The Kaduna State office of the Department of State Services, DSS, yesterday invited and questioned controversial cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, over his recent allegations, during an interview on Arise Television that some security agents were aiding and benefiting from bandits ravaging communities in the North.
At the DSS office, sources close to Gumi said he was questioned on his statement during the interview, “and the cleric clarified his declaration, saying he did not accuse the entire military and other security agencies of aiding bandits but “the bad eggs in the security agencies.”
The sources said the cleric was subsequently cautioned on his utterances by the DSS detectives and allowed to go home.
Spokesman of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, confirmed the invitation of Gumi by the service, adding, “It may not be unconnected with his claim that security agencies were colluding with bandits in the spate of kidnapping for ransom afflicting the nation.”
Afunanya said further: “Gumi was invited as a person of interest. The service invited Sheikh Gumi. It is not out of place for it to invite any person of interest.”
During the Arise TV interview last Wednesday, the cleric, who is known to have access to the bandits, said: “These bandits, if you don’t know, are cooperating with a lot of bad elements in our security system. This is a business. So many people are involved, you’ll be so surprised.
“They were caught in Zamfara; they were caught everywhere, how do these big weapons cross our borders? How can these big weapons cross our borders and get into the forest without the cooperation of some bad element of the security operatives assisting them? It’s not possible. If I give you the same amount of guns, can you take them to the UK? You can’t because the security is alert.”
The Nigerian Army kicked against the cleric’s claims and warned that it would not condone acts sabotaging its efforts.
Onyema Nwachukwu, the Army’s spokesperson, said: “It is essential to remind ourselves that this same military, being accused of connivance, are the ones who recently put their lives on the line to rescue abductees of the Government Secondary School, Birnin Yauri, from kidnappers.
“While the Nigerian Army will not attempt to excuse the possibility of black sheep amongst its fold, it must be stated unambiguously that it will not condone any form of sabotage or aiding and assisting the enemy by any personnel.”
Also, Gumi’s spokesman, Tukur Mamu, in an interview with the VOA yesterday, dismissed the allegation against Gumi, saying there was nowhere in the TV interview when the cleric categorically accused the entire military of aiding bandits.
The spokesman explained that what Gumi said was “what people have been saying and even the soldiers have been saying is that there could be some bad eggs among them.”
But the Kaduna-based cleric yesterday evening debunked reports that he was either quizzed or invited for questioning by the DSS over his remarks on security agencies.
Speaking after presiding over a Jummat service at the Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna State, Sheikh Gumi said all his interventions with bandits inside the forest were done in collaboration with the support of the government and security agencies, hence he did not commit any offence.
“Nobody Invited me for questioning or any arrest, I can say that categorically,” the Sheik said, adding, “since I ventured into the forest, I went there with full security, the police, with the knowledge of the DSS, traditional rulers and the Fulani leaders, I never went alone”.
He also insisted that he never made any disparaging remarks against the military during his recent live interview on national television.
According to him, there was nowhere in the TV interview that he categorically accused the entire military.