Editorial: Negotiation: Sheikh Gumi’s New Vocation

Editorial: Negotiation: Sheikh Gumi’s New Vocation
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With increasing insecurity occasioned by kidnapping, rapping, banditry, terrorism and more, across the country, it would not be salutary to gloss over the devastation that these criminal activities have wreaked on the collective psyche of the nation.

It goes without saying that every day presents a fresh kaleidoscope of obnoxious matters relating to unsafe human existence.

Most recently is the recourse to kidnapping of school children whose innocence betrays the overbearing strategists of their abductors. Besides the trauma that these students go through while in captivity, it may be a dangerous trend that could worsen further the already poor school enrollment and out of school children scenario prevalent in these parts where these crimes are taking the front seat.


Our empathy goes to the parents of this large army of victims who have to contend with grave anxiety. It is even more difficult for those whose wards have been kept incommunicado despite all efforts to secure their release. From the Chibok Girls (Borno state), Dapchi Girls(Yobe State), Kankara Boys(Katsina State), Kagara students (Niger State) and Jangebe Girls in Zamfara State, the refrain is similar. School children were abducted in their hundreds. It appears the perpetrators are well groomed in this nefarious act, given their skills of playing with high numbers. That will give them a better bargain it seems.

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The nation’s contemporary security challenges have been overwhelming and the scope is assuming the level of a national emergency even as it has over the years played up all manner of interventions; some puerile and tendentious, others deceptive and unyielding desired results.

Before now, there were a few individuals who claimed they had links with terrorists, especially the Boko Haram sect. Those were largely seen in some quarters as mere opportunists who took advantage of a nation desperate to seek a quick response to the menace of these ‘forces of evil’. Though in formal quarter’s payments of ransom were never accepted as having played out, the truth remains vague and unauthenticated even as many say humungous sums of money were paid through those intermediaries. How much the mediators achieved then is still a matter for further scrutiny. All that was going on against the background of arguments in certain quarters that negotiating with terrorists never achieves expected outcomes.

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More recently, we are confronted by a new negotiator, Sheikh Ahmad A. Gumi who has been negotiating with bandits in parts of the North West. He was seen in videos after which he had granted a couple of media interviews to justify his new role and why the bandits deserve some form of decent treatment. He averred that profiling the bandits as criminals was not especially reinforcing, saying it was the creation of the media and rather turned the heat on Journalists who he described as criminals instead. He took his defence one step further by saying that the bandits who were originally herdsmen are peaceful people.

We are not keen on joining words with the respected cleric on his impressions but we must quickly reconstruct our understanding of the scenarios. If one deviates from his initial disposition to bearing illegal arms amid other disguised atrocities, labelling such a person as innocent is to dilute the situation and insult the sensibility of most Nigerians who think otherwise.

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AljazirahNigeria disagrees with this man in his new vocation and label the criminal elements within the enclave of herders as criminals.

Gumi must be careful in what he says in this chosen vocation as he is not the first in the practice and may yet not be the last. He must understand the uncharitable responses that have followed the activities of his predecessors where they have been seen as dubious and self-serving in the course of the self-imposed assignment which is obviously counter-productive as can be seen in the unending kidnappings.


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