The spokesman of the Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Union, SOKAPU, Mr Luka Binniyat, has strongly advocated for the arrest and prosecution of the influential Islamic preacher, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, for allegedly telling Fulani kidnappers that soldiers killing them are not Muslim soldiers.
He alleged that the Muslim cleric in a recent video in a meeting with the suspected criminals told them that when they (criminals) attack a community in vengeance, they should choose their targets well, telling them that a group recently kidnapped a group of travellers and that among them was a woman in the Islamic hijab carrying a small baby.
Mr Binniyat questioned the integrity of the Islamic preacher, saying that Gumi’s attribution that “Such act dents the work of kidnappers, insinuates that the cleric is making himself like the spiritual leader of the bandits.”
He added, “We have always suspected that there was something that the Islamic cleric is doing with these people that we do not understand.”
The spokesman told bioreports in Kaduna that it is very unfortunate, condemnable and unacceptable under this government that human beings are stolen daily like animals.
He noted that Niger and Kaduna States share a border in the West and East axis which form part of Kamuku forest, where the bandits are, describing it as the most dangerous and lawless forest, as the infamous Sambisa forest in the northeast.
Describing Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s negotiation with the suspected Fulani kidnappers as curiously dubious, he said, “It is a disgraceful way of succumbing to the wiles and evil of a band of violent criminals who are more feared and respected by the state, not really because of their capacity for bloodletting, but because they are seen as kinsmen of the number one man of Nigeria. SOKAPU is totally against Sheikh Gumi in that project.
“Such wicked, heartless and unprincipled criminals must not be dignified in that matter. We have always suspected that there was something that the Islamic cleric is doing with these people that we do not understand.”
The spokesman wondered, “Why is the Islamic cleric not interested in justice and restitution for thousands of the surviving victims of their evil but the welfare and freedom of those who killed others?
”In Southern Kaduna, we have over 50,000 IDPs and over 100 communities that have been captured and occupied by these evil men that our people confirmed to be Fulani armed men. We have mass graves dotted all over our area as a result of their wickedness.
“Last year alone, our poor people paid nothing less than N1 billion as ransom for the freedom of their abducted people. Why is the cleric not negotiating with relevant authorities for justice? His proposition is irrational and dumbfounding. SOKAPU wants Sheikh Gumi investigated for his role with these people.”
On amnesty for the suspected Fulani kidnappers, Mr Binniyat observed that the kidnappers have killed, raped, received ransom and have succeeded in displacing many communities from their ancestral lands, but in the case of the Niger Delta, he likened them “To the goose that laid the golden egg, yet it is one of the most deprived, degraded and marginalised areas in Nigeria. The agitation for fairness and equity for Niger Delta regions dates back to the sixties.
“Who does not know Adaka Boro? Who does not know the slain Ogoni freedom fighter, Ken Saro Wiwa. The youth of the Niger Delta had a legitimate right to use violence to seek attention in the manner they did theirs. They kidnapped foreign oil workers to seek international attention. They didn’t kill them. They sabotaged oil pipelines to hurt the economy so that a deaf government will take them seriously.”
He explained that the Niger Delta militants never invaded any community, talk of raping, killing, abducting citizens and setting the communities ablaze. They were civilised in their approach of expressing their grievances to the concerned authorities and the world agreed that they had a legitimate cause.
The SOKAPU spokesman asked, “What are the Fulani armed men looking for? Even the Sultan of Sokoto has said that out of 10 bandits caught, between 8 and 7 are Fulani. In what ways have the Nigerian state and peaceful, vulnerable communities been against their interest. What is their contribution to the economy? Do you know how much harm they are doing to agriculture and chasing away investors from the Middlebelt and the north?
“What is their grievances? Why must they be so rewarded after such massive destruction of lives and property? Then let all the armed robbers, all rapists, all arsonists and every criminal be forgiven and granted amnesty.”
On Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment that all forests belong to Nigerians as such there is no need evicting any Fulani herdsmen from Ondo State forest, Mr Binniyat argued, “The Presidential Aso Villa Abuja belongs to Nigerians, let the governor of Bauchi State go and tell his relatives to move there and live. The FCT and Bauchi State belong to Nigerians, why was he officially allocating land as the FCT Minister and signing Certificate-Of-Occupy when everyone could as well just occupy any space he wanted. When it comes bigotry and favouritism, sentiments becloud their reasoning.” He lamented.