Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed said on Friday that renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi was in order when he met ,earlier in the week, with a delegation of bandits who have been terrorizing Zamfara State for some time now.
He said that given the cleric’s status, the bandits may be more disposed to listening to him than they would listen to government.
“It is not unusual for a respected cleric to have the confidence of (approaching) outlaws or bandits,” the minister said on Friday during TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show.
He added: “As a matter of fact, they are probably ready to listen to him more than they are ready to listen to the government. They are probably ready to believe him more. So, it is not unusual for him to act as a bridge between government and the outlaws in an attempt to find solution.
“What I am sure is that he must be working for peace.”
Gumi had visited camps of the bandits in the forests of Zamfara State to interview them on their grievances.
He told them to give peace a chance.
His words: “Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances, and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling,” Sheikh Gumi had told the bandits during the visits.
The cleric later visited Governor Bello Matawalle to brief him on his mission.
Gumi said that from what he had seen and heard from the gunmen they appeared to him as insurgents more than bandits.
Also during yesterday’s interview on TVC,Mohammed said se has many libel cases filed against him by Nigerians.
He accused Amnesty International (AI) of deliberate plot to destabilize the country with baseless allegations against the administration and its military.
The minister was reacting to a recent report by AI, a global movement, on campaign to end abuses of human rights, on a purported crackdown and killings of EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos, in October 2020.
The organisation had accused the government of cover up in the handling of the case and called for the arrest and prosecution of the country’s former Service Chiefs in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged human rights violation.
Speaking at the programme, the minister said AI, like most other groups, has refused to proffer evidence that people were shot dead at the Lekki Toll Gate on the day of the incident.
“We challenge Amnesty International, if it has any proof, to please come forward with such names, addresses and convincing evidence that such people were killed at the toll gate.
“The truth of the matter is that a coterie of NGO, led by Amnesty International, has been dispensing fake news about what transpired at the toll gate.”