The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has replied popular Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, over comparison with armed bandits.
Gumi had in an interview with Arise TV on Wednesday, said it is unfair to compare bandits with IPOB, saying the former only kidnap schoolchildren for money, while the former attack and kill security agencies.
“IPOB is attacking the police, the army, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and other government institutions; killing our men in service,” Gumi had 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.”
Reacting, Emma Powerful, IPOB’s media and publicity secretary, in a statement, said it is a shame that Gumi has become spokesperson for bandits and terrorists in the country.
He accused the cleric of sponsoring banditry in Nigeria, adding that he is fond of defending them and championing their cause.
The group’s spokesman said ESN, the militia arm of IPOB was created to defend Igboland from rampaging Fulani marauders.
The group asked security agencies to arrest and prosecute the Kaduna-based preacher.
“The attention of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, led by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to the latest ranting and ridiculous claims by terrorist apologist, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, that IPOB, and Eastern Security Network, ESN, were killing Northerners. There is no iota of truth in such a mischievous and fallacious claim”, Powerful said.
“In case the self-acclaimed Islamic cleric has forgotten, may we remind him that neither IPOB nor ESN is a terrorist organisation or killers like his bandit clients and allies. Spilling of blood is never part of our mandate.
“ESN is a child of necessity created for the defence of our ancestral land against terrorists and killer herdsmen wreaking havoc across our communities. ESN is only defending our hapless mothers and sisters who have been raped, maimed and attacked without any justification by Fulani herdsmen.
“Since December 2020 when ESN was set up by our leader, these vampires have been on the run because of the heat from our gallant operatives across Biafran forests. For Sheikh Gumi who never gave a hoot while killer herdsmen rampaged our communities to try to twist the fact now is not only mischief but an act of terror itself”.
The secessionist group also denied allegations that it had been attacking northerners living in the South-east.
IPOB stated that Gumi was only looking for a fault to blackmail the group.
“No Northerner in any part of Biafra land can prove that he/she has at any time been attacked by IPOB or ESN. We are only chasing terrorists and bandits behind killings and kidnapping for ransom in our land.
“Gumi should be ashamed that an Islamic cleric as he claims has suddenly become a mouthpiece for bandits and terrorists. Why does Gumi have a special interest in bandits and terrorists is an indication that he is a terrorist but has never shown any empathy to their victims of other Nigerians (sic).
“Why is Gumi always advocating for terrorists and negotiating with them but never advanced the cause of victims of terror? What does Sheikh Gumi have in common with bandits and terrorists?
“Gumi only wants to blackmail IPOB and ESN with his fabricated propaganda he is, that we are attacking Northerners so as to provide more justification for his Fulani terrorist security agencies in Nigeria uniforms to come after innocent people as they are currently doing.
“This terror sympathiser wants to lessen the heat on his boys by instigating the security agencies against us. Can you see why Sheikh Gumi should be arrested for investigations and interrogations?
“We want to put the world on notice that Sheikh Gumi is the main sponsor of banditry and terrorism in Nigeria. He should be made to face the consequences of his actions. For holding talks with terrorists and championing their cause, he has a case to answer in the atrocities
“But we promise Gumi and his likes that no amount of distraction will make us back down on our resolve to restore Biafra, and defend our ancestral land against invasion by Fulani jihadists. We are formidable and we won’t give up on this mandate. ESN will not allow any person to occupy our forests again,” the statement added.