The controversial Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, who has continuously canvassed amnesty for the bandits in northern Nigeria, has said that banditry in the region is a “tribal war”.
According to the cleric, the Fulanis have been fighting the Yoruba’s in the South-West, the Igbos in the South-East, and the other tribes in the Northern region, citing killings of some northerners in the South-East and other regions of the country as examples.
Speaking during an interview on Arise TV on Wednesday, Gumi said, “You see, I’ve been calling this an ethnic war and people do not understand me because in Nigeria we do not consider ethnicity we don’t understand it. When it is an ethnic stock, it’s different from the other groups, but what I said now is tribal.
“So it is a tribal war going on but when a governor or the President takes sides or the military especially. I’ve been to a settlement that was destroyed by the military. Their huts were burnt and they came. And I went there to see by myself and I saw for myself that their huts were burnt. They were there for more than 40 years in that region.
“What is the military saying? They said they should park away and move to the town. Is that how things are done in a civilized society? Even if you want to displace people, you build for them where they can transfer themselves to, you don’t just come and burn people’s houses, with children and women crying.
“So as we were speaking with them, a contingent of the military came, a captain with other soldiers and civilian JTF, and I asked if he was the one that burnt the hurts and he said no. And I said since you are in charge of security here, these are Nigerians too, get their numbers so that if they have any problems they can call you to protect them.
“This is the type of engagement I want to see the military involved in and not just throwing bombs and killing innocent people. They are Nigerians too and they need to be protected by the same law that gives them power.”
Meanwhile, he noted that there was a Fulani organisation that came to him, they said they had more than seven commanders and are ready to surrender and work together with the Nigerian Army.
“Commanders mainly have boys. Boys from the range of 100 to 300. They said that they are ready if the military is going to cooperate with them, they will put this banditry and these kidnapping to a stop.
“They are Fulani, they are herdsmen, why can’t we engage them? I cannot understand,” he said.
He alleged that the government, the media, and other tribes are taking sides in the war, noting that unfortunately, the Fulani herdsmen have nobody to tell their side of the war and their side of the story.
“This I think is what is prolonging the issue, otherwise we can finish it in a short time,” he added.
By Victor Uzoho
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