Sheikh Ahmad Gumi on Monday claimed that acts of banditry witnessed in most of northern Nigeria, and which are increasingly spreading to the south, are actually an ethnic war levied against the rest of Nigeria by nomadic Fulanis who feel that their existence as an ethnic group has been seriously threatened.
Gumi made the claims while fielding questions on Channels Television program, Politics Today.
“What people consider as banditry is actually an ethnic war by nomadic Fulanis who feel that the existence of their ethnic group is being threatened by other tribes such as Yorubas, Igbos, Hausas and others.
“One can, in fact, address them as militants. Their mission is not to kill. They want money having lost their sources of livelihood to cow rustlers. Where there are killings, they are mostly ethnic revenge because one or some of their kinsmen had been killed by people of other ethnic groups,” Gumi said in response to a question on what could be the motivation for banditry in northern Nigeria.
He added, “These militants are known to have even recruited fellow Fulanis beyond the borders of Nigeria to assist them in fighting this ethnic war.”
Justifying the toga of militancy, Gumi claimed that the Nigerian State has been guilty of acts of injustice against nomadic Fulanis, alleging that sometime in 2014 he was privileged to learn that about 300 Fulanis had been killed extra-judicially by the Nigerian military under the guise of seeking solutions to cow rustling in parts of the north.
He also accused the Nigerian government, through its security agencies, of profiling Fulanis and setting them apart for intimidation, extortions and blackmail.
Asked to proffer solution to the spiraling crisis, Gumi called for a cessation of military hostilities against the bandits and the exploration of dialogue and an amnesty program.
“The Nigerian military knows where these militants are. They should stop the war, go in and negotiate.
“If the pressure becomes too much, the bandits may get infiltrated by the Boko Haram insurgents. Thankfully, that has not happened yet. The solution is dialogue, not war.”
Gumi, while denying knowing who the abductors of the Kagara students are, hinted that the governments of Niger, Zamfara, and Sokoto States have bought into the peace process and already in dialogue with bandits.
He also said that the said states were helping out with the logistics and security arrangements for his various meetings with bandits. He expressed hope that the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai would soon buy into the amnesty-for-peace process.
Join the conversation
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...
INVESTIGATION….N.3bn down the drain: Why water projects for Enugu communities don’t work
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE talks about some of the projects that are serving the people and how various WASH programmes have failed to tackle...
INVESTIGATION…PARKVIEW ESTATE: Exclusive images of how billionaire property developer incurred Lagos govt‘s anger
Many have seen the demolished building, but not many know the circumstances that led to the teardown of the about...
INVESTIGATION… N.3bn down the drain, as Enugu communities suffer from dry taps
In November 2020, three organizations and the Enugu State government celebrated the completion of N300 million worth of projects that were expected...
INVESTIGATION… How herdsmen crisis compounds woes of already deprived Ogun communities
Earlier in January, the Nigerian media space was awash with reports of violence between herders and farmers across the country....