Recent news reports from various credible media sources state that Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, a popular Islamic Cleric had called on the Federal Government to quickly initiate dialogue and negotiations between IPOB and other secessionist groups in the country.
Credit: Daily Post.
Gumi while speaking to ARISE TV, affirmed that if he were in charge of the government, he would quickly invite IPOB and other agitators to the table to discuss with them, so that the issues behind their agitators can be ironed out. Gumi affirmed that if urgent measures and actions are not taken to curtail the spread of agitations in the country, things may get out of control. He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to invite the agitators so that they would not be radicalized religiously to become terrorists, which would be bad for the country.
Credit: Austin Media.
Now, the issue raised by Gumi which is apparently based on good intentions for the country, is quite commendable. However, if Gumi had made this statement some four years ago, it would have been more possible for the government to take action with regards to what he said.
It is important to note that IPOB were proscribed a terrorist organization by a Federal high court around 2017. This means that in Nigeria, the government views them as terrorists who may be seeking to control a certain region by carrying out undemocratic actions.
If IPOB had been peaceful and law abiding, they may not have been proscribed. Their recent activity in the South-East that has turned the region into a mini war zone is one that deserves a lot of reprobation.
Therefore, Sheikh Gumi may have made a mistake by calling on the Federal Government to negotiate with people who are constitutionally described as terrorists. For instance, would it be right for the Federal Government to say it wants to start negotiations with Boko-Haram insurgents that have been wreaking havoc in the North-East since 2009? I do not think so.
Credit: Metro daily.
If the government heeds to Gumi’s advice and begin to negotiate with agitators in the country, it would not solve the issue, instead, it would create more problems for the country.
I would cite the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta as an example. During the administration of the late Umar Musa Yar’adua, the federal government granted amnesty to militants from the creeks of the Niger Delta in order to curtail the issue of oil bunkering and terrorism in the region.
Instead of curtailing the issues, it escalated them as several groups sprang up and began to cause their own trouble, hoping that the government would add them to the amnesty plan.
Image Composite of Nnamdi Kanu And Sheikh Gumi, used for illustrative purposes.
If the FG resorts to negotiating with IPOB and other secessionist groups and possibly grant them amnesty, many groups would see the route as a quick and sure way to play into the vaults of the country. This is unhealthy for Nigeria, as the lives of the citizens would be at risk as these groups would launch attacks in different parts of the country in order to get the attention of the government. Indeed, there are other good methods that the government can take to solve the issue of agitations in the country.
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