CONTROVERSIAL Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has warned the federal government that ongoing onslaught on bandits in Zamfara State and other parts of the North-West would not yield the desired results. Gumi also warned against poor handling of the situation so that it would not go the way of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Rather, the cleric, in a statement on his Facebook wall, titled, ‘Zamfara: The flaring crisis,’ noted that the Federal Government should handled the matter just the way it did to the EndSAR protest or the Niger Delta militants. Gumi also stated that the Federal Government should grant amnesty to bandits in the North just the way the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua did to the Niger Delta militants before his demise.
According to the controversial cleric, military actions in the past have worsened the situation, causing herdsmen 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 said, “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 conflict.
“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.”