The North-east Elders for Peace and Development has warned Ahmad Gumi, Islamic cleric, to refrain his making divisive comment capable undermining the Nigeria’s military.
The elders said this in reaction to comment credited to Gumi where he m said non-Muslim soldiers carried out orchestrated killings of Muslim villages and Bandits, hence incuring their wrath.
Gumi has been making the headlines in recent weeks over his mediation efforts during which he met with bandits and other criminal elements with a view to finding out the reason for their nefarious activities and relaying their grievances to relevant authorities.
“What I want you people to understand is, soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and none Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite a crisis,” he was quoted to have said when he met with suspected bandits in Tegina forest, a border town between Niger and Kaduna states.
Reacting in a statement, the elders disassociated themselves from Gumi’s allegations, saying his remarks did not represent the position of the region.
They implore the public to see Gumi’s aassertion as personal.
The group said they would have commended Gumi for his peacemaking efforts “but for the profiling comments attributed to him, which we consider abhorrent and unhelpful to national development and peace”.
They warned that such a statement was capable of inciting the public against soldiers.
“We rise in one voice to dissociate ourselves from the dangerous and divisive allegations levelled against our patriotic soldiers by Sheikh Gumi, in one of his missions to meet with bandits in a forest around Niger State,” the group said.
“We insist that our military is one of the finest in the world, with zero-tolerance for partisanship, ethnic consideration and other unprofessional dispositions.
“We warn that comments such as this have the potential of pitting the exposed soldiers against general areas in the North, where they have continued to put down their lives to protect the territorial integrity of the nation from those that seek to violate it. Our concern is further hinged on the possibility of the world concluding that the North may be offering tacit endorsement to banditry and associated crimes against society.
“To douse this tension, therefore, we call on relevant authorities, including prominent individuals and groups from the North, to condemn Gumi’s position in a manner that will absolve the region of conspiracy and vicarious liability, in the long run.
“In whatever position we find ourselves, we must, at all material times, endeavour to put the collective interest of Nigeria over and above all other considerations, bearing in mind the fact that when the country collapses, it will do so on all of us, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or belief.
“Lastly, we urge Gumi to stop approbating and reprobating at the same time, and to immediately call-off his mission, if he has developed lethargy in the course of undertaking visits to deep forests.”
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