Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Friday, said there was nothing unusual for renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi to act as a bridge between the government and bandits terrorising Zamfara State.
Mohammed spoke while featuring on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show monitored by The PUNCH.
He said the government was using some back channels to address the security challenges in the country, adding that the bandits might be ready to listen to the cleric than they would to the government.
Photos of Sheikh Gumi with some bandits in Shinkafi and Gummi Local Government Areas of Zamfara had surfaced online on Tuesday.
The PUNCH had reported that Sheikh Gumi visited different bandits’ camps in Zamfara to spread the message of Islam and peace in order to rid the country of kidnappings and banditry.
“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.
When asked on Friday whether the visits by the cleric was under some special covers, Mohammed said, “When you want to resolve an issue like this, you use lots of back channels.
“Again, it is not unusual for a respected cleric to have the confidence of (approaching) outlaws or bandits. 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.”