The Character Called Gumi

Pierced from every sides by bullets from Ak-47s paraded by bandits, recalling the memories of our lost ones, and how suddenly their lives were forcefully taken away from them in the cruelest of means; thinking about the miserable condition of being refugees or displaced persons in our own ancestral lands, and engulfed in a panic about the multifarious record of bloodshed and massacres we have witnessed in recent times, we meet an interesting figure called Gumi. 

Seik Gumi is a Muslim cleric and a scholar. He acquired medical training from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He came to the mainstream of media and became controversial when he first penetrated the forests and seemingly braved the belly of the beast to meet and negotiate with bandits. 

From his encounter, Gumi came with litanies of testimonies about the dignity and victimized disposition of the bandits. In an interview with Channels Television, Gumi claimed that the bandits are peaceful people and so they should be engaged in a dialogue. He went on to assert that they were thrown into criminality because of the circumstance they found themselves. Gumi had also gone ahead to declare that the anger and attack of the bandits should be directed at Christian soldiers who had been killing them (bandits), in the past. Sometime in February, he also advocated for a blanket amnesty for all the bandits, arguing from an erroneous foundation that same measure was adopted to curb the menace of Niger Delta Militants. 

Gumi had occupied the role of a mediator between the bandits and Nigerians. He brings us their opinions and terms, just as he conveys our terms and conditions to them. He is like an emissary. 

As if these were not enough, the cleric on Tuesday, 4th April, 2021, to the utter bewilderment of Nigerians enjoined the federal government to grant the N100 million ransom demanded by kidnappers of Greenfield University students to prevent the situation from degenerating further since it is a large sum which they cannot easily escape with.

From these scenarios, we are forced to ask pertinent questions: What is fueling Gumi’s effrontery? Why does he have complete access to the bandits and the military doesn’t? Does Gumi have a relationship with the security agencies particularly the Department of State Security (DSS)? Are we now powerless and helpless in the face of these bandits? Has Nigeria turned to Federal Territory of Banditry? These and more are some of the fundamental questions that should keep us worried. 

In the face of this misdemeanor, we see the looming darkness that has enveloped Nigeria. Bandits are being treated with all manner of warmness while they kill and maim innocent citizens. Sponsors of terrorists are not hidden and allowed to make inflammatory remarks and threaten the masses and they go scot free. More so, in Gumi we see the character of Isa Ali Pantami, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications who came out openly to defend terrorists and argue for their course. 

To this effect, we must stand to condemn this evil trend and chart a new course for our nation. The federal government should arrest Gumi and all those who advocate for criminality and force them to release vital information that will lead to the arrest of these criminals and a possible end to their nefarious activities. We must not continue to treat criminals with soft hands while they treat with cruelty and contempt. 

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