Renowned Islamic cleric Sheikh, Dr Ahmad Gumi, has said that the military don’t have intelligence to track down bandit kingpins talk more of killing them.
Gumi stated this while reacting to the celebration that follows the reported killing of two bandit kingpins, Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga, in an air strike by Nigerian armed forces.
The two bandit leaders were killed by the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) during an air raid on bandit camps in Gusami Forest and Tsamre Village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara state in the early hours of Saturday, January 1.
Other notorious bandits like Alhaji Nashama, Shingi and Halilu and their members were reportedly injured during the military bombardments.
Speaking through his media consultant, Tukur Mamu, in an interview with newsmen in Kaduna on Tuesday, January 4, the cleric called on the military to further convince the public by showing evidence of how the two bandit kingpins and other bandits were killed.
“The simple question is that we should ask ourselves from these reports that they are saying that they’ve bombarded this camp and that camp, is there any evidence on the ground?,” he said.
“There is a particular forest we visited in Niger State. The whole of the settlement had been bombarded. This settlement has nothing to do with bandits. In fact, they showed us two wells full of innocent people, dead, casualties of these bombardments.
“That’s exactly what these bandits were telling us. They said whenever we hear the sound of an aircraft, we run to our caves and then run. If they will succeed in killing anybody, it is the small children, the wives or the cows.
“That’s their own testimony. So you can imagine a country where, for example, bandits would gather in a forest and be celebrating. You don’t even have the intelligence to track them and eliminate them. Then you to say you will succeed in killing them
“I hear them yesterday celebrating the reported death of bandit leader. So, for example, if you kill one bandit leader and another one emerges, what benefit did you derive?
“For example, you killed Dogo Gide, a person more dreaded than him emerged. When they killed Buharin Daji, Turji emerged. So what’s the success there? And for us to even be celebrating. There is nothing to celebrate, the only thing we can celebrate is that if our military succeeds in crushing them all and they cannot.”
He said if America could go to Afghanistan, spend 20 years, spend “3 trillion dollars and wasting 3,600 personnel, over 20,000 citizens killed after 20 years. They are coming to dialogue with the Taliban, what do you expect in Nigeria?
“These (Americans) are people that have so much transparency even in their military spending. You will not hear even the cases of corruption like the one we hear in Nigeria. So if they would do that after all these 20 years, what do you expect from Nigeria?
“I can tell you without any fear of contradiction, Buhari would spend the next one year seven months without addressing this issue. And if the next president comes and he will follow the same process, he cannot succeed
“You have to address so many economic issues and so many issues of injustice. And then for you to pursue the path of dialogue. It is not a sign of weakness. That’s what Yar’Adua initiated in Niger Delta.
“Do you think the silence we used to hear now from Niger Delta is because of guns? Is it because of military might? There are many top militant commanders that have been on the payroll of the Federal Government for the past eight years. They are the richest now, top militants, commanders
“But this is a silent issue that nobody knows. But that is the reason why you can explore oil and then exploit it. The only reason why their own is different is because the Federal Government knows that if they didn’t do something there, it will affect the whole economy. That’s the issue.”
He said the issue of security has no religious connotation as it affected everybody.
“It is something that is really consuming the society. Our major problem as a nation is how to go about solving this crisis that has defied all solutions so far.
“A lot of people are giving their own perspectives, a lot of people are giving their own thoughts about the way they think it is the appropriate way to manage the whole crisis.
“But for Sheikh Gumi, we believe people are making comments out of either naivety or out of ignorance about the quantum of the problems that we have and how to go about it.
“I think, by now, we are authorities especially on issues that have to do with banditry. The genesis of the crisis, how to go about it, and then what we’ve actually seen on the ground. This is because nobody in Nigeria has seen what we saw,” he added.