Controversial Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has reacted after a Federal High Court in Abuja declared the activities of bandits’ groups as acts of terrorism.
KanyiDaily had reported that Justice Taiwo Taiwo specifically held that activities of Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups, constitute acts of terrorism.
Reacting in a statement issued by his media consultant, Tukur Mamu, Sheikh Gumi said that declaring bandits as terrorists will not change anything as it is just a decision taken for political expediency that would only result in more violence in the country.
He said that changing their name from ‘bandits’ to ‘terrorsts’ will not stop them from kidnapping and killing, neither would it solve the insecurity problems because banditry is a part of socio-economic challenges confronting Nigeria.
The statement reads, “I think the federal government has succumbed to media blackmail by a section of the country. It will not have any practical value because even before the declaration, they are being fought and treated as terrorists. So it’s just a nomenclature which I believe will not change the dynamics on the ground.
“If you can remember IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) was also declared a terrorist organization, the declaration was even backed by the order of the Court but as you can see even the international community did not recognise FG’s declaration of IPOB. So it has failed to be effective or to achieve the desired results.
“They have not been banned from travelling to other countries while their citizenship remains intact, it has not been denounced. So what type of declaration is that?
“I sincerely hope that Nigerians will not take the herdsmen as terrorists but should regard the criminality of the few among them against innocent people as acts of terrorism just as we see IPOB and their attacks on security agencies and other northern citizens as acts of terrorism. Very few herdsmen are bandits if you go through their population.
“I hope this declaration will not give the license to people to be profiling herdsmen in general as terrorists and taking the law into their hands against them.
“It will cause more mayhem. The declaration will not change anything, it will not change the dynamics. Already the military is engaging them. It didn’t stop them from kidnappings and killings. The declaration will not end their aggression against the society.
“The Fulani banditry is a socio-economic problem. We have seen it, we interacted widely with them. We told the federal government the way out.
“It can only be won through engagement, dialogue and justice. That is why today there is relative peace in the Niger Delta because government has accepted the painful reality of rehabilitating and empowering them.
“There has to be equitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria and justice for everyone. People don’t want to accept it, before the issue of banditry that now affects all of us, the Fulanis have suffered so much.
”They have lost their legitimate means of livelihood, I mean their cows through cattle rustling and extortion by security agencies. That has to be addressed as a means of genuine reconciliation and integration. They should have a sense of belonging.”
KanyiDaily recalls that the Northern Elders had asked President Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists if the move will solve the security situation in the country.