A renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has said those agitating for Biafra and Oduduwa Republics are not different from the Boko Haram sect terrorists.
Gumi stated this in an interview with BBC Pidgin on Saturday while reflecting on the insecurity situation in the country.
The cleric said it would be unfair to claim Nigerians want the country divided because of the activities of some “miscreants” who are only pushing their own different ideologies and interests.
The cleric claimed that majority of Nigerians want a united nation where peace and equity abound.
The Murtala example
He said: “I usually give an example of General Murtala Mohammed, the former head of state from Kano that was assassinated by the Buka Suka Dimka-led group.
“He married a Yoruba wife. So, where do you want his children to go if the nation is divided?
“Are they going to be with the Yorubas or Hausas in the North?
“Look, let’s forget these useless youths. They’re no more different from these herdsmen.
“These people agitating for Ododuwa, Biafra or Arewa are all the same group of people with Boko Haram.
“Majority of Nigerians want to stay with Nigeria. And if they are in doubt, let’s conduct a referendum.
“Look at elections for instance, millions of votes from all the states, whether from APC or PDP.
“This means that Nigerians are ready to stay with a united Nigeria. That is an indirect referendum which shows that the people are ready.
“So, all these youths that are making noise, whether Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram, Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB and their Ododuwa counterpart, they are just a tiny minority of Nigerians using ethnic, archaic and retrogressive sentiments to destabilise the nation.
“But l can vouch that Nigerians really want to stay together in peace. But in peace and equity. Not any segment of Nigeria is cheated.”
Buttressing his point, Gumi said the fact that Yoruba and Igbo leaders did not endorse such calls for secession showed they are unpopular opinions championed by few disgruntled persons.
“I’m in Sokoto now, there still are many Igbo traders here who don’t want to go back home, so why do you tell me they want Biafra?
“Biafra is a nuisance just like Boko Haram. You think every northerner is a Boko Haram [militant]?
“Most Nigerians don’t want these ethnic or religious groups. They simply want peace and [to] live together as nation.
If truly the Yorubas are agitating for Oduduwa, why are their leaders not talking about it? Why are Igbo leaders also not talking about Biafra?” he queried.
He said it has become imperative for Yoruba and Igbo leaders to prevent such groups from fanning embers of war in their regions.
Gumi said he has already teamed up with some stakeholders in the North to ensure deadly groups such as Boko Haram and Bandits ravaging the region lay down their arms through dialogue and rehabilitation.
“What we expect is for Yoruba leaders and Igbo leaders to take care of their miscreants as we handle herdsmen and Boko Haram which are miscreants in the North. Every leader should take the words to their people. Only the miscreants are fuelling this,” he added.
The cleric also called on the federal government to grant amnesty to bandits across the country just like it did for Niger Delta militants.
He said bandits emerged due to government’s failure to provide for their basic needs.