Arrest Sheik Gumi to Save Nigeria from Collapsing
National Chairman, Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas ( HOSTCOM), Prince Mike Emuh has faulted the clamour by Sheik Ahmad Gumi for the Federal Government to grant amnesty to bandits operating in the North West and North Central geopolitical zones of Nigeria just as it was done for Niger Delta militants.
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Banditry, Gumi said, will continue until the bandits were rehabilitated, paid stipends and reintegrated into the society. However, Emuh who described this advocacy as wrong and awkward, argued that there was no basis for comparison between the militants who held sway in the Niger Delta some years ago and the bandits operating in Northern Nigeria. “Bandits, herdsmen, Boko Haram, kidnappers, all of them are enemies to this country. Whoever supports these groups in what they are doing is never a true leader of this great country.
I do not want some people to capitalise on the issue of amnesty because those granted amnesties in the Niger Delta listened to the voice of their parents to stop militancy in their region. I came to NTA to announce that I am their father. We welcomed the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to Gbaramatu in Delta State to meet and discuss with the militants. “As I speak with you, we in the Niger Delta know that there are nine groups that were granted amnesty and are undergoing training under the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
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They were agitators who were demanding justice over the exploitation of the oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta. The militants, including the likes of Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom, Tom Polo and others were focused on agitating for a known cause which everybody could understand and identify. “Now, these people that are fighting and killing people in the North and Middle Belt region, what is their grievance? Are they agitators for any known cause? The answer is no. Look at what they are doing in Benue State, Plateau State, Southern Kaduna, Katsina State and Zamfara State.
What is the difference between the activities of these bandits and the activities of Boko Haram in Borno State and the rest of the North East region? “They are enemies of this country. They are enemies of peace and progress. They are not even fighting because of religion. They are enemies of Islam, enemies of Christianity and enemies to God. How can somebody call himself a bandit and then come out on the highway and start shooting at vehicles, killing some people and kidnapping others? They kidnap and kill anyone they see, even traditional rulers and security operatives are not spared.
These are faceless people wreaking havoc on the citizens of our country,” he said. Each argued that Nigerians above 30 should be allowed to carry arms. “Here we have faceless people wielding sophisticated weapons without a license. People are carrying AK47 and other dangerous weapons with which they terrorise unarmed and defenceless citizens. So, let there be the legalisation of armaments for citizens because when you are armed and know that I am armed too, you won’t stop me on the road or come to my house to rob me at night. “Secondly, every community should have their civil defence. We need to increase the number of civil defence people in Nigeria, they are just too small. We also need to increase the number of policemen in the country. Let us revisit the issue of community policing,” he said.
Equating Banditry With Militancy: Gumi Now Bandits’ General Overseer –HOSTCOM, IYC, Evah, Ankio-Briggs
Co-ordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, Mr Joseph Evah, a human rights activist, Ankio Briggs, Ijaw Youth Council, and Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) have condemned an Islamic scholar notable for negotiating with bandits, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, over a statement credited to him that the bandits that are terrorising the northern part of the country should be granted amnesty by the Federal Government. Gumi had said that the bandits should be granted amnesty just the way it was done to the ex-agitators of the Niger Delta.
Evah said that he once suggested when the United Nations building was bombed under former president Goodluck Jonathan that the bandits should be granted amnesty because they were provoked by the killing of their boss. He however said that with the way the whole thing was going nobody could differentiate among Fulani herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers.
“We don’t even know what is going on. So Gumi should arrange them and show us where they belong so that we know how to handle them but now the government will say do not even expose them. Bandits are doing their own, Fulani herdsmen are doing their own.
“Gumi, who is now their leader or general overseer should tell us what to do. He should gather them and show us the bandits and the herdsmen. He should gather them in an open field, separate them and tell us which one we should give amnesty,” he said. On her part, Ankio Briggs of Niger Delta Self-determination Movement said that nothing could surprise her in Nigeria anymore while stressing that comparing bandits, Fulani herdsmen, jihadists, Boko Haram, ISIS, who she said were terrorists, with the Niger Delta agitation for justice and equity and resource ownership was annoying, and sickening. “It is infuriating.
I don’t blame the people who are making these suggestions. The people I blame are the people of Niger Delta and their politicians, who are not able to represent us well because if they represented us well, we won’t find ourselves in this mess. “The only way out for us in the Niger Delta as far as our group is concerned, since the government is not going to restructure this country, is for us to push very hard for a referendum so that everybody can decide what he wants to do,” she said. Briggs maintained that those regarded as bandits were terrorists and that they were not different from the jihadists in Afghanistan and other places.
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