The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused Kaduna State-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, of being responsible for the increasing activities of bandits in the northern part of the country.
The Christian organisation demanded a thorough probe on the activities of Sheikh Gumi, expressing concerns that the security crises and banditry in the north would be prolonged as the Almajiri system continued unchecked.
The Imo State CAN Chairman, Rev Dr Divine Eches, raised the concerns in an interview in Abuja ahead of its 45th anniversary and Founder’s Day scheduled for Friday in Owerri.
He advised that the Nigerian government should caution Sheikh Gumi whose utterances, he said, had emboldened the bandits, thereby promoting their inhumane acts in the North.
He maintained that except drastic measures were taken to curb the Almajiri system, banditry would remain in northern Nigeria for a long time with devastating effects on the socio-economic lives of the people.
He said, “You can’t have the Almajiri system of life and government in the last 40 years in our nation, bringing up people without any trace to families, hometowns or nationalities. These children are scattered all over the streets, without you knowing that someday, they would leave the streets and go to the bush where they would begin to do the trade of kidnapping.
“Also, you can’t, in a sane nation, have the likes of Sheikh Gumi, a religious scholar, going about promoting banditry and you don’t think that this will continue. Yet, that is what we are seeing today. We are not seeing anything more than what we have planted.
"We allowed this thing (insecurity) to continue and it is now going to consume the nation if drastic measures are not put in place to take them (Almajiri) out of the streets. Give them a sense of belonging, put them in school, and help them realise their potential.
"These bandits were the Almajiri who used to be in front of our houses and begging. Howbeit, we are praying and that is why God is still sustaining our nation. I trust God will continue to sustain us in Jesus name."