Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has rebuffed Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s stance on amnesty for bandits and criminal herdsmen, describing the renowned Islamic Scholar’s position as ‘annoying’.
The Cleric had posited that the bandits are fighting for ethnic survival, and should be considered for ‘blanket amnesty’.
But PANDEF in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Ken Robinson, cautioned the public to be wary of Gumi’s utterances which he said seem to give legitimacy to the actions of the bandits.
While condemning the indifference of President Muhammadu Buhari to the concerns of Nigerians, the group noted that the country has never experienced “the kind of nepotism and prejudice being perpetrated under the Buhari administration”.
“It is unfortunate that the nation should be hearing one absurd statement or the other from this man every day. It is high time that the media stopped giving him attention. He is nothing other than an eccentric bigot dressed in a cleric’s toga. It is vexing that he would have the effrontery to say killer herdsmen and the murderous bandits should not be referred to as criminals but militants fighting an ethnic war and fighting for their existence.
“What nonsense? In a hitherto illustrious country reduced to almost a Lilliputian Republic by a Fulani president. Recall that this same Gumi said the Federal Government is aware of the locations of these bandits terrorising citizens and even went on to blatantly demand amnesty for the bandits.
“Oil blocks and marginal fields in the Niger Delta have ever been mostly exploited by northerners. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has become a grazing ground for a few.
“In the face of these irking circumstances, a so-called Sheikh Gumi could imagine asserting that killer herders and bandits are fighting for their ethnic survival. It then becomes necessary to reckon that the rest of Nigeria needs to be on the alert,” the statement added.