The Islamic cleric had said that Nigeria would disintegrate if the Nigerian government tag bandits as terrorists.
Controversial Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has been lambasted for supporting bandits.
The Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Lukman knocked Gumi over his comment that Nigeria would disintegrate if the Nigerian government tag bandits as terrorists.
In a post on his Facebook page on Monday, Gumi said the moment bandits are declared terrorists, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will set in force, and many unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive.
Gumi made these assertions weeks after Governor Nasir El-Rufai and the National Assembly had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits as terrorists.
But in a statement on Thursday, Lukman backed the calls for bandits to be tagged as terrorists, adding that both groups have the same characteristics and mode of operation.
Lukman described Gumi as a bandits apologist and self-appointed spokesman of the criminals who has continued to inflict pain on residents of the North West region of the country.
He also stated that the controversial cleric has become more confident and irresponsibly mobilising opposition against declaring bandits terrorists.
He said: “Interestingly, apologists and self-appointed counsels to the bandits, such as Sheikh Ahmed Gumi are becoming more confident, and are irresponsibly mobilising opposition against declaring bandits terrorists.”
“All the studies about insecurity have confirmed that the bandits operating in the North-west and North-central have all the characteristics of terrorist groups.
“For instance, a study by Dr. Murtala Ahmed Rufa’i, presented at the 15th Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto Seminar Series, on Thursday, September 9, 2021, titled, ‘I am a Bandit – A Decade of Research in Zamfara State Bandit’s Den’, reported that bandits are armed groups with ‘contacts across the Sahel, particularly Libya and Mali’, having ‘huge capital’, ‘in possession of more than 500 AK 47 guns’, and ‘own sophisticated weapons like RPG and Anti-Aircraft.’ The report indicated that ‘there are over 60,000 weapons in circulation in the north-west alone.”
Lukman advised the APC to always give information that will galvanise Nigerians to support the federal government’s fight against insurgency.
He added: “How APC can facilitate the reform of information management structures in the country to successfully mobilise Nigerians to support government initiatives will largely determine the electoral viability of the party.
“Once APC continues to allow speculative and false national debates such as the issue of unfounded agreement between Nigeria and US government on the use of the A-29 newly acquired Super Tucano jets, it is indicative of a weak communication management framework, which may only worsen the challenges facing the country.”