday declared war on bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals that have stoked the security

…Vows to Tackle Growing Insecurity in the Country

…Frowns at Treating Criminals With Kid Gloves

In what appears as some cold embrace to the suggestion mulling amnesty for the bandits ravaging most parts of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday declared war on bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and other criminals that have stoked the security crisis in Nigeria, a nation still on the throes of  Boko Haram terrorists.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at the meeting of 19 Northern Governors in Kaduna, Buhari hinted that his government was not ready to give amnesty to bandits as canvassed by popular Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.

After his recent trouble shooting effort which took him to engage with the bandits in their different camps, Gumi called for amnesty to be granted to the bandits whose antics he likened to the Niger Delta militants who were granted amnesty by the administration of President Umoru Musa Yar’Adua. But his call has elicited cold reception in some quarters.

The President, however, expressed regrets over the awry security situation in the country which has over the years subjected people to tears and sorrow and restated his commitment to addressing it at the meeting, which was also attended by traditional rulers in the region.

While lamenting the slow pace of growth and development in the country as a result of unscrupulous activities of vandals threatening the lives of Nigerians and economic wellbeing of the country, he said, “government will continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute treats to innocent citizens across the country.

“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly without resulting to ethnic profiling.”

Speaking further, the President said “the new Service Chiefs have been tasked to device new strategies and come up with how best to end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened.

“At this meeting, the Forum also discussed and devised ways of building stronger collaborations with the security architecture, the security personnel and the people in defeating terrorism, banditry and criminality across the region and the nation.

“Democracy and development indices are inexplicable low because without peace there can be no sustainable development and without development there will be no durable peace builder”, Buhari noted.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Governor of Plateau State and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Bako Lalong described “insecurity” as a “clog in the wheel of progress” not only in the North, but in the country as a whole.

He stressed that “farming which is a major preoccupation of our people is being hampered” and “the result is that the economy of the nation is gradually being affected”. Consequently, “food security also is jeopardised.

“This is why we have remained resolute in advising and supporting the Federal government to work for a more secured nation using opportunities at our disposals“, Lalong explained as he said they will continue to engage other stakeholders in finding solution to the security challenges in the country.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives. Hon Ahmed Idris Wase and other members of the National Assembly, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar among other notable figures.

After extensive deliberations at the meeting, the Northern Governors Forum resolved to work with their Southern counterparts and appealed to their colleagues to work towards achieving harmonious and peaceful coexistence among citizens.

Sheik Gumi came under attack from some Southern and Middle Belt (SMBLF) leaders. In a statement, the SMBLF said Sheik Gunmi has unveiled his real mission on AIT this morning when he asked for Amnesty for bandits. Gumi said they are fighting against the injustices Nigeria has done to the north.

Signed by Mr Yinka Odumakin (South West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (Sourh East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South South), and Dr Isuwa Dogo, (Middle Belt), the statement said part of those injustices must have been electing Buhari twice as President in spite of his scant regard for the sensitivity required of a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria.

The group said “The country for almost 6 years has been soaking all manners of lopsidedness, nepotism and running the country like a Fulani Republic. As part of the injustices to the north, Fulani herdsmen have been killing people with reckless abandon in all parts of Nigeria with the administration defending them and giving them soft landing with the open bias of Mr President.”

According to them, the Fulanis are daily pouring into Nigeria to change our demography and Nigeria is doing more in Niger Republic than Nigeria at the moment with resources from non-Fulani areas.

“The injustices Nigeria has done to the North is so much for the bandits to do what they are doing to the rest of us and for Buhari to be looking the other way.

We want to know from Gumi if the Hausas are protesting the injustices Fulanis are doing to them and the rest of Nigeria or if it is Nigeria that is doing any injustice to the north,” the group stated.

The statement noted “We know Fulani bandits are doing crimes in all non Fulani communities but Gumi should not confuse us with North except he is on deception all along.

“It is a known fact that the main injustice in Nigeria is the schewed federalism that allows the North to be in almost total control of oil and mineral resources in the Niger Delta and the VAT from other parts of the country to the disadvantage of host communities.

“The Nigeria Ports Authority in Lagos is under the control of a Fulani lady just like most of the agencies in charge of oil and gas in an unhidden agenda of Fulanisation of Nigeria.

“This is one of the major reasons SMBLF is in court to challenge the lopsided arrangement.

“It is the Fulani and the core North doing pure injustice to the rest of Nigeria.”

The coalition of some northern elders, under the aegis of “North East Elders for Peace and Development”, in a statement, Wednesday, however disclaimed the incendiary utterances of  Sheikh Gumi including the one pitching the bandits against Christian soldiers.

Gumi has acknowledged he made the statements but claimed that the interpretation given to the statements, did not represent what he meant. The statements read: “What I want you people to understand is, soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and none Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite a crisis”.

The northern elders noted that Gumi’s allegations did not represent the position of the region. They urged the public to take Gumi’s allegations as “his personal sentiments”. The general public was urged to discountenance the allegations.  And attempts by individuals or groups to profile the military in bad light, would resisted, the elders stated.

Prominent groups and organizations in the north, the elders said, needed to condemn Gumi’s dangerous claims, in order not to give the impression that he was speaking for the region. Gumi’s statement, they said, could mean justifying armed banditry and all that was associated with such crime.

They said: “As Northern elders committed to a united and indivisible nation, we hasten to condemn in very strong terms the allegations made against the Nigerian military by one of our leading Islamic Scholars, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi”.  Of further concern to the elders, was why an Islamic Cleric, after taking the initiative to discuss with bandits, would result to taking sides with the bandits.

Gumi, has been traversing forests, in Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger States. He claimed he was consulting with bandits to lay down their arms and be granted amnesty. Gumi had argued that the bandits had good cause for taking arms against the Nigerian state – kidnapping for ransom, maiming and killing innocent citizens, including women and children; and dislocating economic life in the region.

He had claimed, on Channels Television programme, Politics Today, that the bandits were pushed by circumstances, and that they only “killed for revenge”. The bandits, he said, “killed a few people accidentally”.

“We are having an ethnic war.  The Fulani feels his existence is threatened. What they do is to call other people from other places. Irrespective of where they are, a Fulani is a Fulani. They go to defend their kinsmen, that is why they transit the borders and then go back”, Gumi stated, during the Channel Television interview.

Referring to the bandits, Gumi further stated: “I choose to call them militants because they are fighting an ethnic war. They are kidnapping to get money. Look at the case where they released a bus full of people, they were asking for N500 million but now, they freed them with mere negotiations for free. Nothing was paid. Even one of the victims’ father called me to thank me”.  He was, perhaps, referring to the kidnapped travellers on Niger State Transport Service.

Gumi is often, seen in group photographs, discussing with bandits who are fully armed with sophisticated weapons in Zamfara and Niger State forests.  He compared the genocide activities of the bandits; with Niger Delta militants who were agitating for federal government’s attention, to right the wrongs inflicted on them, by degrading their environment, due to oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.


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