olusegun Ariyo

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo and sheikh Ahmed Abubakar Gumi are calling on federal government to create special court to handle banditry activities and that of kidnapping, ransom demands and unlawful carrying of weapons.

The submission was made public after a closed-door meeting yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where they also agreed that, “hardened criminals must be hard hit with stick while imploring government to punish anybody illegally carrying arms in the country.

Both leaders, in a communiqué issued at the end of parley, traced the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria to “educational and economic disparities, as well as negative use of religion and ethnicity by unscrupulous politicians.”

Obasanjo received Gumi and his team in the presence of Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta, Oba Babajide Bakare, Chairman of Ogun State Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, Chief Imam of Egbaland, Sheikh Sa’addallah Alade Bamigbola, Chief Kenny Martins, Chief Ola Babajide Jaiyeoba, Rev. Tony Ojeshina, Chief Imams of Oke-Ona, Gbagura, Owu and Mr. Vitalis Ortese.

It read; “We identified the crisis as micro ethnic conflict between the Fulani and many host communities mainly in the North West,” the document added.

Those on the delegation to the Abeokuta residence of the ex-Nigerian president included Prof. Usman Yusuf, Mallam Tukur Mamu, Dr. Umar Ardo, Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Suleiman Gumi, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu and Mallam Buba Mohammed.

They challenged the Buhari administration to be proactive, secure necessary and updated intelligence to deal with organised crimes besides having a uniform policy for the nation.

The concerned stakeholders noted: “It is not solving the problem when one state goes for negotiation and molly-cuddling of criminals and another one goes for shooting them. Nor should one state go for ransom payment and another one going against.”

The two elder statesmen beseeched well-meaning Nigerians to be involved in lasting solutions by, “desisting from the blame game, desisting from ethnicism these crimes, desisting from religionising these crimes, desisting from regionalising these crimes, respecting one another individually, community-wise, locally, ethnically, religiously and socially.”

They also enjoined all citizens to, “show tolerance and accommodation where necessary, condemn criminal acts no matter where it is committed and by whom it is committed in Nigeria, encourage more of carrot solution as may be found necessary and share information at all levels.”

The leaders implored the government to do all within its powers to support the military in overcoming the challenges.

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