Sheik Ahmed Gumi
By Dirisu Yakubu
Foremost rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has called on the Nigerian Army to protect its image from being drag in the mud given recent comments by popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi on the fight against insurgency.
HURIWA in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Emmanuel Onwubiko said the failure of the Army to act decisively to protect the integrity of both the military institution and the war on terror “from the persistent treasonable actions and spoken words of Sheikh Gumi shows that in Nigeria, the law is a respecter of certain persons because of their ethnicity.”
This is as the rights group insisted that taking practical and law-based action against Sheikh Gumi “is the only way the Nigerian Army can demonstrate what it has always been known for as a professional institution whose leadership has always been recognized as constitutional purists.”
He described the remarks by Gumi wherein he casted aspersions on Christian soldiers in the country as “incitement to violence.”
It further noted that the comments “has caused immeasurable harm to the Nigerian Army and the morale of her members especially given that by all standards, the Nigerian military is the most unifying institution where tongues, tribes or religion are relegated to the background,” with emphasis on absolute loyalty to the Nigerian constitution.
“The Nigerian Army is a thoroughly disciplined force and as a creation of the law, the citizens do not expect the hierarchy to stand by and issue only verbal warning to someone who encouraged terrorists to go after some military officers only because they are Christians who he accused wrongly as those who have been deployed to kill the terrorists.
“Sheikh Gumi committed treason and the penalty for treason is not to be issued verbal warning. Why were the members of Eastern Security Network who did no wrong but volunteered to protect their ancestral lands from terrorists bombarded but Sheikh Gumi who openly called for violence against Christian members of the Army is only just being given warning?” it asked.
HURIWA recalled that the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army had warned popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi and other “opinion merchants” in the country to exercise restraint with their utterances and not drag the Army to disrepute.