IN 2010, a controversial and popular Kaduna-based Islamic cleric Ahmad Gumi was arrested and detained for over six months by Saudi Arabian government for allegedly relating with Nigerian underwear bomber and terrorist, Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Abdulmutallab is the youngest of 16 children of Umaru Mutallab, a wealthy Nigerian banker and businessman. He was arrested in the United States after attempting to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253, departing from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day, 2009.
He was convicted of terrorism and sentenced to four life terms plus 50 years without parole on February 16, 2012, after acknowledging in a courtroom statement that he had traveled to Yemen and was greatly inspired to avenge what he described as ‘US tyranny and oppression of Muslims’ in the Middle East.
“I carried with me an explosive device to avenge the killing of innocent Muslims,” AbdulMutallab had said.
Further investigation revealed that the deadly terror group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula had helped to foment the failed attack.
The cleric was arrested in February 2010 in Mecca after the United States shared intelligence with the Saudi authorities that he had been conversing and exchanging e-mails with Abdulmutallab shortly before the incident.
It took the intervention of the Nigerian government before Gumi was released after spending many months under house arrest in Mecca.
Reacting, Gumi, who has fervently and consistently advocated that bandits should be given an amnesty by the Nigerian government, blamed his arrest on a conspiracy from Nigeria and some forces from around the world, noting that he was found innocent by the Saudi Arabia government, Daily Trust reported.
“They found that I don’t have any question to answer,” he said.
“Apart from the Nigerian forces, there were other forces from other parts of the world. However, I have forgiven all those who were behind my arrest. I take solace in the fact that Allah has saved me and the arrest was a destiny from Allah, which I cannot escape.”
In an interview, last Month, Gumi said the continued presence of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet was helping to fight terrorist ideology, jettisoning calls for Pantami’s resignation by Nigerians and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after videos showed him expressing support and admiration for terrorist organisations such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.