Gift Joseph Okpakorese
Sheikh Gumi, the prominent Islamic religious leader based in Kaduna state in the northern region of the country has remarked that bandits use earnings from abductions of citizens and prominent personalities to acquire arms and weapons as well as resolve pact with informants.
This remark by Sheikh Gumi was made in reaction to earlier accusations and indictments by some citizens of the federation, claiming that government officials and some prominent personalities as well as some aggrieved political figures are behind the heightened movements of banditry in the North.
Meanwhile, in an interactive session with media outlet, DAILY POST, the cleric noted that bandits are fighting an ethnic-centered war and not one with ideological motivation. They are aggressive because they feel sidelined as a minority ethnic group and want to be recognized, heard and respected.
According to him; “That was a small metamorphosis in the process, but now the bulk of the money they collect is used to buy weapons. Bandits are independent now, and nobody influences them. They buy informants now, and they are fighting an ethnic war which makes it easier because they are not fighting for ideology.”
The Muslim cleric further assures the general populace of the nation that, despite the current state of insecurity all over the federation, especially in the northern region, the nation will not be disintegrated or overwhelmed by the activities of the insurgents. He further revealed that the number of those who are involved in banditry and kidnappings are quite minimal in contrast to the overall population of citizens within the country.
“There is a high state of insecurity, but it has not reached the state where it will paralyze Nigeria. We still travel around despite more frequent and sporadic attacks.
“The issue has not got to the stage of paralyzing Nigeria. The active people involved are few, and I do not think they are more than 10, 000 actively engaged in kidnapping among the herdsmen,” he said.
Gumi however suggested and urged the Federal Government to swing into action and confront these bandits in a roundtable discussion and dialogue with an intention to putting an end to these menaces which have gradually taken over the nation.
“Government should do the right thing, and honestly speaking, Nigerians have to swallow these bitter pills which involve getting these people on a table and set in place a machinery to rehabilitate them,” Gumi stated.