Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic scholar and preacher, has cautioned that labeling robbers as terrorists will come at a cost.
Gumi’s declaration comes after the speakers of Nigeria’s 36 state Houses of Assembly urged the Federal Government to label bandits and kidnappers as terrorists.
Gumi responded with a statement headlined “Declaring Bandits Terrorists Will Come With A Price.”
He stated in the statement that if bandits are labeled terrorists, straight foreign Jihadist activities will take over.
He also said many unemployed youths will be attracted to join them.
The statement read; “Nobody doubts that sentimentalism today overrides sensibility in our polity. For the sake of posterity, some people will have to speak out.
The acts the bandits are committing now in NW have gradually over time become tantamount to terrorism because wherever innocent people are fatal victims it’s pure terrorism. Yet, innocence these days is relative. We agreed if their children and women are also killed, they are guilty by association or collateral damage, so also the bandits may think the same way. It’s right for vigilantes to lynch Fulanis herdsmen or anyone that looks like them by profiling but wrong for the herdsmen to ransack villages in retribution. They are pushed to believe it is an existential war and in war, ethics are thrown to the winds.
Yet again, the only helpful part that is against bandits is that no other than them are attracted to join them in the NW because of its ethnic tinge and coloration. However, the moment they are termed Terrorist – Islamic for that matter, the direct foreign Jihadist movements will set in in force. And many teaming unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive. Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ plus AK47 against a ‘secular’ immoral society where impunity reigns are the magnet for extremists and downtrodden – the majority of our youth.
Already these deadly terrorist groups are fighting for the soul of these bandits. This will give criminality a spiritual cover and remove the stigma of discrediting them with such crimes since now they are fighting a ‘Jihad’ as they will claim. In such a situation, does the larger society -as it is- has the moral high ground to fight back? This is the most probable consequence, the price of which is not worth it. Nothing stops the kinetic actions from going on without the controversy of semantics.