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The actions of self-appointed terror mediator, Sheikh Gumi has further exposed President Muhammadu Buhari and his Government as terror lovers. The tacit endorsement of the activities of terrorists in the country by the current Government and its key players is no longer news. No Government in the history of Nigeria has given moral, financial, and religious support to the terrorists like Buhari’s Government. Nigerians have repeatedly seen Buhari agree to the demands of terrorists. As envisioned, his intimate relationship with terrorists has further weakened his government and weakened the country’s democratic values making the war against terrorism almost ‘unwinnable’.
Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi as many Nigerians know is an Islamic cleric, scholar, and current chief judge of the Shariah Court of Appeal in Northern Nigeria. He is as well the current mufti and mufassir at the Kaduna central mosque Sultan Bello. How he silently transfigured himself to assume the scary position of Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) for bandits in Nigeria has left many lovers of peace in Nigeria into acute depression.
When he assumed the self-appointed position, many Nigerians appeared unconcerned not until his provocative statements in support of the terrorists who Government for obvious reasons prefer to call ‘bandits’ began to make headlines. To hoodwink innocent Nigerians, Gumi roams around as a peacemaker and flies the flag of a mediator yet at every turn, Gumi takes any available opportunity to put in a word for the terrorists, heaping the blame for their criminal ways on everyone but the deadly terrorists.
Many Nigerians would recall how Sheik Gumi, who rose to the rank of a captain as a doctor in the medical corps of the Nigerian Army, had a few months back accused Christians in the military’s counter-insurgency/banditry campaign of being responsible for the killing of bandits. A careful perusal of the remark would show that the aim was clear; to set off a sectarian war in the military, connecting the dots would simply show why Buhari refused to visit the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) in the aftermath of the attack in Kaduna, yes, many Nigerians do not know that only Christians were targeted and killed by the bandits in arguably the most secured vicinity in the country. To put it in terse terms, Buhari’s government is Gumi’s biggest ally.
How can Buhari pay blind eyes to the fact that over the last two years, Gumi has been very vociferous in his defense of the terrorists’ in bandits uniforms? Can he? In attacks on schools, Gumi has always made it a point of duty to hold the students culpable for the crime committed against them by the army of outlaws that have now overtaken the North. Gumi goes on the media to offer a rather romantic and generally sympathetic account and justification of the activities of the criminals. Gumi has successfully spinned the narrative to paint bandits as victims and not as criminals. How can all this happen in a country that has laws if not for the common mission he shares with the Government of the day? By merely listening to Gumi, these beastly terrorists who have murdered hundreds of Nigerians in cold blood and received ransoms running into hundreds of millions of naira from both the State and traumatised relations of kidnap victims could be mistaken for evangelists yet, Buhari and his Government have continued to look the other way.
Gumi’s role as a bandit sympathiser has continued to endanger the collective security of Nigerians, upending the security setup in ways that should be repugnant to all supporters of order and justice, this can only happen with the active connivance with State actors, Buhari who is constitutionally mandated to protect Nigerians sees absolutely nothing wrong in the deliberate symbiotic relationship of Gumi and the deadly terrorist organisations wrecking mayhem in Nigeria. Gumi himself has severally and openly confessed that highly placed people in the Buhari Government are fully aware of his engagements with terrorists. Gumi as a matter of fact even gets State protection at will. This is the sad reality facing Nigerians.
Sometime early this year, when Gumi took what looked like an extremely dangerous journey to the forest to meet the terrorists, his justification was that the entire process needed an impartial arbiter, not the State who he claimed that had serially violated previous agreements with the terrorists. A curious thinker may wonder what kind of agreements this was, however, it shouldn’t be surprising to know that these were generous offers of appeasement money that were directed at getting the terrorists to drop their arms. So which government was Gumi referring to if not Buhari and his cohorts? Infact, take away the agreements which the government of the day has continued to downplay, those comments by Gumi were both a cheap surrender and admission of State failure.
Gumi and his likes are the reason why Buhari has continued to capture and release terrorists under the guise that they are now ‘repented’ ignoring the fact many of the terrorists rehabilitated under these arrangements returned to the forests before or as soon as they had exhausted their monetary largesse or as soon as they got tired of the charade. Many Nigerians do not know that the move which started as a peaceful approach to getting the terror under control was actually a big-time money-making business for the terrorists and some of those employed to check them in the security units. No wonder Gumi had to even openly advocate that agency or ministry be created for bandits using billions of taxpayers’ money.
More disgustful is the fact that Gumi has even gone as far as comparing the terrorists, who he claims lack a voice, to coup plotters while demanding State pardons for them. This is the sad rhetoric of appeasement, Gumi now tries to propagate. The terror-loving Islamic Sheikh has even gone on to describe the devastating onslaught of the terrorists on farming communities and the attendant conflict as ethnic wars. More worrisome is the fact that in his desperate appeasement game, Gumi, a few months ago made the outstanding claim that the northern terrorists learned their art from Niger-Delta militants. Just as he demanded that an amnesty programme in the manner of the one President Umar Yar’Adua emplaced for Niger-Delta militias should be instituted for the terror-bandits of the north. What manner of man is this terrorist? What are bandits fighting for? What does Gumi want?
What has Gumi not asked on behalf of his so-called beloved voiceless bandits? Just like many northern advocates as well as elements in the Buhari government, he has demanded that Bandits be recruited into the military or assigned the task of guarding the forests against terrorists like themselves! Where would this saccharine love of criminals, end? When would Buhari stop colluding with terrorists and shout enough of the bloodshed? Where was Gumi’s humanity when he urged parents of the abducted Greenfield University students to pay about ₦200 million in addition to procuring motorbikes for the bandits that abducted them in exchange for the return of the remainder of the students that escaped summary execution? He wants them pampered with amnesty and cash. Otherwise more school children would be abducted.
However, there are some things that are certain. Terrorists and terrorism require a structure to operate since money is their jugular vein. Arms, food supply, and logistics are all dependent on funds, as we’ve seen (and read). These terrorists, unbelievably, keep these variables in flux, along with their level of knowledge and strategies for eluding security officials (most times at least). How else could they survive despite billions of naira spent fighting them? They constantly seem to be one step ahead of any apparent progress made by security authorities to eliminate them. Buhari’s culpability is certain. A man that can shield Pantami is capable of doing just anything.
Why has Buhari allowed Gumi the leverage to continue to fan insurrection and disunity? How can a man who has unfettered access to bandits be allowed to threaten the government by saying the govt cannot protect all schools? How can a Government that believes that popular Nollywood actor, Chinwetalu Agu should be in jail on the account of a cloth he was putting on look the other way when Gumi is systematically breeding terrorism? Too many questions indeed, but then, the answer is simple, they are in the same business of propagating terrorism. And yes, Nigerians who have always been perplexed as to why Buhari has refused to designate the bandits as terrorists now have a clue. This is the painful reality.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK