Published on October 26, 2021
Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has urged Nigerians to stop branding terrorism as banditry.
He said those involved in kidnappings, bombing and assault on fellow beings and are called bandits should be appropriately addressed as terrorists. But Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, warned that the declaration of bandits as terrorists could have a dangerous backlash.
While Akeredolu spoke yesterday at the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) in Abuja with the theme: Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now, Gumi expressed his misgivings in a post on his verified Facebook page.
The governor blamed the nation’s porous borders for the influx of illegal aliens, most of whom are responsible for the nefarious activities in various parts of the country.
Akeredolu stressed that those blowing up railway lines must be addressed as terrorists and treated as such. The Ondo State governor, who was accompanied by his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, and other panelists at the summit, maintained that a nation with failed security and justice systems is set to fail.
“In Ondo State, we don’t have terrorism. Our problem is farmer/herder clashes and kidnap for ransom…
“Yes, you have criminal trespass. It should be treated by the state. All we had before Amotekun was a police that had the duty to arrest and was not prepared to make an arrest. Things are changing and have really changed in Ondo State.
“Today, if you trespass on other people’s land, the Amotekun will go after you and arrest you. They pay compensations to the farmers and when they fail, they are in court. It is the only way you can send signals to the people.”
Gumi warned that the declaration of bandits as terrorists will come with a prize.
According to him, the moment they are declared as terrorists, the situation will become more complicated.
He said: “…The acts the bandits are committing now in the Northwest have gradually, over time, become tantamount to terrorism because wherever innocent people are fatal victims, it’s pure terrorism. Yet, innocence, these days, is relative. We agreed if their children and women are also killed, they are guilty by association or collateral damage; so also the bandits may think the same way…
“However, the moment they are termed terrorists – Islamic for that matter – the direct foreign Jihadist movements will set in force. And many teeming unemployed youths may find it palatable and attractive. Shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ plus AK-47 against a ‘secular’ immoral society where impunity reigns are the magnets for extremists and downtrodden – the majority of our youth…”