NIGERIANS have reacted to pro-bandits’ statements credited to a controversial Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi in which he asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to pay N100 million ransom for the kidnapped Greenfield University students.
In an interview with the Punch Newspaper, the Islamic cleric said the CBN should pay the 100 million ransom being demanded by the kidnappers of the students and advised the government not to take the threat by kidnappers of the students lightly.
Nigerians on Twitter have reacted by expressing their displeasure to this latest statement by Gumi.
Investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo, in his reaction on Twitter, described Gumi as a ‘kidnap apologist.’
No matter how he disguises it, this Gumi is a kidnap apologist. Otherwise, what's "Bandits don't live a luxury life; they live in huts; they have nothing; they drink from the stream"?
The innocent people being kidnapped, do they all live in mansions? Do they have everything?
— 'Fisayo Soyombo (@fisayosoyombo) May 4, 2021
Wale Adetona (@iSlimfit) accused the State Security Service (SSS) of arresting innocent citizens for citicising the government but allowing Gumi to walk freely and even granting interviews on national television.
We need to stop acting calm like everything is okay in this country. The DSS is out steady arresting innocent citizens for protesting and criticizing this government but Gumi, spokesman of Bandits is walking freely and even granting interviews on National TV. I don taya.
— Adewale Adetona (@iSlimfit) May 5, 2021
Another twitter user @DrOlufunmilayo said Gumi knew where bandits lived and operated. He asked if Nigeria now had a ‘Minister for Banditry Negotiations and Ransom Payments.’
Sheikh Gumi has advised CBN to pay 100million to the Greenfield terrorists “before it’s too late”.
He knows where bandits live.
He knows how they operate.
Does Nigeria now have a Minister for Banditry Negotiations and Ransom Payments? Or in what capacity is Gumi advising CBN?
— #OurFavOnlineDoc 🩺🇳🇬🇬🇧💎 (@DrOlufunmilayo) May 5, 2021
@FestusGreen said Gumi was arrested by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government for exchanging messages with the underwear bomber and terrorist, Farouk Abdulmutallab, before he boarded the flight he attempted to bomb.
Sheikh Gumi was arrested by the UAE for exchanging messages with the Nigerian underwear bomber and terrorist, Farouk Abdumutallab, shortly before he boarded the flight which he attempted to bomb. He was later released after the Nigerian govt intervened.
— Mazi @FestusGreen (@FestusGreen) May 5, 2021
Another twitter user Morris Monye asked if the country’s security agencies were serious with the discharge of their duties.
If our security agencies are serious people, if they have the fear of Jesus or Allah or whatever they believe in, an invitation and sit-down with Sheik Gumi will reveal the identity of these bandits and we end this nonsense mess.
But are they serious enough? I can't sleep.
— Mo-Mo💙 (@Morris_Monye) May 5, 2021
In March, The ICIR had reported how Gumi defended bandits who had been terrorising some parts of the northern region of the country. He said the bandits carried gun for self-defence.
Gumi said the dreaded criminal elements would not give up their guns if they were not assured of their safety and rehabilitation.
The cleric, who has been an advocate of dialogue and amnesty for the criminals, noted that another reason they took to arms was because there was no one to listen to and entertain their grievances.
“Nobody can justify criminality. What we are saying is, what we saw in the forest is an ethnic war going on between people in the forest and the neighboring villages and hamlets. When the herder felt he has grievances and nobody was listening to him, he took on weapons.
“So when we went there and they saw a listening ear, they were ready to negotiate, tell us their grievances, and ready to incorporate into the society. So in such a case, I see no reason why we should not have a dialogue with them.”
In another report, Gumi likened bandits to civil war instigators that were pardoned.
“If the country could pardon coup plotters who committed treasonable offences in the era of military administration, the bandits can as well enjoy similar forgiveness even better under democratic rule.
“These people in the bush, who have taken arms, they are criminals. I wonder who is not a criminal. Since Nigeria forgave coup plotters, forgave those that killed, even those that instigated civil war, civil war that millions of people died from, I see no reason why we cannot accept their repentance,” Gumi further said.