The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged Shiek Ahmad Gumi to immediately withdraw the “unpatriotic and divisive utterances” credited to him in the interest of peace and unity of Nigeria.
In a statement signed by its General Secretary, Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola, CAN said “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed shock, pains and disappointment in one Islamic leader, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, over his alleged profiling of military operatives recently while addressing some bandits in Tegina forest, a border town between Niger and Kaduna states.”
It would be recall that Shiek Ahmad Gumi during a recent visit to the bandits allegedly told them that non-Muslim soldiers were the ones causing confusion just to ignite crisis.
But CAN in its reaction said “If anyone said it was the Christian soldiers who are attacking armed bandits, that person does not wish this country well and he doesn’t want the war against terrorism and banditry to end in victory. Gumi’s so-called audio evidence cannot be taken seriously because audio evidence can be deliberately arranged to make a point. Secondly, how can we ascertain the credibility of the person alleging that it was the Christian soldiers that were attacking communities and bandits?”
The Christian group described Gumi’s utterances as an “unreasonable outburst” that is not only demoralizing but a plot to divide the Nigerian military along religious lines and to derogatively portray non-Christian soldiers as not committed to fighting criminality.
“We still want to believe that Sheik Gumi was quoted out of context. But if it was true, then, the unity and peace of the country are being threatened by the sentimental statement of this cleric.
“We have not heard the Presidency react to this dangerous statement as they are supposed to do, cautioning this cleric who has thrown caution to the wind. Such a grave allegation is evil, divisive, unpatriotic, ill-wind and reprehensible.
“We ask again, is Sheik Gumi trying to polarise the military along the religious divides? Is he inciting the bandits against Christians? Is Gumi saying that the Muslim soldiers are on vacation in the ongoing war against terrorists, murderous herdsmen and bandits? What good will this statement do to the insecurity in the country? We are of the opinion that the government of Nigeria should seriously caution Gumi for his reckless and inflammatory statement.”
According to CAN, President Muhammadu Buhari’s prolonged silence is tantamount to an endorsement of Gumi’s dangerous statement, adding that had what Gumi reportedly said been attributed to a Christian leader, security operatives would have invited him or declared him wanted and the Presidency would have publicly condemned that Christian leader.
CAN stated: “We recalled how Apostle Johnson Suleiman, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, Prophet Isa El-Buba and of recent, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s statements were handled by security operatives and equally reacted to by the government. Do we truly have sacred cows in the country now?
“We are curious to know how Gumi was able to locate the whereabouts of the bandits when our security agencies are giving us the impression that they are invincible. If the terrorists can be located, what hinders the police and the military from arresting them and bringing them to book? Is anyone in government conniving with the terrorists so that this insecurity might continue?
“Now that bandits are being pampered, money is being made available to them and highly respected politicians and religious leaders are speaking for them, criminals are being emboldened to commit their unlawful actions with impunity. Who truly offended these terrorists? What sin did the people they are attacking and kidnapping commit against them? Why should anybody be speaking in favour of the terrorists? Will pampering the terrorists not truly going to be around with us in the next 20 years as foretold by the immediate Chief of Army Staff?
While calling for caution and restraint from Nigerians, CAN opined that Nigeria’s unity is on trial and if those running the country are playing the ostrich, there may be no hope of redemption.
“May God save our nation. The country belongs to Muslims, Christians and the unbelievers and any attempt to divide us against one another by any cleric or through the over-zealous divisive actions of those in government may spell doom for all of us.”