Banditry: FG invites Gumi for interrogation!

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*Says controversial Islamic cleric is not above the law

*That invitation follows his statements on abduction of 280 pupils, teachers in Kaduna

*Gumi had offered to negotiate with terrorists responsible for Kaduna abduction

*Insists that no ransom was paid for release of abducted Kuriga students

By Mathew Dadiya

The Federal Government has taken a firm stance regarding the controversial Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, saying he is not above the law and has already been invited for questioning.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, made this disclosure while responding to questions from State House Correspondents on Monday after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.

Following statements made by Sheikh Gumi in relation to the abduction of over 280 pupils and teachers in Kaduna State, the minister said the government has deemed it necessary to invite him for questioning.

The minister emphasised that no ransom was paid for recently freed abducted students from Kuriga in Kaduna State, reiterating President Tinubu’s directive to ensure their safe return without any financial concessions to criminal elements.

Gumi’s offer to negotiate with the terrorists responsible for the abductions has raised concerns by Nigerians questioning why he has not been invited for interrogation.

The Minister highlighted that Gumi is not above the law and must be held accountable for his actions and statements. The government’s position reflects a zero-tolerance policy towards negotiating with bandits and underscores the importance of upholding law and order in addressing security challenges.

This move comes amidst growing pressure on the government to address the escalating security crisis in Nigeria, particularly concerning the safety of schoolchildren and internally displaced persons.

The minister said: “Government will stop at nothing to get any kind of information that is required to solve our problems the security agencies are up and doing. Sheik Gumi or any other individuals are not above the law, if he has suggestions that are good enough and that are constructive enough for the security agencies to take, they will take but if they think that he is also making some statements that appear to be reckless, he will also be reprimanded.”

“There is nobody that is above the law. Let me put it here. And I’m aware that he has also been a guest of security agencies to answer questions. When you make remarks, especially remarks that border on our national security it is incumbent on our national security to think further and they are doing just that, no one is above the law”, he said.

Speaking on Kuriga children release, Idris said: “As promised by Mr. President, they have been rescued. No ransom was paid.”

He expressed President Tinubu’s gratitude to the National Security Adviser, Service Chiefs, and all those who played crucial roles in securing the students’ release.

Idris also revealed that President Tinubu has charged security agencies to intensify efforts to halt the menace of kidnapping across the country.

“The Council was briefed on the School of children Kuriga Kaduna State, and Sokoto. Mr President and members of council were happy to note that as promised by Mr. President, these children were reunited or had been rescued from these captors and as usual and in keeping with the commitment of Mr. President no ransom was paid.

“The Federal Executive Council and Mr. The President is very grateful to especially the National Security Adviser, the service chiefs and all security agents who participated diligently in ensuring that these kidnapped children are reunited with their families.

“Government is determined to ensure that the lives and property of all Nigerians are protected at all times and Mr. President has also charged security agencies to ensure that these kidnappings are finally brought to a halt in this country.

“Indeed, all those who are participating in this criminal act will be fished out by the security agencies and will never go unpunished.

School authorities had told the state government that a total of 287 students were kidnapped when motorcycle-riding gunmen invaded the remote Kuriga School March 7. However, Kaduna Gov. Uba Sani told local media late Sunday that only 137 young people had been abducted during the attack.

Addressing doubts on the number of children kidnapped and released, the minister said: “On reports that 287 of these children were taking in, what I can tell you is that there is no report that any of these kidnap victims either died or has been withheld.

“So those that have been taken have been brought back safely to their families. I can tell you that”, he added.

School authorities had told the state government that a total of 287 students were kidnapped when motorcycle-riding gunmen invaded the remote Kuriga School March 7.

However, Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani told local media late Sunday that only 137 young people had been abducted during the attack.