Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, yesterday flayed popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, over his approach to the banditry situation in the country.
He also said the security situation in the country has improved, compared to 2015, adding that kidnappers from the Sahel region were attracted to Nigeria because of the resources available in the country. Masari, who stated this on a Channels Television programme, Politics Today, said: ”Gumi is wrong in his approach with bandits. it is wrong to legitimise criminality Gumi is ignorant of the operations of bandits who kill, rape, steal and kidnap innocent people. Rather than make case for them, Gumi should preach against these vices to them.”
Gumi had repeatedly canvassed amnesty for bandits who he described as aggrieved against the society.
On the security situation in the country, the governor said: “Let’s take 2015, you cannot go to the church, you cannot go to the mosque. If I travel from Kaduna to Abuja, it will take five hours, three of those hours are for checkpoints. I will meet nothing less than 30 checkpoints.
“Is the situation the same today? It is not…Yes, there are kidnappers, there are bandits around but look at the whole world and look at the position of Nigeria in the Sahelian region. Are we not the richest?
‘’So, the attraction even for kidnappers to come to Nigeria is there. If you kidnap somebody in Mali, where are you going to get thousands? If I kidnap you in Nigeria, I get millions. So, all of us will have to rise to the occasion.”
Masari, who lambasted the critics of President Muhammadu Buhari;s government, said detractors don’t see anything good in the APC regime, despite the “progress” made in the area of security.
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The Katsina governor also said he was in support of the decentralisation of policing in the country but noted that the buck stops on the desk of the National Assembly.
Masari said he does not support the approach of popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who had been seen hobnobbing with bandits in the forests of Zamfara and Niger States and who has asked for blanket amnesty for bandits, saying they are fighting “an ethnic war”.
Speaking further, the governor said: “When we started in 2015 in the North-West, it was cattle-rustling. Gradually, it now developed into banditry, rape, kidnappings. When all that they (bandits) can steal from the villagers along the fringes finished, they moved to the rustling of goats, sheep, and even chicken.
“What we should do and what government should do now is (about) high-profile kidnapping. In my state, they kidnapped four relatives of very senior government officials. ’When they cannot get anything to sustain themselves, they resort to high-profile kidnappings for money in cities and town. That is the danger, that is something we must work hard to stop.”