Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheik Ahmad Gumi, have urged the Federal Government to be proactive, secure updated intelligence in combating the insecurity ravaging some parts of the country.
The duo of OBJ and Gumi in a statement they jointly signed and issued after a closed-door meeting, held at the Penthouse residence of Obasanjo located within the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, on Sunday, also agreed that there must be a common policy for the nation in addressing security issues.
Gumi had led a delegation of eight to meet the former president as part of continued efforts to find lasting solutions to the general insecurity in the country.
Those on the entourage of Sheik Gumi were Prof. Usman Yusuf; Mallam Tukur Mamu; Dr. Umar Ardo; Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi; Honourable Suleiman Gumi; Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu and Mallam Buba Mohammed.
While Obasanjo received the delegation in the presence of the Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta, Oba Babajide Bakre; the Chairman of Ogun State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya; the Chief Imam of Egbaland, Sheikh Sa’addallah Alade Bamigbola; Chief Kenny Martins; Chief Ola Babajide Jaiyeoba; Rev. Tony Ojeshina and Chief Imams of Oke-Ona, Gbagura and Owu and Mr. Vitalis Ortese.
Gumi had informed Obasanjo about his efforts to stem the tide of banditry; kidnapping and ransom payment in some parts of the North confronted with these challenges.
They both acknowledged that some Nigerians and people from outside the country are engaged in these crimes, hence the need for all Nigerians to be actively involved in finding ways to resolve them.
Both advised state governments to provide adequate security for their people, saying ” it is not solving the problem when one state goes for negotiation and molly-cuddling of criminals and another one goes for shooting them. Nor should one state go for ransom payment and another one going against.
The statement said: “The menace of banditry, kidnapping, other crimes and atrocities leading to general insecurity is a nationwide phenomenon.
“We acknowledge that people from different parts of the country and outside the country are involved although some people are more predominantly involved than others.
“We must not advertently or inadvertently, in words, action or inaction encourage or support criminality. We acknowledge that the security situation has gone beyond tolerance.
“We identified the crisis as micro ethnic conflict between the Fulani and many host communities mainly in the North West.
“We identified the remote causes as educational and economic disparities, and the negative use of religion and ethnicity by unscrupulous politicians. Solutions must be seen and provided on short, medium, and long-term bases and must be composed of stick and carrot for the offender and the vulnerable.”
The duo was of the opinion that special courts be created to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons.
They also identified education as one of the key factors that could be deployed to solve security challenges, with advice to the government at all levels on why they must collaborate in ensuring that 14 million children out-of-school are educated.
“Education is one main key to solve the problem in the long run but it must start now. The 14 million children that should be in school and are out of school must be put in school with local authorities, state governments and federal government working together.
“Wean those who are ready to be weaned out of the bushes and crime, settle and rehabilitate them, give them skills, empower them and let them have employment,” the statement added.
He, therefore, extended an invitation to Obasanjo to visit Kaduna with a view to continuing the discourse already started to which OBJ accepted.
Obasanjo appreciated Gumi’s initiative and urged him not to relent in his efforts in promoting peace.