ISLAMIC cleric Ahmad Gumi has accused the Nigerian government of taking sides in what he described as an inter-tribal war going on in the country.
Gumi said this in an interview on Arise TV on Wednesday.
He urged the government to adopt a neutral stance in ongoing conflicts between various ethnic nationalities across the country.
“This is a tribal war going on and with the government taking one side. If you can cross to the other side, listen to their grievances and understand their agitations, government can easily in a very short time cure this problem we are having,” he said.
While admitting that bandits were indulging in atrocious acts, the cleric noted that efforts were not being made to investigate atrocities being committed against them.
He urged well-meaning Nigerians to stay neutral in the inter-tribal war and to avoid the temptation of turning to tribalism or religion to express grievances due to what he described as the fracture in the governmental structure.
While the cleric accused the government of taking sides against the Fulanis, Nigerians feel that the president favours Northerners over other ethnic groups, especially in cases of political appointments.
However, a regional analysis of appointments into leadership positions in Nigeria’s security agencies had shown that 12 out of 16 heads of security outfits hail from the Northern part of the country.
Speaking further on Nigeria’s security situation, Gumi said that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was a more dangerous group than the bandits that had been terrorising the Northern part of the country.
Noting that fairness should be applied in comparisons between the two groups, Gumi urged Nigerians to desist from describing all Fulani herdsmen as criminals.
“IPOB is attacking the police, the army, INEC, government institutions, killing our men in service. And the herdsmen are kidnapping children; not to kill them but to get money.
“So how can you compare somebody who is killing our gallant men in the armed forces, directly attacking them, to somebody who is kidnapping children to make money, not to kill them? We need some fairness in what we are doing,” he said.
The cleric further claimed that the perpetrators of the recent kidnap of school children in parts of the country were children as well, who he said had been abandoned by the government to fend for themselves.
“When you look at the kidnappers too, they are children like them. Where is their own school? They are all children of the same age. Let’s go into the bush, get these boys out of this criminality, embrace them as Nigerians, show them the bad ways they are doing,” he said.