Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has slammed journalists in Nigeria and Nigerians in general for using the word ‘criminals’ to describe bandits.
It would be recalled that Gumi has been meeting with bandits in different forests across states in the North, reportedly preaching to them and convincing them to drop their arms.
The cleric had also put out several calls to states and the federal governments to grant amnesty to the bandits, insisting that they were not different from the Niger Delta militants.
Appearing on Arise Television live programme, monitored in Port Harcourt, yesterday, the Islamic scholar accused the media of fuelling insecurity in the North by calling the bandits criminals.
The cleric said Nigerians and the media must stop addressing bandits as criminals, but should learn to address them with nice words.
According to him, using such words to describe the bandits would harden their hearts from surrendering their weapons and repenting of their sins.
“You’re emphasising on criminality, even the press are criminals too because they are putting oil into fire,” Gumi said.
“These people are listening to you, you should not address them as criminals, if you want them to succumb.
“The youths are ready to put down their weapons, now, you are calling them criminals. How do you want them to cooperate?
“So, you have to show them that they are Nigerians, that they should not hurt children, be law-abiding. This is the language we want to hear, the press should assist us in getting the boys.
“You see, when we talk with them with nice words, they are ready to listen to us, put down their weapons but when the language is about criminality, killing them, then, this is what we will keep having.
“Let me show you something, I don’t wish you harm but if you are stopped by armed robbers on the road, you will not use the word criminal on them.
“Tell them good things so that you will save yourself. We are trying to save the nation from these youths that have a false sense of authority. The language we use is very important.
“We have a problem now, proliferation of arms, and there are drugs and semi-illiterate population. How do you deal with it? By castigating them and abusing them in the media?”
It would be recalled that Gumi had recently described the bandits, who are known for kidnapping, killing and maiming of innocent Nigerians, as peaceful people and victims of circumstances who were forced into criminality.
The cleric had called on the government to adopt a more lenient approach in handling bandits, arguing that attacking them brings out the ‘monster’ in them.
While making a case for the criminals, the Islamic scholar also explained that while bandits were citizens who recognize the government, Boko Haram terrorists were internationally connected.
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Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”
Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.
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