A coalition of some Northern elders under the platform of North East Elders for Peace and Development (NEEPD) has disowned the popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi who has been defending and holding peace talks with bandits.
The group in a statement disassociated themselves from comments made by an Islamic cleric, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers had carried out planned killings in some communities, precipitating anger.
“What I want you people to understand is, soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and none Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite a crisis,” Sheikh
Gumi reportedly made this statement while speaking with a a delegation led by the Secretary to the Niger State Government on a mission to.negotiate for the release of the kidnapped Kagara students.
The group said that the allegation does not represent the stand of the northern region, adding that the public should see such comment as Guni’s personal opinion.
NEEPD in a statement by the coordinator, Zana Goni, rejected attempts by any individual or group to profile the military.
The statement called on groups in the north to condemn such ungided statement made by the Islamic cleric so it does not look like he speaks for the region.
“As Northern elders committed to a united and indivisible nation, we hasten to condemn in very strong terms the allegations made against the Nigerian military by one of our leading Islamic scholars, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi
“We rise in one voice to dissociate ourselves from the dangerous and divisive allegations leveled against our patriotic soldiers by Sheikh Gumi, in one of his missions to meet with bandits in a forest around Niger State, the group said.
“Our concern is further hinged on the possibility of the world concluding that the North may be offering tacit endorsement to banditry and associated crimes against society.
“To douse this tension, therefore, we call on relevant authorities, including prominent individuals and groups from the North,to condemn Gumi’s position in a manner that will absolve the region of conspiracy and vicarious liability, in the long run.