Monday, October 25, 2021



Sheikh Gumi and his ministry of bandits

Sheikh Gumi and his ministry of bandits
September 16
12:56 2021

Call it ministry of bandits, ministry for bandits or ministry of banditry affairs, it doesn’t make that much difference to me. Impunity appears to be the order of the day and it’s no longer news that Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has been working really hard to advance the Fulani herdsmen’s cause (whatever that means). But Gumi’s advocacy means he’s been fighting tooth and nail for kidnappers and bandits, terrorists they all are. Still, in spite of Gumi’s status as ambassador to bandits, his increasingly bold ‘say-it-and-be-damned’ attitude raises eyebrows and calls for answers. I have questions and I’m sure many other Nigerians would like to have certain questions answered.


We have to ask: Who does Gumi speak for? Has the dreaded DSS (The Department of State Services (DSS) heard any of Gumi’s ‘sermons’? Apparently, the DSS has had cause to interview Gumi in the past but was this just to fulfil all righteousness or there was an actual plan to stop him from causing more national division? Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be calling on the DSS but the agency has been so reduced (or managed to reduce itself) that the DSS may soon start getting called in to resolve husband and wife quarrels. I guess the foregoing questions all lead us to ask: Is Gumi above the law, free to roam and go wherever he wants, mix with bandits and terrorists, say whatever he wants to say not caring whose ox is gored in the process? In other words, is Gumi a sacred cow (no pun intended)? Now, whether the answer to these last questions is yes or no, it’s obvious that Nigeria has a Sheikh Gumi problem. Yes, Nigeria may have 99 problems and Gumi may as well make it 100… But what are we going to do about it?

Forgive me if my introduction has left you scratching your head as to exactly what I’m on about. Sometime last week, news headlines had it that Sheikh Gumi was asking for the establishment of a ministry for herdsmen or a ministry for nomadic affairs. I’m not sure if he made a distinction between Fulani herdsmen, other Nigerian herdsmen and/or the so-called foreign herdsmen who’re the ready scapegoats blamed for the killings. Remember when Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the information minister blamed herdsmen from Mauritius or was it Malaysia for the killings across farms in the nation. Anyway, since it’s Gumi we are talking about, let’s go with Fulani herdsmen.

I wasn’t immediately shocked by Gumi’s latest campaign. He has since become the mouthpiece for the terrorists termed bandits. In that role, Gumi has sought to make the rest of us see these kidnappers, murderers and terrorists as victims, that we are somehow the cause of their foray into criminality. So, I didn’t miss a beat seeing the headlines about Gumi’s latest wisdom. In fact, I go out of my way to avoid reacting to Gumi. Until I saw a clip of him on Maiyegun Politico (on Youtube), watched him with my own eyes and heard him with my own ears, rationalizing his call for a special ministry to cater to bandits. He was on a programme on Arise TV. I would’ve loved to give you a transcription of what he said but a summary will suffice. Although Gumi asked people not to generalize all Fulani herdsmen as bandits, he didn’t really make any distinctions himself.


To paraphrase Gumi: Herdsmen need protection. Compared to IPOB which kills security agents and burns INEC offices, bandits are harmless and not as dangerous. That bandits only kidnap school children for money, and they don’t harm the children. Can someone ask Gumi where Leah Sharibu is? Gumi then asked for people to be fair because it was wrong to compare IPOB to bandits. It was at this stage of his ‘sermon’ that he asked for provision to be made to rehabilitate the herdsmen. At this rate, the best thing for everyone would be to create a separate country for Fulani herdsmen. Anyway, if you live long enough especially in Nigeria there’s nothing one wouldn’t hear or see. Especially in these times which can be called Talibanic Times. Or as Isuikwuato people say: ‘Odu ihe madu odu a hu.’ In Pidgin English-‘nothing wey person no go see,’ or the politically-incorrect “nothing Musa no go see for gate.”

To be fair to Gumi, he has been pretty consistent. A cursory desktop search into him brings up headlines like these: “Sheikh Gumi Makes Case for Fulani Herdsmen,” Sheikh Gumi Wants Federal Govt. To Dialogue With Bandits,” Sheikh Asks FG To Give Bandits Blanket Amnesty,” “Bandits Were Pushed Into Crime,” “Bandits will remain until Buhari grants them amnesty like…,” “Allow bandits to guard our forests for peace to reign…,” “Don’t Use Military Force On Bandits —Sheikh Gumi.”

By the way, Gumi is not your average illiterate religious leader. As he boasted of himself: “I am a qualified Medical Doctor…I was a commissioned military officer… I am an intellectual with a Ph.D. from Abroad. I am an Islamic scholar…” Can we also call him the Grand Commander Of Bandits?


By sheer coincidence, Retired Commodore Kunle Olawunmi’s ‘Sunrise’ interview on Channels TV was what played immediately after Maiyegun Politico. I hadn’t watched it but only saw the brouhaha that ensued-how the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC invited two of the show’s hosts Chamberlain Usoh and colleague, even Commodore Olawunmi himself was called in for some sort of interview.

I found the import of Commodore Olawunmi’s interview chilling. The fact that he wasn’t trying to be sensational but just spoke quite matter of factly: “You remember this Boko Haram issues started since 2012 and I was in the military intelligence then. We arrested those people. It was my organization that actually conducted interrogation and interview. And they mentioned names. I can’t come on air and start mentioning names of people that are presently in this government that I know…The boys that were arrested mentioned some names. Some of them are governors, some of them are in the Senate. Some of them are in Aso Rock…the defence headquarters cannot conduct any operation that is not sanctioned by the President, no matter how little it is…They have the information.”

Still, “the Defense Headquarters has the solution. I am not going to come here to advise them. It has to do with politics. The sponsors, people that feel that this country should be Islamised…The end game for them is to turn the country like a Taliban type of country. It’s a mindset and anything goes. In other words, 10 percent, 20 percent casualties is allowed in trying to Islamise this country.”

Does this begin to explain Gumi’s actions and his seeming untouchability? How does he fit in? As I said Comm. Olawunmi’s interview was chilling. If the federal government wants to dispel any of his allegations, now would be a good time to call Sheikh ‘PhD from abroad’ Gumi to order.



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