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Banditry: Army cautions Gumi against inciting comments

NEWSMAN, Abuja – Nigerian Army has cautioned a Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion merchants to exercise restraint not to tarnish the image of the military by their unsavoury and inciting comments.

Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, in a statement yesterday, urged the Islamic cleric and others to exercise restraint while delving on military matters.

“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video showing the respected Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits,” the document read in part.

“In the clip, the Islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims. He further stated that they should be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non- Muslims.

“While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the revered Sheik Ahmed Gumi, it is, however, important to restate that the Nigerian Army, as a national institution, does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious line.

“Therefore Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion merchants are enjoined not to drag the reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions into disrepute.”

It continued: “The Nigerian Army remains the pride of the nation and has continually defended the territorial integrity of this great nation. Comments suggesting mudsliding are not only dangerous, but also capable of creating bad blood among Nigerians.

“Furthermore, most operations conducted by the Nigerian Army were done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry without any exception. It is, therefore, disturbing that an opinion leader would deliberately want to disparage the Nigerian Army.”

Gumi who has become an emissary to bandits in forests across Kaduna, Zamfara, Katsina and Niger states, had alleged that non-Muslim soldiers were killing in some communities in the North.

The Islamic cleric, on his visit to the Niger State Government to negotiate the release of kidnapped pupils of Government Science College, Kagara, Niger State, had allegedly said “soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. There are Muslim and non-Muslim soldiers. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion, just to ignite a crisis.”

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