Popular Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, has asked the Nigerian government to dialogue with leaders of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) towards ending bringing lasting peace to South eastern Nigeria.
He alleged that Boko Haram insurgents wanted President Muhammadu Buhari to negotiate with the federal government on its behalf.
Gumi, disclosed this when he featured as a guest on Arise News morning show on Wednesday where he accused the Nigerian Army of colluding with bandits.
He said former president Olusegun Obasanjo, had tried also to broker peace with members of the outlawed group years ago, but he did not get the cooperation of the federal government led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
“Even with IPOB. If I am a government, I will go and call them and say lets sit down and ask what is your problem. What is your agitation? Why are you carrying arms against your own Country?
“We all know at a point that Boko Haram wanted a dialogue with the Nigerian government. In fact, they were even suggesting that the president as a man that they trust that van negotiate well for them”, he alleged.
The Islamic Cleric claimed that some soldiers were colluding with bandits to perpetrate crime and suggested that: “They (bandits) can be used as forest guards”.
He stated that there is a tribal war going on in Nigeria and that the government was taking sides.
Gumi also claimed that herdsmen in parts of the country were unsafe and at risk of being killed.
But the Nigerian Army though its Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu,.warned the Cleric against comments that embolden bandits.
According to him, “The Nigerian Army wishes to state that contrary to Sheik Gumi’s claims, the NA remains a bonafide symbol of national unity that has conducted its constitutional responsibilities in the most professional manner in line with global best practices of adherence to the rules of engagement and protection of the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
“The sweeping allegation peddled by the scholar is not only sad and unfortunate, but a calculated attempt to denigrate the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of our patriotic troops, who are working tirelessly to restore peace and stability across the Country”, he said.