Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed has stated the Federal Government was aware of talks between renowned Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi and bandits terrorising Zamfara State.
He said it was not unusual for the cleric to act as a bridge between the government and the bandits.
Mohammed spoke while featuring on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show monitored by The Nation.
He said the government was using some back channels to address the security challenges, adding the bandits might be ready to listen to the cleric than they would to the government.
The Nation had reported Sheikh Gumi visited different bandits’ camps in Zamfara to spread the message of Islam and peace in order to rid the country of kidnappings and banditry.
“Let there be peace; you all have a legitimate concern and grievances and I believe that since the Niger Delta armed militants were integrated by the Federal Government and are even in the business of pipelines protection, the Federal Government should immediately look into how something like that will be done to the Fulani to provide them with reasonable means of livelihood including jobs, working capitals, entrepreneurship training, building clinic and schooling,” Sheikh Gumi had told the bandits during the visits.
When asked on Friday whether the visits by the cleric were under some special covers, Mohammed said: “When you want to resolve an issue like this, you use lots of back channels.
“Again, it is not unusual for a respected cleric to have the confidence of (approaching) outlaws or bandits. As a matter of fact, they are probably ready to listen to him more than they are ready to listen to the government. They are probably ready to believe him more.
“So, it is not unusual for him to act as a bridge between government and the outlaws in an attempt to find solution.
“What I am sure is that he must be working for peace.”