The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has warned the Islamic cleric, Sheik Gumi, to desist from comparing members of the group with terrorists.
IPOB said it was insulting for Gumi to have likened freedom fighters to “blood-sucking demons in human clothing.”
The Nnamdi Kanu-led group was reacting on Monday to reports in which the Islamic cleric said the bandits rampaging in the North and parts of the South were like the Biafra and Oduduwa Republic agitators.
Also on Monday, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) faulted Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed for backing Gumi’s meeting with bandits in the Northwest.
In a statement on Monday by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB accused Gumi of being one of the hardened supporters of terrorism.
It said that the statement, if true, had exposed Gumi’s real identity.
IPOB described terrorism and banditry in Nigeria as common agenda of the Caliphate to decimate the indigenous populations and ultimately Fulanise the country.
The statement reads: “We the global IPOB family under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, read with incredulity, a provocative remark credited to the so-called acclaimed Islamic cleric, Sheik Gumi, that bandits and freedom fighters are the same.
Gumi in the said media report, allegedly compared agitators of Biafra and Oduduwa Republics with his Fulani bandits rampaging the North and ravaging parts of the South.
“Such a statement if true has simply unmasked and exposed the real identity of this man masquerading as an Islamic cleric when in actual fact he is one of the hardened supporters of Fulani terrorism.
“With such ignorance laden-utterance from a supposed Islamic scholar, the world does not need to look far for the real sponsors of banditry and terrorism in Nigeria. We now know those behind the killing spree and evil agenda to decimate indigenous ethnic populations and non-muslim communities across Nigeria.
“Before now Nigerians were deceived into believing that bandits and other agents of terror on a rampage all over Nigeria were invisible and without a fixed address. How come this pretender and self-acclaimed Islamic cleric knew where to find the bandits?
“He even posed for a picture with gun-wielding murderers and was very proud of it. How was it that this man managed to locate the hideouts of these mass murderers but Nigeria Airforce cannot? How come there hasn’t been any invasion or bombing of any of these bandit settlements in the North but the same Nigeria Airforce was quick to deploy fighter jets to be terrorising innocent citizens in Orlu?
“Not only did Sheik Gumi wine and dine with the bandits, he has also suddenly become their advocate. He has gone to the extent of comparing bloodsuckers with self-determination activists. What a national embarrassment!
“In his warped mind, Sheik Gumi can no longer differentiate between self-determination which is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and terrorism which is a crime. This hypocrisy has confirmed our earlier position that terrorism and banditry in Nigeria are common agenda of the Caliphate.
“ISWAP, bandits, and Fulani herdsmen are one and the same people whose common aim is to decimate the indigenous populations in Nigeria and ultimately ‘Fulanise’ the country. Sheikh Gumi should remove that dirty rag he is fond of wearing on his head to allow fresh air to cool his brain.
“It’s an insult to freedom fighters all over the world to be compared with blood-sucking demons in human clothing like Fulani herdsmen. If we may ask Gumi, going by his lame argument, is Nicola Sturgeon the leader of Scotland a terrorist or bandit?
“Are the bandits he was drinking Burukutu within the forests of Zamfara peace ambassadors? We want to let Gumi and his fellow Fulani Boko Haram and bandits to understand that Biafrans will never allow Fulani to take any inch of Biafraland under the guise of one Nigeria fake unity.
“Gumi is … not just an apologist for terrorism in Nigeria… He knows that a miscreant is better than a murderous bandit any day any time.
“He should also know that those holding meetings with killers and advocating the integration of bandits and other terrorist groups into an imaginary amnesty program are nothing but their sponsors.
“Other ethnic groups and nationalities may fall or capitulate before the hegemonic might of the Fulani Caliphate in Nigeria but not those of us from the East.”
In Abuja, HURIWA said it was alarmed that the bandits were ready to listen to the cleric than the government.
It added in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, that Gumi’s meeting with about 500 bandits put to question, everything that the Nigerian security agencies were purportedly doing to rid the country of criminality.
It added: “More worrisome is that the Minister of Information and Culture …while featuring on TVC’s ‘This Morning’ show on Friday said there was “nothing unusual for the renowned Islamic scholar to act as a bridge between the government and bandits terrorising Zamfara State.
“This shows an unacceptable level of complacency on the part of the Nigerian security forces; conspiracy on the part of leaders in the North and lack of readiness to genuinely address the problem on the part of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The group also expressed worry over the killing of a former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association in Imo State, Ndionyenma Nwankwo and the recent abduction of the Catholic Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Diocese, Moses Chikwe.
HURIWA therefore tasked “Imo State people to demand action from the state administration and ask their governor to stay back in Owerri and administer good governance.”