It is less than two months until the general elections in 2023, and popular Islamic Scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has urged his congregation to vote for candidates who will not fight bandits if elected.
The controversial Islamic cleric urged Nigerians in a sermon to vote for leaders who would negotiate with bandits if elected.
Gumi, who described bandits as “our people,” said Nigeria’s next leaders should negotiate and give bandits what they want in order for peace to reign.
“Don’t vote for those who will fight bandits. The fighters (bandits) are our people. So please vote for those who, after attaining power, will call and negotiate with our people (bandits) so as to give them what they want for peace to reign,” he said.
"Don't vote for those who will fight bandits. The fighters (bandits) are our people. So pls vote for those who after attaining power will call and negotiate with our people (bandits) so as to give them what they want for peace to reign". 🤐😱 – Abubakar Gumi Jnr@OfficialAPCNg pic.twitter.com/5VNwFqQdnj
— Ibrahim, SHEHU 🎋agara (MHR) (@magmal11) December 25, 2022
Bandits have been ravaging some Northern States like Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, and Taraba. They have kidnapped and killed people while demanding millions of naira in ransom.
Gumi is a prominent, yet divisive, Muslim cleric who acts as a self-appointed go-between for bandits and the government. Gumi is the late Shaykh Abubakar Gumi’s eldest son.
He was born in the state of Kano. He was descended from a line of Islamic scholars, his father being the first Grand Khadi of the old Northern Region.
Sheik Gumi, who rose to the rank of captain as a doctor in the Nigerian Army’s medical corps, had previously accused Christians in the military’s counter-insurgency/banditry campaign of killing bandits.
It was a remark that had the potential, if not the clear intention, of sparking a sectarian war in the military. For a long time, Sheik Gumi had faced harsh criticism from Nigerians who saw his appeasement role as overtly conciliatory and accommodating terrorists.