Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, said he had a “productive interaction” with security agencies.

The Kaduna State-based Islamic cleric was invited for questioning by security operatives, on Monday, over his comments on the activities of bandits in the country.

There have been several calls by concerned Nigerians lately for security agents to arrest the cleric over his alleged ties with terrorist groups.

Minister of Information and Orientation, Mohammed Idris, who disclosed the cleric’s invitation by security agents, said Gumi was not above the law, adding that he would be reprimanded if security agencies viewed his comments as reckless.

In a social media post, yesterday, the cleric described his meeting with security agents as a “productive interaction on how to curb banditry”.

Gumi said: “Only one person is above the law: the innocent. Last night, I got many frantic calls from well-wishers and journalists about a news item that I was interviewed by security. There is absolutely no cause for alarm,” he wrote.

“Yes, we had a productive interaction on how to curb banditry as we are all trying — each in his own sphere — to tackle the monster bedevilling the nation. There was no animosity, but courtesy and full of respect. We all need, as a nation, to unite and work in synergy to achieve an everlasting peace.”

Related News

Gumi had advocated an amnesty programme for bandits just like the federal government did for the Niger Delta militants. He faulted the Federal Government’s use of force or kinetic means to secure the release of victims of kidnapping.

The controversial Islamic cleric said the government ought to go closer to the bandits and study them to provide them with better living conditions.

He said: “These bandits are getting more vicious. Before they were not doing this. They are heading to softer targets and we can only attribute this to the kinetic approach.

“Now we are fighting bandits. They are anonymous. You cannot fight someone you don’t even know. We said let’s go in, let us know them, let’s map them out – know who they are and where they belong. All this intelligence information is virtually not there. The high-handed approach to the matter is what is making it worse. Now they are kidnapping children and threatening death, which they were not doing before.

“So, I think what to do is really go back to the drawing board and be truly non-kinetic. You need a programme just like the Niger Delta, a programme which will bring them out of their forests, educate them, give them healthcare, and give them a peaceful life. This is how you entice people to abandon violence and militancy.

“But when you continue dropping bombs, they will find no sympathy and empathy for our children. This is it. An eye for an eye. This is what is happening. So, we have to change our tactics, we have to change our styles.”