The director-general of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman, has taken a swipe at controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, over a comment the latter made recently.
The PGF is the forum of governors elected on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
SaharaReporters had on Monday reported that Gumi stated that if the Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, declared bandits as terrorists, it would mark the end of Nigeria as a sovereign and united entity.
Gumi had claimed that once the bandits are designated as terrorists, the direct foreign Jihadist movements would come into force and give “criminality a spiritual cover and remove the stigma of discrediting them with such crimes since now they are fighting a ‘Jihad’ as they will claim.”
Reacting in a statement on Thursday, Lukman described Gumi’s position as irresponsible stating that bandits had the same characteristics as terrorists.
“Interestingly, apologists and self-appointed counsels to the bandits, such as Sheikh Ahmed Gumi are becoming more confident, and are irresponsibly mobilising opposition against declaring bandits terrorists,” the DG said.
“All the studies about insecurity have confirmed that the bandits operating in the northwest and north-central have all the characteristics of terrorist groups.
“For instance, a study by Dr. Murtala Ahmed Rufa’i, presented at the 15th Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto Seminar Series, on Thursday, September 9, 2021, titled, ‘I am a Bandit – A Decade of Research in Zamfara State Bandit’s Den’, reported that bandits are armed groups with ‘contacts across the Sahel, particularly Libya and Mali’, having ‘huge capital’, ‘in possession of more than 500 AK 47 guns’, and ‘own sophisticated weapons like RPGS and Anti-Aircraft.’ The report indicated that ‘there are over 60,000 weapons in circulation’ in the north-west alone.”
Lukman further said the ruling party must be able to manage information in such a way that it would not worsen the challenges facing the country.
“How APC can facilitate the reform of information management structures in the country to successfully mobilise Nigerians to support government initiatives will largely determine the electoral viability of the party,” Lukman said.
“Once APC continues to allow speculative and false national debates such as the issue of unfounded agreement between Nigeria and US government on the use of the A-29 newly acquired Super Tucano jets, it is indicative of a weak communication management framework, which may only worsen the challenges facing the country.”
He said the current security challenges facing the country was a consequence of the collapse of the country’s educational system.