In order to curb the nation’s challenge of insecurity, a former Nigerian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and a prominent Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi have recommended the creation of special courts to handle cases of kidnapping, banditry and unlawful carrying of weapons.
They gave this recommendation among others to the Federal Government in a joint statement signed by the former president and the Islamic scholar when he visited Obasanjo at his Abeokuta pent-house presidential residence in Ogun State on Sunday.
The cleric briefed the former president of his continued efforts to find solutions to the general insecurity in the country and particularly to the menace of banditry, kidnapping and ransom payment.
Those who accompanied Sheikh Gumi, according to the statement issued after the meeting, are Prof. Usman Yusuf, Mallam Tukur Mamu, Dr. Umar Ardo, Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Honourable Suleiman Gumi, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu and Mallam Buba Mohammed.
Also Chief Obasanjo received Sheikh Gumi and his delegation in the presence of Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta, Oba Babajide Bakre,Chairman of Ogun State Christian Association of Nigeria; Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, Chief Imam of Egbaland; Sheikh Sa’addallah Alade Bamigbola, Chief Kenny Martins, Chief Ola Babajide Jaiyeoba; Rev. Tony Ojeshina, Chief Imams of Oke-Ona, Gbagura, Owu and Mr. Vitalis Ortese.
In the statement made available to our correspondent, they equally urged the Federal Government to be proactive, secure necessary and updated intelligence to deal with organised crimes and have common policy for the nation.
They noted that it would not be solving the insecurity challenge when “one state goes for negotiation and molly-cuddling of criminals and another one goes for shooting them. Nor should one state go for ransom payment and another one going against it.”
They agreed that Education wad one main key to solve the problem in the long run but it must start now, stating that the 14 million children that should be in school “and are out of school must be put in school with local authorities, state governments and federal government working together.
While they suggested that hardened criminals must be hard hit with stick, and unlawful carrying of arms should be seriously punished, they added that the the Federal Government should take the issue of cross-border banditry up with the Economic Community of West African States in working out a regional solution.
Obasanjo and Gumi appealed to the state governments to have adequate means of providing security for the people within their states, as they are the Chief security officers in their states.
Gumi and his host also suggested that FG should wean those bandits and criminals who were ready to be weaned out of the bushes and crime, rehabilitate them, provide them with necessary skills and offer them employment.
They noted that the military had remained the strongest and most potent instrument and symbol of national unity since the end of the civil war, and it must remain so.
Obasanjo and Gumi advocated that security should be the responsibility of every Nigerian and communities should be empowered to stand firm against criminals.
The statement indicated further, “There should be protection and reward covertly for whistle blowers against criminals living in the community.
“We agreed to continue to work together for solutions for the security of Nigeria and to seek others to join us as we widely circulate our joint statement.”
Gumi said he had extended an invitation to his host to visit Kaduna with a view to continuing the discourse which he had agreed.