A former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, says it appears like controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi is an agent for bandits killing and kidnapping in the northern part of Nigeria.
Ejiofor said this in an exclusive interview with The PUNCH on Wednesday, while reacting to the spate of banditry and kidnappings in the country and Gumi’s involvement in negotiating with criminals.
Sharing his view on the people’s call that the DSS should arrest Gumi who seems to know in and out of the bandits terrorising the nation, Ejiofor said the case is precarious which might cause an uproar.
Calling on the government to pay ransom to bandits who had kidnapped students in Kaduna state, the cleric had said, "The money they are asking for is too much; if I give you that money, you cannot run away with it. Nobody can run. So, why not give them the money, they release the boys and then we pursue them and get our money back and do what is necessary; it is simple logic. So, bring the money from the central bank. How can they move that money? We should not be stupid.”
But regarding the calls for Gumi's arrest, Ejiofor said, “If you go and arrest him, you are going to provoke his supporters or the people he is working for and if you don’t arrest him, people will say why has he not been arrested as other people who acted, in the same manner, have been arrested? So, it becomes a very dicey situation that needs to be handled with care.”
The ex-DSS director also said it was wrong for the controversial cleric to come out publicly asking the CBN to pay N100m ransom requested by the kidnappers of the students of Greenfield University, Kaduna.
"I have never supported Gumi’s position because it is like he is now becoming an agent of the bandits but on the other hand, he cannot just come openly to tell the government to pay (ransom). Even if the government will use the backdoor to pay the ransom, it shouldn’t be made public," he said.
He also said that Nigerian security agencies need technology-driven operations to tackle security crises confronting the nation.
Ejiofor gave a hint that the United States special forces rescued an American hostage, Philip Walton from his abductors in the Niger Republic on October 31, 2020, through the aid of technology.
“We have serious security challenges facing the security agencies. Our security agencies are ill-equipped to fight this. You will remember the American who was kidnapped in Niger and brought to Nigeria, how he was rescued through the use of technology.
“There is nothing wrong with our government to use technology like drones to know exactly where these people are. Government should approach the issue of insecurity, especially kidnappings with technological driven operations,” the former ex-DSS director said.
No fewer than 23 students and a member of staff of the university were abducted from the school on April 20, 2021. A few days later, five of the students were killed by the bandits.
On Monday, one of the bandits, Sani Jalingo, in an interview with the Hausa Service of the Voice of America, demanded N100m and 10 motorcycles for the students to be freed.
He threatened that the failure of the Kaduna State Government or families of the students to meet the demands, would lead to the killing of the abductees.