December 9, 2023

A coalition of Northern Elders under the aegis of the North East Elders for Peace and Development (NEEPD), has berated a Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, for allegedly uttering provocative statements that could instigate violence in the country.

Gumi, who recently has been in the frontline for negotiating with bandits also said that it was non-Muslim soldiers in the Nigerian Army killing bandits.

He also said that bandits are not responsible for the cases of criminalities reported in the Northwestern region of Nigeria.

He had said: “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.”

Reacting to this, NEEPD in a statement released on Wednesday by Zana Goni, the coordinator of the coalition, condemned the statements credited to the cleric, noting that they do not represent the position of the region.

The northern elders further reiterated that Gumi should refrain from levelling dangerous and divisive allegations against the patriotic soldiers.

The statement reads: “As northern elders committed to a united and indivisible nation, we hasten to condemn in very strong terms the allegations made against the Nigerian military by one of our leading Islamic scholars, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

“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. 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.”

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