Eminent Nigerian Elders Fault Sheikh Gumi’s Unfettered Access To Bandits
By Samuel Ohwovoriole
Eminent elders across the country under the auspices of Conference Of Nigeria Elders For Peace And National Unity (CNEPNU), are wondering why Sheikh Abubakar Gumi who is neither a government official nor appointee is allowed a free reign and access to negotiate with bandits.
This was contained in a statement signed by Engr Zana Goni (North east elders for peace and development); Prof Chika Madumere (Coalition of South East Professionals Network), as well as Prof Ganiyu Jakande, the concerned elders said the level of tension in the country today, could only be likened to the 1967 – 1970 scenario.
This is as result of the current insecurity in the country and now Sheikh Abubakar Gumi a respected Islamic Cleric who is going about moving from one bandit camp to another in the name of negotiating with bandits.
“We rise as elders to condemn in its entirety the worsening state of insecurity in our dear country, which has not only led to needless lose of lives and property, but also threatened her fragile and delicate balance”, the elders said in the statement.”
The elders say they are suspecting a conspiracy in the whole thing. “We fear conspiracy on the part of security operatives, as nothing explains the fact that, while it seemed all the while that bandits, terrorists and other criminal elements were spirits, respected Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, has been traversing the ‘forests of evil’, meeting, discussing and taking photographs with the evil men.”
They have, therefore, charged the military and security agencies in the country on the need to show more commitment to the onerous task of addressing the myriad of security challenges confronting society, especially insurgency, armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnap-for-ransom, and drug addiction.
According to them, a situation where a proscribed group such as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will be running a security outfit in the name of Eastern Security Network, which by all means is illegal, does not add up, hence the need for South East Governors to offer unparalleled support to the military, to smoke the outlaws from their hideouts. The Governors can consider setting up a regional security outfit within a legal framework to support the security agencies operating in the Southeast.
The senior citizens admonished authorities to also beam their searchlights on other parts of the country, with a view to identifying, isolating and arresting persons and groups constituting security threats.
This development, they argued, will clear the doubt in many quarters that the South East geo-political zone is an entity suffocating under the weight of oppression.
The statement also reads:
“We are alarmed by the increasing attacks on members of the public, especially acts of insurgency, kidnapping, armed banditry, rape and the like, thereby portraying Nigeria as a ship that has lost its compass.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to give vent to his oath of office by protecting the citizens from attacks perpetrated by non-state actors, who seem to be having freedom of action that suggests abdication of responsibility on the part of authorities.
“Our concern is that Nigeria may be heading down the path of Somalia and other failed African nations, if nothing concrete, decisive and urgent is done to reverse this ugly trend.
“As an immediate measure, therefore, we call on Mr. President to address the nation in a manner that will restore public confidence, which has since been lost, as seen in the resort to self-help by many citizens and groups, who feel – rghtly or wrongly – that government has failed to protect them against unwarranted attacks
“Again, the President must hand down a marching order to the new Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, as well as other heads of relevant security and law enforcement agencies, to reclaim the space from the enemies of state.
“With due respect, the way bandits and other criminal elements are allowed to operate today is appalling, as only in a dysfunctional society would you see criminal elements dictating to government what it must do.
“The new order of bandits’ invasion of schools, culminating in the forcefully taking of school children, whose only ‘sin’ attempt to acquire basic education, must be halted with immediate effect, if our future as a nation must be assured.
“Lastly, we support the ongoing joint military operation in Orlu forest, Imo State, to take out outlaws threatening the peace, and urge Governors of the five South East states to openly identify with this cause, to demonstrate statesmanship and responsible conduct.”
The group used the opportunity to call on the President to revisit the issue of exclusion of Southeastern officer from the nation’s service chiefs.
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