Lai Mohammed: Nothing Wrong With Gumi Meeting Bandits In Forests
Nigeria’s information minister, Lai Mohammed, has said there’s nothing wrong if anyone holds meetings with bandits terrorising the country so long as achieving peace was the objective of such meetings.
Mohammed, who spoke during a radio programme on Sunday in Lagos, was reacting to the mixed reactions trailing recent meetings held with leaders of bandits in Zamfara and Niger States by popular Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi.
Gumi had made headlines after he met with the supposed bandits that kidnapped no fewer than 52 people, including 27 students, during separate attacks on Government Secondary College Kagara and some communities in Shiroro Local Government Area, both in Niger State.
Former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, had on Sunday criticised the free will at which Gumi was meeting with leaders of bandits while the government looked away.
“Imagine that someone like Bishop Mike Okonkwo enters SE forests and interacts with ESN and IPOB at will, will he still be a free man? Yet, Sheikh Gumi enters our forests to meet bandits and killer herdsmen at will. Insecurity is not our main issue. Hypocrisy is!” Omokri said in a tweet.
But speaking during the radio programme, Mohammed said the government would not oppose anyone meeting with bandits so long it would promote peace in the country.
“After war, people still sit to dialogue. So, if some people have taken it upon themselves to visit these people so that they can embrace peace, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” said the minister.
Omokri had also faulted Gumi for allegedly failing to visit, “victims of bandits or call for justice for those murdered by them.”
He claimed that the Islamic cleric, “went to Niger without paying condolence visit on the Kagara school. But he met terrorists and advocated for them. ‘Do not be an advocate for the deceitful’-Quran 4:105”
Omokri added that, “Even if you are a member of Living Faith, and you commit crime, Bishop Oyedepo will hand you over to be prosecuted. It is the right thing to do. How can a man of God meet with killers and campaign for their interests, rather than their victims, like Gumi is doing?”