Nothing wrong in using Gumi to broker peace talks with bandits – Lai Mohammed
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said there is nothing condemnable about using non-state actor like the Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi, to reach out to bandits in their strongholds for peaceful negotiations that put an end to their dastardly activities.
The minister said this on Friday while featuring on Television Continental’s show, This Morning with Yori Folarin.
Alhaji Mohammed said the government was using some back channels to address the security challenges in the country, adding that the bandits might be ready to listen to the cleric than they would to the government.
“Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances, and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling,” Sheikh Gumi had told the bandits during his visits to different strongholds of the bandits in Zamfara.
The Islamic scholar noted that most of the bandits are willing to surrender their weapons and embrace peace if only the government would listen to them and hear their grievances.
Lai Mohammed said there is nothing bad in using Gumi as an intermediary between the bandits and the government.
When asked on Friday whether the visits by the cleric was under some special covers, Mohammed said, “When you want to resolve an issue like this, you use lots of back channels.
“Again, it is not unusual for a respected cleric to have the confidence of (approaching) outlaws or bandits. As a matter of fact, they are probably ready to listen to him more than they are ready to listen to the government. They are probably ready to believe him more.
“So, it is not unusual for him to act as a bridge between government and the outlaws in an attempt to find solution.
“What I am sure is that he must be working for peace.”