Nigeria’s National Security Adviser to the President, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd.), says controversial Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi is constitutionally entitled to “talk” or “deal” with anyone in the country including bandits.
Monguno spoke on Thursday at a State House Briefing in Aso Villa, Abuja.
Of late, Sheikh Gumi had been seen hobnobbing with bandits in the forests of Zamfara and Niger States. He had also asked the government to give “Blanket Amnesty” to the bandits whom he claimed were fighting an “ethnic war”.
The cleric had also reportedly told the bandits that Christian soldiers were the ones neutralising them. The Nigerian Army subsequently warned the cleric against making divisive statements.
Many Nigerians including an aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, had also called the Department of State Services to summon and probe Gumi over his relationship with the bandits.null
When asked on Thursday of his comments on Gumi, the National Security Adviser said the cleric is doing what he is doing because he believes in his approach.
Monguno, who also said the government believes in two approaches -combative and dialogue – to ending the war on insurgency and banditry, said he met with Gumi in Kaduna lately.
The NSA said, “Sheikh Gumi is doing what he is doing because he believes in what he is doing. He is a Nigerian. Under the constitution, he can talk with anybody, he can deal with anybody. I met with him (Gumi) when I went with the service chiefs to Kaduna. We spoke generally during the meeting and he resolved to help government, we are waiting. That’s all I can say, we are waiting for him.”