CONTROVERSIAL Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi has said terrorists are recruiting herdsmen to carry out attacks.
Gumi said this in an exclusive interview with The ICIR in Kaduna.
“The people that are doing this are called Ansaru, an offshoot of Boko Haram. They are not even Fulanis. But they are using herdsmen as foot soldiers and I heard they are paying them N50,000 everyday,” Gumi said.
He added, “During Jonathan’s time, they didn’t have foot soldiers to carry out big operations. They just put bombs but now, they went to break a prison and released people and they went with their people. They have foot soldiers. Where are these foot soldiers coming from? It’s these bandits. Since I have been warning Nigerians. These are not even Fulanis but they are only using them as foot soldiers.”
Gumi blamed the development on government’s inability to educate herdsmen and provide them with basic needs.
“I have been there meeting with bandits, trying to show them, educate them because they are not educated.
“Where do you want them to get their education and direction? Nobody. They are all uneducated and the offense society has done is to leave such a large number of people without education, without budgetary concern for their education, their health, what they are doing, what they are thinking. Nobody is concerned about them. This is negligence.”
On whether paying ransom is justifiable for the release of abducted victims, Gumi said the people have no other option than to pay the money.
“Nobody is justifying the payment of ransom but do we have options? You can’t give your enemy your money. But any way out?”
Gumi, in the same vein, warned against using the Army to fight the bandits.
“The army is very strong. The army can destroy this town in 15 minutes. The air force can devastate Kaduna if given the go ahead, they have that power. The tactics, they have it. But if I give you a hammer to kill a fly in this room, you may end up destroying my furniture and your camera and you would not get the fly because a hammer is not meant for killing flies.
“But if I give you a rubber flexible swat which is cheaper than a hammer, you can easily get the flies. So, the answer is not the army, not the DSS. These people are isolated on an island or in a forest,” he said.
Gumi said gunmen in the South-East, suspected to be members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), would be more deadly if they were operating in the same terrain as the bandits in the North.
“In the South-East they don’t have anywhere to hide. IPOB doesn’t have anywhere. But these people (bandits) have vast land of forest to hide and they are inhabitants of forest. It’s their abode. If soldiers come he’s the stranger they can easily finish him. If IPOB has the same facility to protect them they will be doing exactly or worse.”
He stressed that the IPOB is not being treated unfairly by the government.
“They are not being treated unfairly because they are attacking soldiers and civilians directly,” he said.
Gumi added that the money the government spent on the purchase of helicopters was useless and could have been used to build roads and hospitals for the herdsmen.
“It’s useless. That money could have been used to build roads, hospitals, amenities for herdsmen just the way we did for Niger Delta people. The way we pacified Niger Delta people, that is how we need to pacify these people. The best way is amnesty.”
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