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FG Invites Gumi For Questioning 

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Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has been invited for questioning by the Federal Government.

The invitation of the cleric, who has been commenting on the series of banditry and kidnappings in the country was revealed by the Minister of Information and Orientation, Mohammed Idris.

Addressing journalists at the State House, Abuja, the minister said Gumi is not above the law and that the government has deemed it necessary to invite him.

Grassroots Today had reported Gumi, a former captain in the Nigerian Army, as saying that the leaders of bandits behind abductions in some parts of the country are known to the Federal Government.

Speaking in a television interview, he had also restated his request to the Federal Government for permission to negotiate with the bandits, who had then abducted hundreds of school children and women in some Northern parts of the country.

However, 137 schoolchildren abducted by bandits from the Kuriga Government Secondary School and LFA Primary School, in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State on March 7 were over tge weekend rescued from Zamfara state.

Gumi, who, during the interview did not reveal the names of the bandit leaders, referred to a book, which according to him contained the names of 160 bandit leaders.

“The government, everybody knows their leader. In fact, there’s a book ‘I am a bandit’ by one Muritala, an academician. He listed more than 160 bandit leaders.

“We know the leaders by their names, but you don’t know their foot soldiers. You don’t know them, all of them. So you just know their leaders? You don’t know the foot soldiers. So if you don’t know the foot soldiers, how can you be fighting?

“They can just come in as civilians into the town and go out and then fight you back. We need to look at this seriously.

“It’s more than just meeting in Abuja. It’s more than that. We have to go to the field locally and see how things can be moved,” he added.

The latest kidnap victims are the no fewer than 287 school children from the Kariga Government Secondary School and LFA Primary School, in the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State as well as the 200 internally displaced women kidnapped in Ngala, headquarters of Gambarou Ngala in Borno State, while fetching firewood in the bush.

Answering questions during an interview on ARISE TV on Thursday, the former captain in the Nigerian Army also supported the directive by President Bola Tinubu to security agencies to secure the release of the students without paying any ransom.

“The government, everybody knows their leader. In fact, there’s a book ‘I am a bandit’ by one Muritala, an academician. He listed more than 160 bandit leaders.

“We know the leaders by their names, but you don’t know their foot soldiers. You don’t know them, all of them. So you just know their leaders? You don’t know the foot soldiers. So if you don’t know the foot soldiers, how can you be fighting?

“They can just come in as civilians into the town and go out and then fight you back. We need to look at this seriously.

“It’s more than just meeting in Abuja. It’s more than that. We have to go to the field locally and see how things can be moved,” he added.

Gumi regretted the kinetic approach of the government towards ending the acts of the bandits, accusing it of “not ready to spend money on non-kinetic, but ready to spend billions and trillions on the kinetic aspect.”

He pointed out that with the schools and hospitals that would be built, the victims and bandits will be the beneficiaries of the social programme under the non-kinetic approach, noting however that “but when you put money in the military, it is our generals, unfortunately to say that, that benefits.”

On the demands of the bandits, Gumi said, “No, I don’t know what they want. I think they’re just putting a figure just so that there will be negotiation and talk with them. But I don’t know what they want, but I don’t think government should give them any dime myself.”

He reiterated his readiness to negotiate with the bandits on behalf of the government, saying, “Yes, this is a national duty and a religious duty too. We can’t be sleeping when children are there in the bush.

“They are small children, they are innocent and it’s very unfortunate that we can allow these things to fester and even become more and more dangerous without taking the right steps.

Gumi, who had in the past negotiated for the release of some abducted people by bandits, in a statement on Tuesday urged President Bola Tinubu not to adopt the attitude of former President Muhammadu Buhari, who did not negotiate with the bandits.

“I hope the present government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will listen by dialoguing with the bandits because the past administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari refused to do so”, he stated.

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