Gum to Bandits: Step-down military action, embrace dialogue, education and training

From Jibrin Miachi, Kaduna

Sheikh (Dr) Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, a Kaduna based Islamic scholar, has advised Government to step-down military action against bandits suspected to be Kidnappers with a view to saving the lives of victims in captivity just as he suggested engaging the group in dialogue towards rehabilitating them to become good citizens.

He gave the advice and made the suggestion during an exclusive interview, in his reaction to the killing of three students of a Kaduna private University. The unfortunate students, it would be recalled, were among their mates kidnapped from the campus, still in captivity.     

Gumi who opined that his advice is the best option for now, considering the possibility of the group reaching out to Gboko Haram for assistance in solidarity, feared that the lives of the people in their captive may not be spared if the military attack on them becomes tense. .

The concerned Islamic scholar lamented the death of the kidnapped students saying: “this is unfortunate and an avoidable death”, stressing “If we have taken the right step long time ago without letting this situation to reach this deplorable state of inhumanity it has reached, the death of the students could have been avoided”.

He recalled with deep concern that during this Ramadan, he made sure he organized and sent scholars into the bandits “to teach them Islamic religion because Ramadan is a period when people are supposed to be closer to God.

        “I got a message from one of the scholars that I sent and he told me that the lecture (Tafsir) was going on well and that the bandits were cooperating with them”, Gumi said.

Speaking further, he said it is a common knowledge that the bandits are being bombed and they said their women and children are being killed.”By this, the government is scaring them to be vicious and ruthless.

“If they had followed what we are doing, enticing them and teaching them, it will pacify them but if you continue to bomb them, this is the end result you will expect. The moment you start bombing people and their women and children are dying, what do you think will happen when they catch you, will they piety you? No. that is why military approach is not the best solution to this problem”, he declared.

        In another development, Gumi disclosed that he has received copy of a letter of complaint from the Kaduna state university student union which they wrote to the state Governor in protest.

The union is complaining about the likely adverse effects of the increased school fees with expected telling effects not only on the students but on the larger society.

According to the union, “a very good number of students may not be able to pay the new tuition fee and that will bring about increase number of dropout of students which may directly or indirectly increase crime rate in the state as the students may be recruited into armed banditry and kidnapping leading to a lot of social unrest.

“If you increase school fees exorbitantly, dropout will lead to banditry, thus therefore, how about the people who have for long time or even never being to school. If they go into banditry and they are introduced to drug, what do you expect?

“This is the social problem that we have to deal with from the root. Our leaders, Governors among other well-meaning Nigerians should wake up to this reality if we must safe our future. 

“There is no time for any Governor or President to sleep. We have to go and change the character, understanding, behavior and ego system of this group of persons”, Gumi charged.

To do this successfully, Dr. Gumi charged: “build schools for them and engage qualified teachers that will train and give them knowledge”, informing that “I have sent somebody who is with them now teaching and he said they are cooperative.

“If it is Government that is doing it, they will not send only one person, they will send many people which will include psychologists among others. Instead of doing this, they are eager to drop bomb”, he faulted as according to him “we only see the effect but we don’t see what is on them.

“A Fulani man is a shy person. Don’t attack them but lure them. I told them not to start military incursion there. What I am afraid is that they may join Gboko Haram if the pressure is too much on them. This is what I fear because they may need their support”, Gumi cried out.

Asking him to suggest what to do to save others still in captivity, he retorted: “we are afraid to engage our contact because government may frame you. They said they are not going to negotiate. Let us leave the matter for government to deal with.

“Even the scholars I sent, they are afraid and so, they said I have to give them written note that I am the one that sent them there to teach otherwise they can be framed as bandits, especially when they come back.

“I therefore wrote letters to the Police Commissioners of Kaduna, Zamfara states among others, about five of them, telling them that we are sending these scholars for Tafsir.

“I am doing everything from my pocket. How about the government, are they not concerned about the people? This is a national problem. Everybody is and should be concerned. This is neither politics nor religion.

“You see, the killed three students are two girls and a boy. The boy is a Muslim, so it is not religion. It is delinquency. We are dealing with delinquency and as such, you don’t kill people, you rehabilitate people.

“We are developing city forgetting people. This is our problem. We could have been spending money on the education and training of this people and we would all have been better for it”, Gumi argued.

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