Kaduna-based cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has sent a word of caution to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government against declaring bandits terrorists.
According to Gumi, If the Federal Government proclaims bandits to be terrorists, Nigeria will cease to exist as an autonomous and cohesive state.
He did admit, although, that the havoc wreaked by bandits in the Northwest was terrorism.
Despite the damage, Gumi emphasized that criminalizing bandits as terrorists would have serious implications that would devour the entire country.
In his words: “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.
“Many teaming 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.
“NE is already and is still devastated by this madness for over 12 years. If we allow, terror, to set in into these raw naïve unexposed bandits, NW will be in ruins sooner than later.
“Turn bandits into religious zealots. Tell me, what then remains of Nigeria?”