Some groups of herdsmen wanted the Federal Government to disband vigilantes and put them in charge of security of the forests across the country, Sheikh Gumi has said.
Gumi, who revealed this on Wednesday in an interview on Arise TV, said the herdsmen see the vigilantes as their enemies.
He also said it was time government should use the ‘good herders’ to get the ‘bad ones’, saying Shekau was killed by his former colleagues now in ISWAP despite government effort over the years to get him.
He also returned to his favorite talking point of comparing the criminality of Fulani groups to environmental agitation of Niger Delta indigenes.
His words; “Like the Niger Delta agitation, herdsmen also cover a large amount of lands preventing farmers from farming, which is very important for the economy of the nation because when you leave a big chunk of the population hungry without farming it would produce grave consequences which we don’t want to experience.
“Just as the Niger Deltas are important to the economy, these herdsmen have suddenly become important to the Nigerian economy because they are preventing people from farming.
“We can come to them, they can be our guards. We can see them guarding the forest from that area. These herdsmen are not aliens, they are Nigerians, we know them and their relatives. They have priorities we can tap from.
“A Fulani organization came to me and said we have more than seven commanders with a group of 100 to 200 each. They are ready if the military will co-operate with them to put an end to banditary and kidnapping. Why can’t we engage them?
“They told me they are ready to sit down with the government. What is stopping the government? These national congress of herdsmen can come together today to decide no more kidnapping, the war is ended and this is our condition and I don’t see any Fulani man breaking the agreement.
“Also, I asked the civilian JTF, why not take the Fulani to be part of your team? Use the good ones to fight the bad ones.
“These herdsmen are becoming radicalized in a terrorist form. When a criminal comes out reading religious text to justify his actions then there is problem. Let’s go for them before the evil ones capture them.”
Gumi said that the media and everyone else is taking side against the herdsmen while the herdsmen have no one to tell their own side of the story.
When asked why he had not taken security agents to the hideout of these criminals if he knew it, he replied at a time Boko Haram fighters chose the current president to speak for them but did not get the co-operation of the then administration.
Gumi said Fulani herdsmen and bandits are at war with other ethnic groups in Nigeria.
“There is tribal war ongoing, herders are being killed in the south-southwest. I have been saying this but no one seems to listen to me. You find Fulani fighting the southwest because fulani is an ethnic stock different from others. “But when a government, presidency or military is taking side with one, there is a big problem,” he said.
Sheikh Gumi said the herdsmen are better off than IPOB members whom he said were attacking and killing our men in service like the police, army and destroying government properties like INEC offices.
“Herdsmen are just kidnapping children for money and not killing then like IPOB do to their victims, ” he said.
He called on other state governments to emulate those of Katsina and Zamfara which he said are now experiencing relative peace because the government is engaging the bandits in peace talk and their dialogue is yielding results.
” People are moving about and markets are open,” he said.
Gumi also pointed out that the insecurity ravaging the country is a business, alleging that the Nigerian Military is working with bandits against innocent Nigerians.
He disclosed that his group are making arrangements to visit the southwest to sensitize the Fulani on how to live with their neighbors.