**Urges Buhari to invite IPOB, Herdsmen for negotiation over agitations
Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmed Abubakar Gumi has raised the alarm of a looming danger that may further worsen the security situation in the country saying that rampaging herdsmen in the forests across the country who are engaged in banditry, kidnapping and other deadly atrocities are being radicalized religiously to become full-blown terrorists.
Speaking on Arise News ‘Morning Show on Wednesday, Gumi said that unless appropriate measures were taken on time, the situation will get out of hand.
Insisting on his call for amnesty for armed herdsmen, the Islamic Cleric warned that allowing them to be radicalized religiously in terrorist fashion signalled a bad omen for the country.
Furthermore, he flayed the hard stance reaction of the Federal Government to growing separatist agitations across the country including the clamour for the Biafra Republic by the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB saying the government should stop pretending as if it is not aware there are agitations.
He said, “Now, the herdsmen are slowly becoming radicalized in a terrorist form/fashion. I mean religiously, and this is a bad omen for us.
“Because when they begin to come out reading religious texts to justify what they are doing, then, it becomes difficult to convince them to come out and negotiate. And I am saying this now, let’s go and get them before the evil forces capture them”.
On the increasing wave of banditry, Gumi claimed that what is happening is a tribal war in which the Federal Government had taken sides.
“This is a tribal war going on and the government taking one side. What I see now is a tribal war. Fulani fighting Yoruba in the South West, Fulani fighting Igbo in the South East and Fulani fighting in other areas in the North.
“What you are calling banditry when you cross to the other side, you discover Nigeria is fighting a tribal war and government is supposed to be the mediator. The government is supposed to be neutral; it’s not supposed to take sides.
“But the moment government takes side it becomes part of the conflict. And this is what I saw in Zamfara state, in Niger state and other states.
“When you say these bandits are committing atrocities, yes, agreed, they are committing crimes – they are killing people, they are kidnapping, they are raping, they are doing all sorts of atrocities. But, have you for once gone to their sides and see all sorts of atrocities that are also committed against them?
“So that rather than wielding the big stick and relying on military action, the Federal Government will do well in restoring normalcy by engaging the bandits in negotiation and using willing volunteers among them to win the battle.
For instance, he said, “Boko Haram leader, Shekau had been causing havoc in the country for more than 10 years and the military could not kill him but ISWAP, a splinter group from Boko haram was able to eliminate him. So is the case with the herdsmen. We can use them to suppress the criminals among them.
“As we all know, at a point, the Boko Haram were ready for dialogue and at a point, they even recommended the current president (Buhari) to negotiate for them. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo even tried to broker peace with Boko Haram”.
On IPOB agitation, Gumi said, “Government doesn’t want to recognize that there are agitations. Even with the IPOB. If I were the government, I will go and sit down with them and ask what the problem is.
“Why are you carrying weapons against your own country? So is the case with the herdsmen. They are ready to negotiate”.
Recall that Nigeria’s security forces are currently battling to set the nation free from the grip of Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province, ISWAP in the North Eastern geopolitical zone, with the conference of Speakers from the zone disclosing recently that some communities in Borno state were still suffering constant attacks from Boko Haram terrorists.