The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked renowned Islamic cleric Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Gumi to withdraw his statement accusing non-Muslim soldiers of engaging in criminalities.
Speaking to bandits in a now-viral video online, the Islamic leader had claimed – without evidence – that the soldiers are stirring confusions with the aim of wreaking havoc.
Gumi said: “What I want you people to understand is, soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and none Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite crisis.”
The Islamic leader queried the bandits on why they should attack villagers in vengeance.
But reacting in a statement titled, ‘GUMI: We Are Disappointed in FG – CAN’, on Wednesday through its General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, asked the Islamic cleric to retract his statement or it may sabotage Nigeria’s peace and unity.
Part of the statement read, “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed shocks, pains and disappointment in one Islamic leader, Sheik Ahmad Gumi over his alleged profiling of military operatives recently while addressing some bandits in Tegina forest, a border town between Niger and Kaduna States.
“We call on Gumi to immediately withdraw the unpatriotic and divisive utterances credited to him in the interest of peace and unity of this country.
“If anyone said it was the Christian soldiers who are attacking armed bandits, that person does not wish this country well and he doesn’t want the war against terrorism and banditry to end in victory. Gumi’s so-called audio evidence cannot be taken seriously because audio evidence can be deliberately arranged to make a point.
“Secondly, how can we ascertain the credibility of the person alleging that it was the Christian soldiers that were attacking communities and bandits? This unreasonable outburst is not only demoralizing and a plot to divide the Nigerian military into two along religious lines, it equally derogatively portrays the non-Christian soldiers as being not committed to fighting criminality.
“We still want to believe that Sheik Gumi was quoted out of context. But if it was true, then, the unity and peace of the country are being threatened by the sentimental statement of this cleric. We have not heard the Presidency react to this dangerous statement as they are supposed to do, cautioning this cleric who has thrown caution to the wind. Such a grave allegation is evil, divisive, unpatriotic, ill-wind and reprehensible.
“We ask again, is Sheik Gumi trying to polarise the military along the religious divides? Is he inciting the bandits against Christians? Is Gumi saying that the Muslim soldiers are on vacation in the ongoing war against terrorists, murderous herdsmen and bandits? What good will this statement do to the insecurity in the country? We are of the opinion that the government of Nigeria should seriously caution Gumi for his reckless and inflammatory statement.”