Kaduna-based Islamic scholar and cleric, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi, has warned that declaring armed bandits as terrorists will come at a price.
Recall that some governors in the North-West, Confrence of Speakers of the 36 State Houses of Assembly and other well-meaning Nigerians, had recently called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare the bandits as terrorists in order for the armed forces to decisively deal with them.
But Sheikh Gumi, who many perceived as an advocate of the bandits, in a post on his verified Facebook page on Sunday, titled, ‘Declaring Bandits As Terrorists Will Come With A Prize,’ said the moment bandits are declared terrorists, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will move in.
He added that this may be found palatable and attractive by many teeming unemployed youths.
Gumi wrote: “Nobody doubts that sentimentalism today overrides sensibility in our polity. For the sake of posterity, some people will have to speak out.
“The acts the bandits are committing now in NW have gradually over time become tantamount to terrorism because wherever innocent people are fatal victims it’s pure terrorism. Yet, innocence these days is relative. We agreed if their children and women are also killed, they are guilty by association or collateral damage, so also the bandits may think the same way.
“It’s right for vigilantes to lynch Fulanis herdsmen or anyone that looks like them by profiling but wrong for the herdsmen to ransack villages in retribution. They are pushed to believe it is an existential war and in war, ethics are thrown to the winds.
“Yet again, the only helpful part that is against bandits is that no other than them are attracted to join them in the NW because of its ethnic tinge and coloration. However, the moment they are termed Terrorist – Islamic for that matter, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will set in in force.
“And many teeming unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive. Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ plus AK47 against a ‘secular’ immoral society where impunity reigns are the magnet for extremists and downtrodden – the majority of our youth.
“Already these deadly terrorist groups are fighting for the soul of these bandits. This will give criminality a spiritual cover and remove the stigma of discrediting them with such crimes since now they are fighting a ‘Jihad’ as they will claim. In such a situation, does the larger society -as it is- has the moral high ground to fight back? This is the most probable consequence, the price of which is not worth it. Nothing stops the kinetic actions from going on without the controversy of semantics.”