The Middle Belt Forum on Sunday faulted a prominent Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, who asked the Federal Government to deploy budget for security in addressing the demands of bandits.
The National Publicity Secretary of the MBF, Dr Isuwa Dogo, in an interview with one of our correspondents in Jos, stated that it was curious that Gumi could ask government to use taxpayers’ money to meet the demands of bandits, who had been killing Nigerians.
But the Coalition of Northern Groups supported the cleric, saying government should set up a special intervention programme for pastoral communities.
Recall that Gumi had last week visited Tubali and Makkai forests in the Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, where he appealed to bandits to embrace peace.
During his visit to Fulani camps in the forests, he said security crisis in Zamfara State was insurgency, not banditry.
Addressing the bandits, Gumi was quoted to have said, “You all have a legitimate concern and grievances, and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipeline protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinics and schools.”
Justifying his call for the use of security budget to meet bandits’ demands, he had said, “Such billions would be more than enough if judiciously used to address all the demands of the armed Fulani, including providing them with basic amenities, training them and providing them with the needed capital.”
But the MBF spokesman Dogo, in the interview with The PUNCH questioned the rationale behind Gumi’s demands for the bandits and the name they should be called.
By their actions, killer herders are bandits not insurgents – MBF spokesman
He stated “ There is no doubt about who they are because all their actions portray them as bandits and not insurgents. It is also not enough for him (Gumi) to say that security votes should be channelled towards addressing the demands of those who have been killing the people. Let him tell Nigerians what those demands are to justify the use of taxpayers’ money to address them.
“Let him also tell Nigerians the people he actually visited in the forest and the kind of discussion he had with them.
“Because if those he visited were the same people that have been looking for whom to kill, then his suggestion is curious,” the MBF spokesman said.