Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, has responded to the comments of Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, Army spokesman, on alleged religious bias in the military.
In a statement on Monday, Yerima had asked the cleric to be mindful of his comments against the army.
“Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion merchants are please enjoined to exercise restraint not to drag the image and reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.”
“Most operations conducted by the Nigerian Army are done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
“It is therefore disturbing that an opinion leader would deliberately want to disparage the Nigeria Army to portray it in bad light. The Nigerian Army wishes to seize this opportunity to advise opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognisance the imperative for national security, particularly at this difficult times when our gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackle the myriads of security challenges facing our dear nation.”
Yerima was referring to a video where Gumi was seen telling some people that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non-Muslims.
But speaking with the BBC, the cleric explained that his earlier comments were misunderstood.
He said he was referring to 2010 and 2015 when things were so bad that an army general was killed.
“I saw the Army’s response. What I will say is that there is a misunderstanding in the issues. When I speak about the religious issue in the Army, I am not referring to today’s Army.
“The issue is from 2010-2015 when some people were in charge and a lot of bad things happened.
“It is during that time that there were bombings everywhere. It happened in Jaji and we lost a popular Muslim general. Even, I was saved by God because they planted a bomb for me,” he said.