Banditry: Military, Sheikh Gumi on collision course

…security forces working with bandits, Islamic cleric alleges

…s Army warns him to ‘stop denigrating force’

Nigerian Army and prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, are set to clash over Muslim scholar’s comments against the Armed Forces.

Gumi had accused military personnel of colluding with bandits, a statement the Nigerian Army has described as ”sad and unfortunate.”

The cleric, while appearing on ARISE TV on Wednesday, had accused some security personnel of aiding armed gangs terrorising the country.

According to him, gunmen will not have access to weapons without the support of some security personnel.

But the Nigerian Army in its reaction to the allegation, through its spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said Gumi’s utterances were a calculated attempt to denigrate the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of the troops.

Nwachukwu urged opinion leaders to demonstrate patriotism and build peace across the country ”rather than being agents of distabilisation, thereby aggravating the current security challenges facing the nation.”

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The Army spokesman added, ”The Nigerian Army has just been alerted to a submission by Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi when he featured on ARISE TV Morning Show on Wednesday, 23 June 2021 alleging that the Nigerian Military is colluding with marauding bandits who have been responsible for various crimes and atrocities against Nigerians and the Nigerian state.

”The Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to state that contrary to Sheik Gumi’s claims, the NA remains a bonafide symbol of national unity that has conducted its constitutional responsibilities in the most professional manner in line with global best practices of adherence to the rules of engagement and protection of the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

”The sweeping allegation peddled by the scholar is not only sad and unfortunate, but a calculated attempt to denigrate the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of our patriotic troops, who are working tirelessly to restore peace and stability across the country.

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”It is essential to remind ourselves that these same military, being accused of connivance, are the ones who recently put their lives on the line to rescue abductees of the Government Secondary School, Birnin Yawuri from kidnappers.

”While the NA 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, as provisions for dealing decisively with such acts are crystallised in Section 45 (1) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

”It must also be pointed out, that while the military is very much receptive to constructive criticism, it should not be perceived as a gateway for derogatory comments that have the potential to embolden criminals. It is also necessary to reiterate that patriotism must be taken to a trajectory where subversive conversations on the state are brought to the barest minimum.

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”Opinion leaders are enjoined to demonstrate patriotism in building the peace, rather than being agents of distabilisation, thereby aggravating the current security challenges facing the nation.

”The NA wishes to reassure law abiding citizens, that troops will continue to conduct themselves professionally in consonance with the code of conduct guiding our operations in all combat engagements, in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and global best practice.

”Citizens are enjoined to continue to support military operations by providing useful information to defence and security agencies and together we shall rid our society of these criminal elements.”

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