Outspoken Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, has demanded that the Nigerian government withdraw soldiers from violence-ridden northern cities because the government and soldiers are not really serious about fighting Boko Haram. Instead, Mr. Gumi accused the soldiers of killing innocent Muslims across Northern Nigeria. He called on the government to send the soldiers back to the barracks for peace to reign.
The cleric also accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo and one-time Defense Minister General T.Y. Danjuma (ret.) of conspiring to retire competent Muslim military officers on account of their having held political appointments.
A source who heard Sheik Gumi’s latest sermon at the famous Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna told SaharaReporters that Mr. Gumi made these observations at a well attended Ramadan sermon on Friday evening.
According to the source, the cleric “told the congregation that he saw with his eyes how soldiers were beating an innocent citizen in Kaduna yesterday (Friday) – after removing the citizen from a car.” Mr. Gumi reportedly wondered which law gave a soldier or police officer the right to maltreat innocent people. He concluded that the government was not waging a fight against Boko Haram but was molesting Muslims in their most populated environment. He claimed that there was a plot to oppress Muslims since the Chief of Army Staff is a non-Muslim.
The source quoted Gumi as stating that the country was “back in the Ironsi days, querying why soldiers are molesting innocent Muslims on streets by forcing them off their motorcycles. “Are they the Boko Haram?” the source quoted Sheik Gumi as asking. He added that the cleric stated, “[The soldiers] know where Boko Haram is because they… have their telephone numbers and are interacting with them on the Internet. What we are saying is, Islam does not permit any one to be killed unjustly. We are not talking on behalf of Boko Haram or on behalf of government. Anyone that goes wrong we will not be afraid to say it.
“I read in the papers that this American woman came and said that they cannot use force and fight Boko Haram. And we know they will say sweet things in public and continue conspiracy underground. What we are saying is in the spirit of peace; they should remove these soldiers and police on the roads and nothing will happen to us in the name of Allah.
Sheik Gumi reportedly suggested that it was the presence of soldiers and police on streets that draws attacks by Boko Haram, leading to civilian casualty. “Take them [soldiers and police] to the barracks or rooms and we will get peace,” the cleric reportedly said.
Our source disclosed that Mr. Gumi accused some powerful elements of using the threat of Boko Haram as a ruse to mistreat Muslims. “They are following our innocent people and killing them in the name of Boko Haram. If the Boko Haram [militants] are Muslims, they should leave us with them, and enter their barracks. Muslim cities like Sokoto, Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and all others should be vacated,” the sheik reportedly said.