The controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has blamed two secessionist leaders– Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho –for the crisis in southern Nigeria.
Both Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Igboho, who was calling for the self-determination of Yoruba people, are in detention.
While Kanu is being detained in Nigeria by the Department of State Services (DSS) after his rendition from Kenya, Igboho is in a Benin Republic prison, following his arrest in the West African country while attempting to travel to Germany.
Meanwhile, Gumi has on several occasions defended killer bandits, saying they should not be declared as terrorists.
He has held meetings with many bandits in their strongholds in the North-West.
According to Gumi, abductions and killings that have been linked to some Fulani herdsmen in Southern Nigeria are not enough reason for the agitators to seek self-determination.
Gumi noted this during an online forum titled “Islam and the Special Role of Religious Leaders in Peacemaking in the Banditry Crisis in Northwest Nigeria”.
The cleric said, “And another thing I noticed in the South is that there is a disparity between the level of education and know-how. And when you have such disparity, conflict can never end because people can hardly understand each other.
“So the Fulani debacle in the Southern Nigeria, it is capitalised by the secessionist movements of Kanu and Igboho as one of the causes of the agitation for separation. Evidentially, the crisis is another fallout of this same crisis. It’s just a smokescreen: how many Fulani people have kidnapped people that will warrant secession? How many Fulani were massacred and killed in these states that will warrant secession?”