Northern Islamic scholar, Dr Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, has said that since Nnamdi Kanu leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was released by the Federal Government has anything changed?.
Gumi speaking on the court pronouncement on the Shiite Movement and its leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky in an interview with the Sun newspapers said :’Has Sheikh been released physically or by the court? Have they obeyed the court order? Okay, until we see him out before we can say anything. But this is a better alternative than him being held for this long period.
‘They should have since released him so they don’t take the burden of treatment, just like Kanu of IPOB. Since Kanu was released has it changed anything? It would have been the same thing if El-Zakzaky had been released.
‘He would have done nothing. Even now there is nothing he can do. But it is better to release him so that the tension, the reasons for agitation would be reduced. Talking about the intervention of the Iranian authorities, we should know that the Shiite Muslims are closely knitted. They help each other and they have a government, which is in Iran.
The government has oil money and they assist each other. They don’t shy away like the Suni world. The Suni world is loose because they don’t feel the threat. The Shiites from inception is based on oppression. They teach the doctrine of being oppressed. That is why they are always closely knitted. So, we should know that since Shiite is imported…it has not been in Nigeria since the last 50 years, not even a stretch of it until it was brought in by El-Zakzaky himself.
‘So, we should understand how to deal with them. Just make them recognize your authority and do not allow them to be armed. Therefore, anything that can push them to take up arms, you have to stop that. Do not give them reasons to agitate. Let them be civilized like other religions, but do not use force to suppress their ideology. You can advise them and show them red lines, but you should not crush them. Crushing them is like putting petrol on fire. Their ideology is just like that of Al-Quaeda. They thrive in the spirit of being suppressed.
‘They like fighting authorities. We should not give them that chance. If you give them that chance they will thrive. If you incarcerate their leader and put him out of their reach for long their faith will increase. When you allow them without suppression they don’t thrive. As for government’s proscription of their movement, what government should have done is to encourage them to register because their registration means recognition of authority. Like the Izalla; it is not a sect, it is an organization, but with an opposite ideology with the Shiite.
‘The Izalla organization is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission. So, they work within the confines of the law. So, you do not expect radicalism. Allow the Shiite to register. Encourage them to register. I have spoken with them and told them you have grown up, I cannot convince you otherwise, but be civilized in your approach to practicing your ideology. I do not agree with their ideology, but you are Nigerians whether we like it or not. You are citizens; so we should accept you as you are.’
Nigeria will disintegrate and that the North will suffer most
Gumi also said ‘I see chaos and probably Nigeria can even disintegrate. And disintegration will be bad for Nigeria,”.
“Let me tell you about the North if there is disintegration. The worst thing any country will like is to have an unstable country as a neighbour.
“So, Southwest will be relatively stable; Southeast will be stable, but the North will be volatile. How can we contain Boko Haram in the Northeast? No way.
“How can we contain the problem of the herdsmen in the North? We cannot contain them.
“In fact, the little weight the Southwest and Southeast are adding to fight them is what is suppressing them, but if you go and leave us with them we will just eat ourselves and you have a very volatile North and I do not think we will have peace there because the borders are not barbed-wires and there are so many inter-marriages.
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“In fact, Nigeria will just be like another Lebanon or Yemen. Nobody can control the North because nobody has monopoly of power in the North.
“The herdsmen, if they have any iota of political acumen, even if they are evil since your man is in power what do you do? You lie low to allow him to have the power.
“You don’t become so virulent that you end up destroying the northern power by attacking people everywhere not caring who is there. Let me tell you this.
“Nobody is in control of the North now. No northern politician has that clout to embrace everybody in the North.
“Everybody in the North is with his clique and that is a very dangerous situation for the country. The Southwest is divided into two equal house and nobody is in control there too, but generally, the people there are not violent.
“They can negotiate and stay in peace. The people of the Southeast seem to understand each other because their own is business. I see it to be more stable even though the Kanu IPOB people are there because generally the population there can understand and negotiate.
“They can only have population problem if people ask them to go back to their region. But the North? So, you can just imagine.”