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Nigerian Army Sends Serious Warning to Islamic Cleric, Shiekh Gumi
Sheikh Ahmed Gumi
Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi has been told to apply restraint when commenting on issues concerning the Nigerian army.
The army warned Gumi to stop making statements capable of inciting the public.
It said Gumi and the opinion merchants needed to exercise restraints in their comments because troops are not deployed for operations along ethnic or religious lines.
The caution coincided with the sacking of an Emir and a district head in Zamfara State for allegedly supporting bandits.
Army Public Relations Director, Brig.-Gen.Mohammed Yerima, in a statement yesterday specifically made reference to a viral video in which Gumi told bandits that soldiers deployed against them were non-Muslims.
The statement partly reads: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video-clip showing the renowned and respected Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits.
“In the video clip, the Islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims. He further stated that they should be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non- Muslims.
“While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the respected Sheik Gumi, it is however, important to restate that the Army as national institution does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
“Therefore, Sheikh Gumi and other opinion merchants are please enjoined to exercise restraint not to drag the image and the reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.
“The Nigerian Army remains the pride of the nation and has continually defended the territorial integrity of this great nation. Comments suggesting to mudslide of the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army are not only inimical but tended towards creating bad blood amongst Nigerians.
“Furthermore, most operations conducted by the Nigerian Army were done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry without any exception.
“ It is, therefore, disturbing that an opinion leader would deliberately want to disparage the Nigeria Army to portray it in bad light.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to seize this opportunity to advise opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognizance, the imperative for national security, particularly at these difficult times when our gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackle the myriads of security challenges facing our dear nation.
“What our troops need now is public support to discharge their responsibility effectively and in the most professional manner.”
In Zamfara State, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) lauded Governor Bello Matawalle for removing the Emir of Maru, Abubakar China, and the District Head of Kanoma, Lawal Ahmed, for allegedly aiding banditry.
It also said it was impressed with the alleged arrest of a soldier and his girlfriend “for supplying arms and military uniforms to bandits.”
The ACF had a week ago called on Matawalle to name the people collaborating with kidnappers and bandits in the state. This was after the governor claimed that he knew those collaborating with bandits and that Nigerians would be shocked to know them.
The ACF, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said, “We are happy to note that the government of Zamfara State has acted appropriately.
“A soldier and his girlfriend have been arrested in Zamfara State. The deputy chief of staff to the Zamfara state governor, who represented him at a press conference, said the arrest followed information provided by community-based intelligence.
“The governor has also approved the removal of Emir of Maeu, Abubakar China, and the district head of Kanoma, Lawal Ahmed, for allegedly giving support to bandits responsible for hundreds of deaths.
“The Emir and the district head had been on suspension since June last year and were under investigation, which found them guilty of the complaints from their subjects that they were collaborating with bandits and kidnappers.”