A coalition of some Northern elders on Wednesday disassociated themselves from comments made by an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi who has been holding peace talks with bandits across Kaduna, Zamfara and Niger State.
The northern elders dissociated themselves from allegations the Islamic cleric made after one of his meetings where he said non-Muslim soldiers had carried out orchestrated killings in some communities, precipitating anger.
“What I want you people to understand is, soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and none Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite a crisis,” Sheikh Gumi told a delegation led by the Secretary to the Niger State Government on a negotiation mission for the release of the kidnapped Kagara students.
The Norther Elders under the aegis of North East Elders for Peace and Development (NEEPD) disassociated themselves from the comments noting that the allegation does not represent the position of the region. They said the public should see such comment as the cleric’s personal opinion.
NEEPD in a statement by the coordinator, Zana Goni, resisted attempts by individuals or groups to profile the military.
They said it was necessary for groups in the north to condemn such dangerous statement made by the Islamic cleric so it does not look like he speaks for the region.
“As Northern elders committed to a united and indivisible nation, we hasten to condemn in very strong terms the allegations made against the Nigerian military by one of our leading Islamic scholars, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi
“We rise in one voice to dissociate ourselves from the dangerous and divisive allegations leveled against our patriotic soldiers by Sheikh Gumi, in one of his missions to meet with bandits in a forest around Niger State, the group said.
“Our concern is further hinged on the possibility of the world concluding that the North may be offering tacit endorsement to banditry and associated crimes against society.
“To douse this tension, therefore, we call on relevant authorities, including prominent individuals and groups from the North,to condemn Gumi’s position in a manner that will absolve the region of conspiracy and vicarious liability, in the long run.