Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

    The Nigerian Armed Forces has finally answered the burning question on the lips of many Nigerians as to why the Islamic preacher, Muhammed Gumi is still a ‘free man’ saying that they would not “prevent anyone from playing his part in the resolution of the fight against insecurity.”

    This clarification was made by none other than the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor who also dismissed the perception in many quarters that the military operations in the South-east were discriminatory and specifically targeted at the people of the zone. The Military Chief, who disclosed that the six remaining Tucano planes expected from the United States of America would be delivered to the country on the 28th of this month, also debunked a report credited to the Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere alleging that terrorists have infiltrated the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and the neighbouring cities. Irabor stated these at the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.

    Asked why the Army has not deemed it fit to arrest the Islamic preacher, Muhammed Gumi, who has been advocating for amnesty for the bandits in the North West, Irabor clarified that the cleric was not working for the military and that the Armed Forces would not prevent anyone from playing his part in the resolution of the fight against insecurity. According to him: “What was not acceptable to the military was when such persons work at cross purposes with security agencies’ objectives.”

    Responding to a question on why the Army chose to negotiate with bandits in the North West and rehabilitate repentant Boko Haram insurgents in the North East but opted to scale up military operations in the South East, the four-star general said challenges of insecurity in the country were peculiar to each region. According to him: “What you find in the South East is different from what is obtainable in the North.”

    He added that despite the military engagement in the South East, he had led discussions with people of the area stressing that while Nigerians have the right to pass their views to the government, they must not do so through the use of violence.

    “If anyone thinks they can try the armed forces, let him try the shape of the armed forces,” the CDS warned. Responding to the alarm raised by Afenifere, Irabor said such was a mere social media issue. “That report is not true, though we are making sure that anyone that has a desire that it does not happen.

    It is not a true report.” Concerning the Tucano jets, the Military Chief explained that they were initially billed to be delivered by September 23 but for some issues, including weather reports, before the new date of October 28 was arrived at. Asked where bandits were concentrated, he said they were essentially in the North West but were making inroads into the North Central. He, however, later clarified that they could not be confined to any region.

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