Military raids against bandits can turn Nigeria into Afghanistan — Sheik Gumi
Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, a controversial Islamic cleric, stated on Monday that the ongoing military offensive against bandits in Zamfara State and other parts of the North-West will not produce the desired outcomes.
Gumi also cautioned against mishandling the situation in order to avoid a repeat of the Taliban’s success in Afghanistan.
Rather, the cleric wrote on his Facebook page, “Zamfara: The Flaring Crisis,” that the Federal Government should manage the situation similarly to how it handled the EndSAR protest or the Niger Delta militants.
Gumi further claimed that the Federal Government should provide amnesty to bandits in the north, same as the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s administration did to militants in the Niger Delta before his death.
Military interventions in the past, according to the controversial priest, have worsened the issue, causing herders resistance.
“Any more action will push them closer to religious fanaticism. It gives them protection from discrediting them as thieves and also reinforces their mobilisation of gullible young unemployed youth as we saw with Boko Haram.
“These measures I enumerated are cheaper, easier, and lasting than the kinetic approach which is now taking place. No military, especially of a poor economy, can win guerrilla warfare. The recent victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan is a factual warning for those that contemplate this.”
Gumi said the conflict could be resolved by engagement of the government with the agitators and not the use of force which would further escalate the entire situation.
He added, “With their acquisition of weapons, they realised how easy it became to be masters of their abode; the forest, where no authority can venture into. This has emboldened them to further attack people for more ransoms to sustain their newfound reality.
“Now, with the prodding of the government to take more military actions of an already ugly situation whereby they were left to amass weapons, a huge military budget that is almost draining the economy to a standstill in the purchase of fighter aircrafts and conducting military operations in the region has become to the authorities, in their calculations, a necessity.”
“Unfortunately, this is no solution or wisdom. When you don’t have the monopoly of the instruments of violence, then dialogue has the monopoly of resolving the conflicts“ This is what the UN is all about; roundtable resolution of conflicts. What we are seeing is more than just criminals and criminality. Yes, it may have started as such but like any conflict, it is dynamic.”