Nigerian Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has dismissed comparisons between proscribed separatist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and armed herdsmen.
According to him, members of the proscribed IPOB carry out deadly attacks on men of the country’s military and on state facilities while herdsmen only engage in kidnapping children for financial rewards.
Gumi stated this on Wednesday when he appeared on ARISE News, The Morning Show.
He also called for “fairness” in the comparison between the two groups, saying one “is killing our gallant men” while the other is “kidnapping children to make money and not to kill them”.
“IPOB is attacking the police, the army, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other government institutions; killing our men in service,” he said.
”And the herdsmen are kidnapping children not to kill them but to get money; so how can you compare somebody who is killing our gallant men directly to somebody who is kidnapping children to make money and not to kill them. Look, we need some fairness in what we are doing.”
Bandits have kidnapped over 800 school children across the north since December 2020.
The security challenge has led to the death several students, notably the killing of five Greenfield University students.
Since IPOB launched its militia arm called Eastern Security Network (ESN) a few months ago, attacks on security operatives and government infrastructure have surged. A number of security operatives have been killed by the militia.
He however called on the federal government to hold talks with IPOB as well as armed herdsmen and bandits to get to know the issues behind their agitations.
He told ARISE News that the herdsmen are willing to cooperate with the federal government to put an end to their acts of terrorism.