Sheikh Gumi Secures Truce with Armed Fulani Militia
…As FG, Police back Peace Initiatives with the Fulanis
…Deploys IG, CP in latest Visit to Sabon Garin Yadi
…As Ardos, aggrieved Fulani Militia from North West Mobilise Colleagues to listen to Sheikh Gumi
…Emir of Zazzau, Bamalli, Pledges Support, Commends Sheikh Gumi
…Sheikh Gumi set to Visit President Buhari on the Issue
by Maryam Musa
Efforts of Sheikh Dr Ahmad Gumi to educate, support and pacify aggrieved Fulani herdsmen that turns into kidnapping and armed banditry achieves a major milestone on Tuesday 19th January, 2021 as his peace initiatives mission succeeded in mobilising and meeting with over 500 Fulani kidnappers and bandits that used to terrorize Zaria-Giwa roads as well as that of Birnin Gwari area. DESERT HERALD reports that during the historic interaction and preaching session at a remote bush in Sabon Garin Yadi hundreds of Fulani stakeholders from different parts of the country have also attended.
Sabon Garin Yadi is under Giwa Local Government of Kaduna State. It is about 65 kilometers from Zaria, while the location of the bush where the armed Fulanis freely preferred and gathered to listen to Sheikh Gumi is a journey of about 30 kilometres with no provision of road network at all. Out of the over 500 armed Fulanis that were present include about 25 of their top commanders.
DESERT HERALD and Arise Television Station are the only two media that embarked on the difficult and risky journey, and can confirm that the federal government, particularly the Nigeria Police Force, has supported Sheikh Gumi’s carrot approach and confidence-building mission as key to any truce that will ensure lasting peace and security especially in northern roads that used to record high rate of kidnappings and banditry.
Tuesday’s visit to Sabon Garin Yadi bush was attended by the Kaduna State Police Commissioner, Umar Muri, with all the top officers of the Kaduna State Police Command in the entourage of Sheikh Gumi. The Police on the orders of Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, who had earlier arranged to go with Sheikh Gumi, have in addition to the vehicles arranged by the Sheikh provided 15 Toyota Hilux Vans with over 35 Police personnel. IGP Adamu was said to have cancelled his Kaduna visit due to urgent official engagement in Abuja and directed CP Umar Muri to represent him.
The Emir of Zazzau, Amb Nuhu Bamalli, has commended the initiative of Sheikh Gumi. He called on the state and federal government to support the move and pledged his unflinching support and that of his emirate to Sheikh Gumi. The emir was represented at the event by Alhaji Nuhu Lawal Umar, who is the Hakimin Fatika and also the Kaigaman Zazzau.
Virtually all the top armed commanders were freely given the chance to address the session with almost all of them lamenting the condition they were subjected to and expressed the frustrations that led them into kidnapping and banditry. Most of them were unanimous in their submissions. They told Sheikh Gumi and CP Umar Muri that they were forced into taking up arms. They said over the years they were subjected to constant humiliation, harassment, arbitrary arrests, extortion and even killings of innocent ones by law enforcement agents. They lamented that security personnel have killed many of their family members with many of them losing virtually all their possessions through cattle rustling, extortion by security agents and through military bombardments. As a result they lamented thousands of their youths do not have anything to do and there is no means of livelihood hence their decision to go into arms struggle.
They also complained of lack of government’s presence and the absence of basic necessities like water, schools, clinics etc in all their localities and vowed that as long as government and the society did not change their attitudes towards them, there will never be peace. They accused government of not being sincere in ending instances of banditry and kidnappings.
They said the Fulanis are not the only culprits in the business of kidnappings and banditry as most of the local intelligence they used to gather are being coordinated by their accomplices in the city as it is impossible for them that are predominantly living in the bushes to personally know their targets, locations of houses or to even identify the rich without such internal collaborators. They said government has failed in acknowledging and addressing that reality. They also lamented how innocent Fulanis are constantly being harassed and sometimes being killed in markets and other places in the cities. They accused Nigerian security agents of benefitting hugely out of current insecurity.
The Ardos (Fulani leaders) are also in attendance. They told the large gathering that most of them, including the armed Fulanis, only accepted the invitation to come from far and near because of the respect and confidence they have on Sheikh Gumi. Each of the top armed commanders as seen by DESERT HERALD are controlling about 50 to 100 armed followers and are receiving instructions from them. They told CP Umar Muri that the Police and Soldiers are part of their problems and that their actions in the past have done so much harm in escalating the crisis of insecurity associated with kidnappings and armed banditry.
In his response, CP Muri who spoke in their native Fulfulde pledges understanding and patience and assured them that he will deliver their message to IGP Adamu. He said the Police will continue to support any peace initiative and that the leadership of the Police under IGP Adamu recognizes the rights of all Nigerians and told them that he was ordered by the IGP directly to come because of the importance government attached to Sheikh Gumi’s peace efforts.
In responding to their concerns, Sheikh Gumi preached to them the message of Islam and the need to always be patient. He said he shares their concerns and that for the first time he learned a lot about the predicaments, the frustrations of the Fulanis and the extent of what they went through and how difficult it will be for someone in such a condition to resist the temptation of taking up arms for revenge and for source of survival.
Sheikh Gumi had pleaded with them to give him the benefit of doubt by immediately ceasing all hostilities including kidnapping, promising them that he will personally see President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue and the need to immediately address their grievances and demands which include immediate release of all innocent Fulanis that were not found wanting or taking them to court to determine their guilt or otherwise.
In a surprise move that left even fellow Fulanis in disbelief while some of the women were seen crying because of happiness, virtually all the top commanders of the armed Fulani militias pledged to work with Sheikh Gumi and assured him that they will ensure security in Zaria-Giwa axis as well as the notorious Birnin Gwari road. They promised Sheikh Gumi that they will mobilize their men immediately to cease hostilities, but however warned that if government continues to bombard their families and belongings and failed to fulfill their own part of the bargain they will continue until their grievances are addressed.
The session was also attended by large crowd of Fulani women both young and old. The women were seen by DESERT HERALD visibly crying and thanking Sheikh Gumi for the peace efforts that may permanently stop their children from banditry and kidnappings.
During the occasion and before his departure, Sheikh Gumi distributed brocade, clothes and copies of Islamic books to the militants. He also gave them a cash gift of N500,000 on behalf of Sheikh Abubakar Mahmud Gumi Initiative for the Propagation of Sunnah, the organisation spearheading the Da’awah. Also, Sheikh Gumi has distributed wrappers and Islamic books to virtually all the women that were in attendance.
Responding to this reporter, the Chairman of the Media Department of the Da’awah Movement, who is also the Chairman/Publisher of DESERT HERALD, Mallam Tukur Mamu (Dan-Iyan Fika), said Sheikh Gumi is fully committed and will sacrifice anything including his own life to ensure that the message of Islam reaches the Fulanis.
Mamu assured the Fulanis that everything will be done within the powers of the respected Sheikh to reach out to the government and to address some of the major issues they raised as soon as possible. Mamu said already constructions of boreholes have begun in some Fulani communities and that everything that are being done at the moment are being borne by him and his students.