For advocating for amnesty for bandits in the North, the Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman has carpeted the Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi.
Lukman also condemned other leaders criticizing the measures taking by the Federal Government to fight insurgents and other security challenges. According to him, for the war against insecurity to be won, leaders must collectively agree.
Condemning Gumi, who recently said military operations would not solve banditry but called for amnesty for the bandits as it was given to militants in Niger Delta, Lukman said: “So-called media commentators, religious and other leaders have discredited decisions of government to shut down communication services, markets, etc. in the states where the military operations are taking place. A religious leader has already proclaimed that the military operations against the bandits will fail.
“What a jaundiced view. May be Nigeria should return to the era when hundreds of millions meant for arms procurement to fight insurgency, banditry and other criminality will be diverted and given to religious leaders for prayers. Instead of mobilising security agencies to fight the criminals, resources being deployed to fight insecurity in the country should be given to religious leaders to pray for the bandits to come back to their senses.
“This is perhaps what Sheikh Ahmad Gumi is preaching when he insists that government should grant amnesty to bandits in the North just the way the administration of late President Umaru Yar’Adua handled Niger Delta militants. Anybody who argue this way is already part of Nigeria’s national security problem. Nigerians need to rise to the challenge of regulating the conduct of so-called leaders, including religious clerics. Being jaundiced makes most of these leaders to be antagonistic to initiatives towards nation building.
Beyond religious clerics, there are other categories of leaders in the country with similarly jaundiced views. Individuals, who in their own rights count as elders and have paid their dues to this country have become very vocal almost virtually against every decision and action of government. Ideally, elders should speak with strong moral voice based on capacity to say more than the ordinary on account of their lived experiences.
“But when elders speak with the same voice as that of politicians, it weakens their authority and diminish their influence in society. If the weakness of politicians is that they are unable to project a national identity, how different could elders whose mission only seek to entrench divisive politics in the country? The hallmark of being elders should be to bring something completely different from what the political class are offering. In which case, instead of claiming to be speaking as elders, so-called elders who promote Nigeria’s fractured reality should just honestly disclose all their political objectives,” he said.