Nigerians on social media have called for the arrest of an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has consistently maintained his stance on amnesty for bandits.
Gumi’s position on banditry, kidnapping, and secession has once again attracted the outrage of Nigerians online, many of whom asked why he had yet to be detained or at least invited for questioning by security operatives.
The cleric’s statement on Wednesday while speaking on Arise TV was also met with wide condemnation by Nigerians.
In a recent comment, Gumi alleged that security operatives are working with bandits wreaking havoc across the country.
The controversial cleric also urged the government to allow Fulani herdsmen to protect forests.
The Islamic scholar, while admitting that bandits are committing all sorts of crimes, also said atrocities had been committed against them by various tribes across Nigeria.
Insisting on his call for amnesty for the bandits, Gumi said they are ready to surrender if the government will provide them with a means of livelihood.
He said, “The Niger Delta example, I think we can take an example from that. When they were vandalising pipelines, they were given the pipelines to guard.
“Now, the herdsmen are controlling a big chunk of land whereby they are preventing farmers from farming. As the Niger Delta is important to the economy, these herdsmen now are becoming important to the Nigerian economy.
“They can be our guards, they can guard the forests. They have qualities that we can tap from.”
But reacting, Nigerians on Twitter and Facebook said Gumi ought to have been arrested by the security operatives.
They also opined that Gumi’s comment has shown that he is a staunch supporter of banditry in the country.
Also reacting to Gumi’s comment that bandits should be allowed to guard forests and farmlands, Nigerians questioned the cleric’s critical thinking ability, stating that owners of farmlands and forests are better allowed to oversee such, not bandits.
Many stated that before the concept of banditry became pervasive in Nigeria, citizens did not worry about insecurity in farms and forests. They noted that bandits made the farmlands unsafe, hence they cannot be allowed to safeguard the forests or farmlands.
Some of the comments on Facebook read thus:
Ediale Elvis Akhuetie wrote, “Guard the forest and farmlands against what? Take away banditry from our communities, then our forests and farmlands will be safe; thereby, leaving nothing to guard against. The bandits themselves are the greatest threat to our forests and farmlands.
“It is now visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that Gumi is a merchant of banditry, looking for every means possible to sell his evil merchandise; but it will never be well with him.”
Ntwan Kilobas Elisha posted, “If we had a responsible government, this man can’t be moving freely and making these kinds of irresponsible statements.”
Thompson Itohowo said, “Forests are owned by people… Let the owners guide their property… The forests in Akwa Ibom state are guided by Akwaibomite, on no account should any Gumi and his boys be seen in our forest.
“This man should be arrested.”
Another Facebook user, Nathan K-Sam said, “Do we really have a president/ senators and house of representatives in this country? shame to Nigeria, this is a country that claims to have police, army’s and so on but rubbish, a terrorist is walking and speaking, defending terrorist but nobody is even coughing at him.”
Precious Sunday stated, “A known terrorist apologist walks freely and even gives stance on the state of the nation, yet the Army won’t go after him.
“It is rather Citizens who are law-abiding and going after their daily hustle that they clamp on. Like I have said before, in this day Nigeria, it pays to be a Criminal than a law-abiding citizen.”
Toba Daudu said, ”So they will now be integrated into the security system and make them official security apparatus just like Tompolo and the rest after bombing all the pipelines and later became the watchdog of the problems they actually created thereby turning them to billionaires at the expense the taxpayers. These are the results you get when you have clueless and unproductive personalities in the realm of affairs. May God help us in this Nigeria we found ourselves.”
Yakubu Gajere quipped, “What a very stupid suggestion. Protect the forest from themselves? Were law-abiding students/citizens/travellers that were kidnapped violating any forest territories within their school premises/houses/highways?
“Innocent citizens are being denied their Rights to Free-Will and the Rights to be protected by the Democratically Elected Govt. That is meant to be the Democracy that we are meant to practice. And someone is here is Saying Protect Forest, which Forest is in Kebbi, Zamfara, Sokoto?”
Habeeb Oladokun noted, “Why on Earth has this man not been #INVITED for interrogation by security operatives since?
Different #CARELESS_ADVICE from this man to FG is an insult to this country and her citizens.
What kind of nonsense advice is this now?”
Below are reactions from Twitter users in Nigeria:
Why is this Man still working free???ð¤
One who knows how these Bandit work and feel ð¤
And Have Been Soliciting For Themð
Definitely,he Knows thier Mode Off Operation And Gain Lot From Themð¯
But We Live In A Hell Holeð¶
Where Shits Walk Freeð¯— Techfix_NG (@DONPAULOSKII) June 24, 2021
Why is this man still not in jail— Holy Oysters (@kushStalin) June 23, 2021
The reason for banditry is gradually coming out. Soon they will be recruited into the army, police and other security agencies. Gumi is playing the script of Fulani ethnic nationality in West Africa.— Apostle Arinze Nonso (@ApostleNonso) June 23, 2021
If you want to know how twisted and blind this govt is just look at Sheik Gumi. Nnamdi n ighboho can be harrased but Gumi is protected by the govt. Hypocrites…— Sultan of Delta. (@sultan_of_Delta) June 23, 2021
Gumi’s message has been the same from day one: Pay us to stop killing you. He’s still walking free solely because he’s speaking the mind of the current government.— Saniâ¢ (@pdauda) June 23, 2021
What is keeping the #DSS, #NigerianPolice from arresting #Gumi ? His divisive statement coupled mad talks is getting out of hand and can no longer be tolorated. His the gun powder, the trigger to the activities of the Terrorist Cells across the country yet his walking freely.— Bakare Akeem Adedayoð (@BakareAkeemAde9) June 23, 2021