Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, an Islamic scholar, has been advised to exercise caution when commenting on issues involving the Nigerian army.
Gumi was warned by the army not to make any statements that could incite the public.
It stated that Gumi and the opinion merchants should be cautious in their remarks because troops are not deployed for ethnic or religious operations.
The warning came after an Emir and a district head in Zamfara State were fired for allegedly supporting bandits.
In a statement released yesterday, Army Public Relations Director Brig.-Gen.Mohammed Yerima specifically mentioned a viral video in which Gumi told bandits that the soldiers deployed against them were non-Muslims.
“The Nigerian Army’s attention has been drawn to a viral video-clip showing the renowned and respected Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits,” the statement reads in part.
“In the video, the Islamic scholar is seen telling the bandits that the majority of the soldiers who attack them are non-Muslims. He went on to say that soldiers are divided into two categories: Muslims and non-Muslims.
“While the Nigerian Army does not wish to get involved in disputes with Sheik Gumi, it is important to reiterate that the Army, as a national institution, does not deploy troops based on ethnic or religious affiliations.
“As a result, Sheikh Gumi and other opinion merchants are urged to exercise restraint in order to avoid jeopardising the image and reputation of one of the most dependable national institutions.
“The Nigerian Army is the pride of the country, and it has always defended the country’s territorial integrity. Comments implying a mudslide of the Nigerian Army’s image and reputation are not only hostile, but also tend to incite resentment among Nigerians.
“Furthermore, the Nigerian Army conducted most operations in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct, and respect for the citizenry’s fundamental human rights without exception.
“It is thus disturbing that an opinion leader would want to disparage the Nigeria Army in order to paint it in a negative light.
“The Nigerian Army would like to take this opportunity to advise opinion leaders to be more courteous when expressing their views, keeping in mind the importance of national security, especially in these trying times when our valiant troops have stepped up their efforts to address the myriad of security challenges confronting our dear nation.
“What our troops now require is public support in order to carry out their responsibilities effectively and professionally.”
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Zamfara State praised Governor Bello Matawalle for removing the Emir of Maru, Abubakar China, and the District Head of Kanoma, Lawal Ahmed, for allegedly assisting bandits.
It was also impressed by the alleged arrest of a soldier and his girlfriend “for supplying bandits with arms and military uniforms.”
Matawalle was asked by the ACF a week ago to name those collaborating with kidnappers and bandits in the state. This came after the governor claimed that he knew bandit collaborators and that Nigerians would be shocked if they knew who they were.
“We are pleased to note that the government of Zamfara State has acted appropriately,” the ACF said in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe.
“In Zamfara State, a soldier and his girlfriend have been apprehended. The arrest was made on the basis of information provided by community-based intelligence, according to the deputy chief of staff to the Zamfara state governor, who spoke on his behalf at a press conference.
“The governor has also approved the removal of Abubakar China, the Emir of Maeu, and Lawal Ahmed, the district head of Kanoma, for allegedly assisting bandits responsible for hundreds of deaths.
“The Emir and the district head had been suspended since June of last year and were under investigation, which found them guilty of collaborating with bandits and kidnappers, as reported by their subjects.”
Nigerian Army Sends Powerful Warning to Islamic Cleric
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