-Says Govt’s Failure Should Not Be Used As A Tool Of Blackmailing The Media
By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo
A renowned scholar in Islamic jurisprudence, Sheikh Dr Ahmad Gumi who has visited virtually all the enclaves of bandits in the North West, met top bandits commanders in search of peace and lasting security has condemned the position of the federal government regarding media reporting and coverage of the lingering insecurity in the country.
Sheikh Gumi specifically reacted to the position of the government regarding an investigative documentary by the BBC Africa Eye that exposes so much about the politics of insecurity, genesis of the crisis and how bandits and terrorists virtually took control of several communities across the North West during his weekly lectures on Thursday night.
He commended local and international media organisations like the BBC, Daily Trust, DESERT HERALD etc for coming out bold to report about the magnitude of the insecurity, government’s wrong approach in tackling the crisis and how it has become a lucrative business for the criminals and few in position of power and authority. Gumi said “FG’s attempt in trying to find a scapegoat to justify its glaring failure after wasting over $16 billion in the last 7 years without any commensurate result on security and efforts to blackmail certain media organisations for their patriotism in reporting the crisis is unfortunate and should be resisted by all responsible media organisations”. He also condemned threats to sanction the BBC and Daily Trust.
He said the BBC Africa Eye documentary reflects the actual happenings in Zamfara state and that it was done professionally with the highest ethical standards that seeks solution against consistent attacks on vulnerable communities and wondered why government will not use such independent discovery to squarely address the crisis. Gumi said the opinion of some media executives regarding the BBC report and the claim that the BBC and others like Daily Trust giving undue publicity to the bandits and their activities or promoting terrorism is unfortunate, myopic and mischievous.
He lamented that FG’s attempt is to blackmail media houses so as to cover its failure and to divert public scrutiny into high level corruption in military spending and budgetary allocations.
Gumi urged the media not to be intimidated or to succumb to official blackmail and to always make government to be accountable especially in view of failure to protect lives and properties despite the billions at their disposal.
He said “what is happening in Nigeria today especially in the North West as clearly captured by the BBC is more of an ethic war and reprisal killings and attacks due to government’s failure to address well documented instances of injustices that was initially done to the Fulanis.”
“What do you expect from a society (Fulani) that were left in total ignorance and lack of education especially when their primary means of livelihood (cattles) has been completely rustled by other criminal elements within and outside our security agencies without any effort by government to address the injustice. As I talk to you now cattle rustling has not stopped.”
“Many law abiding Fulanis have fallen victims of official extortion of their cows. I have well documented evidences involving some security agents that I personally intervened. How do you expect as a government to address insecurity especially related to Fulani bandits without addressing such instances of extortion and rustling?”.
Gumi said the frightening development now is that the Boko Haram terrorists have infiltrated the Fulani bandits and that the bandits are gradually being indoctrinated to their (Boko Haram) religious belief and mission.
He advised government that instead of trying to find a scapegoat in the media or to used instruments of authority to silence or blackmail the media, “President Buhari should make his security Chiefs to be fully accountable and responsible for any failure and to account for the billions of naira at their disposal.
“When a Commander-in-Chief rewards failure with Ambassadorial appointments in a system and a society that records increased attacks, when security agencies cannot even protect Abuja and especially when the Guards Brigade cannot even protect themselves not to talk of the President then why blaming the media for such failure and ineptitude for reporting it?”, Gumi laments.