Blanket Amnesty: Ghana, other security agencies ask Nigeria for intelligence on Sheik Gumi
By Centus Nweze
Buzzes in the intelligence community suggests that security agencies in the sub region are interested in Sheik Abubakar Gumi, allegedly making enquiries on what the Muslim cleric has been up to in the last decade after being released by authorities of the Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of an attempted suicide bombing of an American airline by a Nigerian terrorist, Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Our news medium, elombah.com, gathered reliably that Ghana intelligence among others in the past weeks, have made enquiries on the cleric from their Nigerian counterpart.
Though reasons for the enquiries were not ascertained, the online newspaper learnt from security sources that the spook agencies from these countries are sufficiently worried, too, about influx of herdsmen militias/bandits into their land space.
And why the cleric seem to be making advocacy for them with Nigerian security doing nothing about it.
“Gumi’s advocacy on behalf of the militias is worrisome enough for some of the security agencies in these countries. They are asking their Nigerian counterparts on detailed security reports on the cleric so as to better understand what they are up against,” explained an intelligence source to the newspaper, anonymously.
Ghana, for instance, recently made a heavy handed move on open grazing in the country. Understandably, too, other countries are watching development in Nigeria as foisted by bandits and herdsmen militias believed to be of Fulani extractions.
Sheik Gumi, for some time now have mounted open campaigns including engaging in videoed conference with some bandits that have been involved in wholesale sack of communities and abducting victims for ransom. The Sheik, against documented infractions by the militia is asking federal government for blanket amnesty for the bandits.
While doing so, too, the Sheik has managed to make very incendiary remarks that have further antagonized critical stakeholders in the country. The sheik compared the bandits with the Niger Delta militants who asked for compensation for the pollution of their environments but were given amnesty by government.
Even more, according to what was learnt, some of the agencies making enquiries are asking the Nigerian operatives to authenticate a viral video where the Sheik was heard telling the bandits in one of his conference that Christian Nigerian soldiers, not Muslim ones, are responsible for attacking and killing them.
“The cleric’s antecedents worries them,” explained the newspaper source, further, alluding to Gumi’s past encounters with securities on matters of terrorism.
In February 24, 2010, Saudi authorities detained Gumi while the cleric was in its country.
Even more, Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Aminci, the Nigerian ambassador to the kingdom was neither briefed of Gumi’s offence nor was he allowed to see him by Saudi securities.
As the Ramadan approached at the time, agitations mounted back in Nigeria among clerics.
On May 20 of the same year, a delegation of Izala Muslim top shots, led by Rigachikun, wrote a letter to Saudi Arabia and hand delivered it to the embassy.
In the letter, the group traced Gumi’s genealogy, religious trajectory and the preacher’s antecedents, arguing that in his 20 years stay in Saudi Arabia, Gumi had never run afoul of the law.
In addition, Gumi has never interfered with the governance of his host country and his moderate brand of Islam is in tandem with the Saudis’.
In the end, they asked for Gumi’s release, arguing that it is wrong to detain him. On May 23, three days later, the Saudi ambassador sent emissaries to the delegation, requesting audience with them.
The delegation, comprising Rigachikun, Abdullahi Sale Pakistan and Saidu Alhassan Saidu Sale, met the Saudi envoy and made further explanations.
Briefly, the Saudis explained that Gumi was being investigated on his alleged links with Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspected December 2009 bomber.
The matter, they were told, is being handled between Nigeria and Saudi government but their security agents are still investigating the liaison between Mutallab and Gumi.
Thereafter, the Rigachikun delegation wrote to Alhaji Shehu Idris, Emir of Zazzau, giving him the update and the missive was copied to Sultan Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan Bello mosque management committee, Jamaátul Nasir Islam and Alhaji Umaru Abdulmutallab, Farouk’s father.
Gumi was detained in Jeddah but was later put under house house arrest in Mecca, from where he was released to the Nigerian authorities.
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