Analysis: Gumi and the Nigerian state

Analysis: Gumi and the Nigerian state

Sunday, June 27, 2021 8:00 am

File photo: Sheikh Gumi (in white robe) meets some Bandits

By Festus Adedayo

Sheik Ahmad Gumi, self-styled go-between of Nigeria and her enemies was last week invited by the Department of State Services, DSS for questioning. He was said to have been questioned on account of an Arise TV interview he granted where he alleged that there was collusion between Nigerian security forces and bandits in the North.

Gumi had said in the interview: “These bandits, if you don’t know, are cooperating with a lot of bad elements in our security system. This is a business. So many people are involved, you’ll be so surprised. They were caught in Zamfara; they were caught everywhere, how do these big weapons cross our borders? How can these big weapons cross our borders and get into the forest without the cooperation of some bad elements of the security operatives assisting them? It’s not possible. If I give you the same amount of guns, can you take them to the UK? You can’t because the security is alert.”

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While knocking his claims, the Nigerian Army fumed and claimed it puts its life on the line, losing many of its soldiers in the process. It concluded that, “While the Nigerian Army will not attempt to excuse the possibility of black sheep amongst its fold, it must be stated unambiguously that it will not condone any form of sabotage or aiding and assisting the enemy by any personnel.”

So, to this mullah, a bloody enterprise like kidnapping is business? It is obvious that Gumi may be making these arguments so as to make a case for his Northern malefactors. The truth however is that the sophisticated weapons in use by the bandits could only have got to them, either through connivance with the military or customs officials who look the other way while the weapons were being shipped into the country. In that wise, it may be hard to fault his argument.

On Saturday, I listened to the Arise TV crew grill same Sheik Gumi. The crew was unsparing of Gumi, unlike its earlier mollycoddling of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa Cool, composed and armed with details of his intervention, this mullah seems not to be bothered about his typecast as a bigot who swivels in bed with coldblooded psychopaths. Save for the obvious ethnic colouration of his submissions and the fact that his type only luxuriate under the kind of government that Buhari runs, Gumi’s logic was water-tight but obviously self-serving. He did not hide his being an apostle and megaphone of Hausa-Fulani criminals. He called on the Federal Government to grant amnesty to and negotiate with bandits and Boko Haram as same government did with Niger Delta militants, while claiming that both the bombing of crude oil pipelines and scaring farmers from their farms were both threats to the Nigerian economy.

What is not in dispute is that Gumi is part of a deep, choreographed plot to liberate a sizeable portion of Nigeria’s patrimony for his northern people, regardless of whether they are criminals or not. His views are little different from Buhari’s and the presidency’s. The non-existent Nigeria is not his bother. It is not the bother of Buhari and his presidency, as it isn’t many Nigerians’. Nigeria is an orphan in this equation.

-Dr. Festus Adedayo, lawyer, journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Ibadan

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