By Our Correspondent
A renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has expressed readiness to join the negotiation team of President Bola Tinubu’s government if he is invited.
Sheikh Gumi disclosed this while speaking in an interview with Trust TV on Saturday.
Recall that, at the height of banditry in the North West during the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Gumi played mediatory role and brought out many Fulani armed militia from the bushes before the project was abandoned.
When asked, if he would accept should President Tinubu call him to continue from where stopped, Gumi simply said, “Yes.”
He said, “You see, it is not only establishing contact, it is about confidence. We have built a bridge of confidence, not just contact. I think this is the time to come down and put everything on the table. But let the approach be holistic. That is my advice to the security chiefs.
“It is not only me. I know experts in this area who have gone and met them. We are all talking together, we are putting a blueprint. It has to be holistic.
“We are afraid that some people may try to hijack this project for some material gains. It has to be holistic because everybody involved who is capable should be brought on the table.
“Emirs, religious scholars and the military should be brought in let’s see how we can get out of this mess. The bandits should also come in.”
Gumi noted that he does not necessarily have to lead the negotiations, but would willing to be part of any government-approved group saddled with the responsibility to carry out negotiations.
The scholar stressed on the need for a holistic approach that involves scholars, emirs, and professors working together to restore lasting peace to the affected areas.
Gumi said, “I don’t have to lead it but I would volunteer myself to be part of it. It’s not about leadership; it’s about a holistic package that addresses the issue.”
Meanwhile, Sheikh Gumi said he is willing to go back and finish what he started if there is a commitment from the Tinubu administration.
Gumi, a medical doctor, who retired as captain in the Nigerian Army, said the Tinubu has taken the right course in the fight against insecurity in the country.
He stated, “They are starting from the scratch, so I think they have the opportunity to learn and take the right course. I think that having Nuhu Ribadu as the National Security Adviser is a positive step for us in this area.
“However, I hope he would not be a figurehead; the security chiefs should cooperate with him and coordinate with him.”
Gumi, however, said what was usually lacking in the previous administrations was lack of coordination.
He said, “Different services are also in competition; in fact, they are jealous of one another, so they don’t cooperate and coordinate their actions. I think we can have peace if there is coordination.”
Recall that the former Zamfara governor, Senator Sani Yarima, had earlier called for negotiations with bandits, just as government involved in negotiation with the Niger Delta militants.