Sheikh Gumi: Labeling Bandits as Terrorists will have no Effect.
Declaring bandits terrorists is a political decision, according to renowned Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi NewsReport gathered.
“I believe the Federal Government has succumbed to media blackmail by a segment of the country,” he says.
“It will have no practical value because they are being fought and treated as terrorists even before the declaration.”
The Federal High Court’s Abuja Division had declared proscribed bandit groups to be terrorists.
In particular, the court ruled in a ruling delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo that the activities of the Yan Bindiga and Yan Ta’adda bandit groups constitute acts of terrorism.
The Muslim scholar said in a statement issued by Malam Tukur Mamu, the Dan-Iyan Fika and Media Consultant to Sheikh Gumi, “So it’s just a nomenclature, which I believe will not change the dynamics on the ground.”
“If you can remember, IPOB has 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 on 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 licence to people to be profiling herdsmen in general as terrorists and taking laws 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 society.
‘It is a socio-political problem’
“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 the 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 Fulani 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,” Gumi said.