Dr. Ahmad Mahmud Gumi is an Islamic scholar, a son to Shiek Abubakar Mahmud Gumi, a fiery and outspoken father of the Izala movement in Nigeria—a movement that advocates puritanical Islamic teachings that went sour against a Sufi tradition which held sway across West Africa, especially during the colonial era.
His father was a vociferous scholar during the colonial era. Abubakar Gumi believed at the time that the colonial evaders’ indirect rule was systematically targeting northern emirs and destroying Islamic teachings, in a desperate move to westernize the entire north.
He became a staunch critic of the Sufis; admonishing that syncretism and mysticisms; the fundamental principles that define Sufism do not hold any water in Islamic jurisprudence.
To put this into context, it could be said that his son—Dr Ahmad Gumi inherited his father’s oratorical rhetoric. In an interview with Punch Newspaper, Gumi did not mince words; he lambasted, insulted and smeared the President; arguing that insecurity is worse under Buhari that it was under Jonathan’s regime. He described northerners as illiterates, rascals and fanatical supporters who do not “counteract” arguments with knowledge. “When you try to correct the president, they come out in their millions trying to abuse you. They don’t even counteract your points with knowledge.”
In all Gumi’s arguments, what I found most unfortunate and disgusting was that insecurity; and precisely kidnapping is worse under Buhari, than it was under Jonathan. In fact he was with the impression that there were no kidnappings under Jonathan.
“Somebody I know very well was kidnapped while coming from the railway station towards Mando. They are looking for N1.5 million to secure his freedom. Insecurity has become worse…there is no security in the country. I was told that a girl was stabbed in Kaduna recently by thugs who were trying to snatch her phone. They killed an undergraduate just because of a phone. What has Nigeria turned into? During Jonathan’s time, these things were not happening”. Really?
Now let’s work with statistics and subject Gumi’s arguments into test—and examine whether there was no insecurity and in particular, kidnappings under Jonathan—so that we will “counteract” him with knowledge.
In September 2010, gunmen kidnapped three French crewmen in the oil-rich Niger-Delta working for marine service company, Bourbon. The kidnappers vow not to release them until ransom was paid. It happened during Jonathan’s regime!
In November 2010, the Nigerian Army was reported to have arrested suspected gang of kidnappers who earlier abducted 19 people in the oil rich Niger-Delta region. The gang demanded huge amount of money as ransom before releasing the hostages. It happened during Jonathan’s regime!
In June 2011, some sorts of Gunmen were again reported to have abducted five volunteers in Port Harcourt, the home of Patience Jonathan, the president’s wife. It also happened during Jonathan’s regime!
Again, in August, 2012, also during Jonathan’s regime, gunmen were reported to have stormed oil-ship, killed two Nigerian sailors and kidnapped four foreign nationals and demanded ransom.
In December 2012, the BBC reported Pirates attacking ship crew off the Niger-Delta, stealing personal belongings and kidnapped five Indian nationals. It happened during Jonathan’s regime!
In December 2012, in Jonathan’s home state of Bayelsa, Gunmen kidnapped six people, out of which were four foreign nationals working for a South Korean construction firm, Hyundai. Ransom was also demanded before their release. It happened during Jonathan’s regime!
Behold, the worst kidnapping in Nigeria’s history happened during Jonathan’s regime—over 276 school girls were abducted in Chibok, Borno state.
Still in connection to the Boko Haram imbroglio, more than 20 women were also kidnapped in June 2014, at the eve of Jonathan’s ousting, also during his regime!
Amnesty International in the build up to 2015 elections released disturbing reports. Amnesty says since Boko Haram “began its campaign of violence after the police killed the group’s leader in an extrajudicial execution in 2009, they have lead a merciless campaign of killings and horror – with at least 350 raids and bombings between 2013 and 2014 killing at least 5,400 civilians”—also during Jonathan’s administration!
More than 7,000 – people died of starvation, suffocation or torture while held in military detention since March 2011.
More than 1,400 – corpses delivered from Giwa barracks to one mortuary in Maiduguri in June 2013.
At least 1,200 – men and boys extrajudicially executed by the Nigerian military in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa since February 2012.
More than 5,500 – people killed by Boko Haram between 2014 and March 2015.
At least 2,000 – number of young women and girls abducted by Boko Haram since 2014.
All the foregoing happened during Jonathan’s reign as reported by Amnesty International
All the foregoing is a tip of the iceberg under Jonathan, contrary to Gumi’s nauseating claims.
However, this is not to absorb Buhari of blames. It’s the responsibility of every President to ensure that the territorial integrity of this country and its citizens are protected. That is sacrosanct. We shall continue to offer constructive criticisms where they matter. Everyone should.
But Shiek Gumi should be reminded that the Qur’an warns believers thus: Show integrity for the sake of Allah, bearing witness with justice. Do not let hatred for a people incite you into not being just. Be just. That is closer to taqwa (Qur’an 5:8)
Shiek, what you said is blatant disregard to the truth, human decency and an abdication of the knowledge of the Qur’an you have, just to smear and denigrate the President.
It’s quite unfortunate!
Haruna Mohammed Salisu is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org