The northern pro-democracy group described the actions of the Islamic leaders as divisive and a threat to national security.
A pro-democracy group, Northern Democratic Defence Initiative, has condemned Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and other Islamic scholars for demanding the removal of Nyesom Wike as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Sheikh Gumi and some other Islamic clerics have in separate viral videos attacked and threatened to mobilize against President Bola Tinubu in their demand for the removal of Wike as FCT minister.
SaharaReporters on October 19, 2023, published Sheikh Gumi’s full sermon, claiming that Nigerian Christians and southerners cannot be trusted with power like northern Muslims.
Gumi described Wike as the devil incarnate, adding that he heard that the minister was planning to invite the Israeli Ambassador to “help redesign the security architecture of Abuja to pattern after that of Tel Aviv so that bearded people like us would be hounded and killed on sight because we’ve been stereotyped as Bin Laden”.
Reacting to Sheikh Gumi and other clerics on Monday in Bauchi State, the northern pro-democracy group described the actions of the Islamic leaders as divisive and a threat to national security.
At a press briefing, the coordinator of the group, Abdulwahab Lateef cautioned the leaders against such utterances.
He said, “The Northern caucus of the Democratic Defence Initiative, after a meeting with the National Executive Council of the organisation, hereby condemn in the strongest term, the unwarranted verbal attack by some clerics on the person of the honorable minister of the Federal Capital Territory, his Excellency, Barr Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
‘The 14-minute video cast aspersions on both Muslims and Christians who campaigned and voted for the Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2023 election that brought in the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration.
“What’s most worrisome is the divisive comment on the security of the nation. He stated that ‘It is dangerous to leave national security in the hands of the southerners’. This is uncalled for in a Democratic Republic like Nigeria.
“His Excellency Barr Wike was Governor of a state known for development and peace. This prompted the President to call him to replicate the same feat in the FCT. He contained cultism, lawlessness and brigandage successfully in Rivers State. His records are well documented.
“It is also on record that Nigeria and Israel have a diplomatic relationship as well as economic partnership which will benefit Nigeria tremendously.
“Such dangerous sermons would only stir unnecessary hatred and may delegate into something more dangerous if not well managed.
“We, therefore, join millions of well-meaning Nigerians in condemning that comment. We are a secular nation and as such, every religion or nation is free to hold a stake, as far as our peace and security are not jeopardised.”
“The recent utterances by some of our northern religious elites on the status of the Minister of FCT, that it should belong to only one faith and calling for the removal of the minister, is totally uncalled for. Nigeria is a democratic republic with each Nigerian having equal rights as the others, as such the seat of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory belongs to any qualified Nigerian, irrespective of tribe or religion as the appointing order (President) may deem fit to appoint,” Lateef added.
Lateef urged northerners and Nigerians generally to discountenance any such divisive sermons.
Also, the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) earlier described Gumi’s comments against Wike as an indirect poke on the Niger Delta and South-South regions of the country.