Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has doubled down on his claim that Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria are demonised and have taken to violent crimes and kidnapping for ransom because they have not benefitted from the country’s fabled national ‘cake.’
He also insisted on his call for amnesty.
On Monday, Mr. Gumi on Channels TV insisted that the herdsmen were victims of the insecurity that has engulfed many parts of the North and some parts of the South.
“You see what happened in Oyo, his (Fulani herdsman) hut burnt down. Who is burning down his hut? It is somebody coming from a building; somebody coming from a car. He (Fulani herdsman) doesn’t own a car. He doesn’t own a building. He doesn’t enjoy anything of the Nigerian cake,” Mr. Gumi argued.
Regarding the amnesty, the cleric said, “Amnesty comes with a package – all victims should be looked at, and the government should compensate because actually, it’s the responsibility of the government to protect people, their lives and livelihood (which) they were not able to do.”
Accusing the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari of negligence, the cleric added, “So, since it’s a negligence from the government, then the government should come from both sides.”
He added, “When I listened to them, I found out that it is a simple case of criminality which turned into banditry, which turned into ethnic war, and some genocide too behind the scene; people don’t know.
“I think it is a population that is pushed by circumstances into criminality. This is what we should look (for). Let’s remove the pressure. Let’s remove the things that made them criminals because we have lived thousands of years without any problems with the nomadic herdsmen. They are peaceful people. But something happened that led them to this.”
According to Mr. Gumi, the rampaging herdsmen are only reacting to injustice against them.
“These people are acting with natural instincts, not special knowledge. They don’t have any ambition or anything. They are talking about existence. Their livelihood is destroyed because (of) the cattle rustling that was going on for a long time. They are the first victims of it,” he insisted.
Mr. Gumi has become known for his sympathy for and role in negotiating with bandits, including ransom paying for innocent people kidnapped.