Prominent Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, has revealed what transpired in the meeting he had with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday.
The cleric and some religious leaders met with Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun state capital.
At the end of the meeting, both men issued a statement on what they discussed.
Gumi said he invited Obasanjo to Kaduna, where he is based, and the ex-president accepted the invitation.
He said the two of them demanded establishment of special courts to “deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons.”
In a 21-point recommendations, Obasanjo and Gumi urged the Federal Government to take the issue of insecurity within ECOWAS in order to seek a regional solutions.
They also cautioned Nigerians to desist from blame game, ethnicising and religionising crimes, and urged respect for one another individually, community-wise, locally, ethnically, religiously and socially.
They said, “Federal government must be proactive, secure necessary and updated intelligence to deal with organised crimes and have common policy for the nation. It is not solving the problem 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.
“Education is one main key to solve the problem in the long run but it must start now. 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.
“Wean those who are ready to be weaned out of the bushes and crime, settle and rehabilitate them, give them skills, empower them and let them have employment.
“The hardened criminals must be hard hit with stick. Unlawful carrying of arms should be very seriously punished.
“Federal government should take the issue up seriously within ECOWAS to work for a regional solution.
“Every community must be encouraged and empowered to stand firm and strong against criminals.
“Special courts should be created to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons. Let the slogan be: Security is the responsibility of all Nigerians.
“We agree 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. To this end, Sheik Gumi has extended an invitation to Chief Obasanjo to visit Kaduna with a view to continuing the discourse started today and Chief Obasanjo has graciously accepted.
“We conclude that to keep Nigeria safe and secure for all Nigerians and others living in Nigeria is a task that all well-meaning Nigerians must engage in, separately and collectively. Both of us resolve that we would not relent in our efforts. The delegations on both sides acceded to this statement. We agree to meet again in due course to re-examine progress and situation of security in Nigeria.”
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Gumi who arrived at Obasanjo’s residence at 11am, left alongside his team at 4pm.
Gumi came with a delegation of eight, Prof. Usman Yusuf, Mallam Tukur Mamu, Dr. Umar Ardo, Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Honourable Suleiman Gumi, Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu and Mallam Buba Mohammed.
Obasanjo received Gumi and his delegation in the presence of Oba Babajide Bakre, Agura of Gbagura, Abeokuta; Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya, Chairman of Ogun State Christian Association of Nigeria; Sheikh Sa’addallah Alade Bamigbola, Chief Imam of Egbaland; Chief Kenny Martins, Chief Ola Babajide Jaiyeoba; Rev. Tony Ojeshina, Chief Imams of Oke-Ona, Gbagura, Owu and Mr. Vitalis Ortese.
Gumi has been meeting with various stakeholders as part of efforts to solve the security challenge.
The cleric has often called on the federal government to grant amnesty to bandits attacking residents across northern parts of the country.
He has repeatedly said the bandits should not be castigated and referred to as criminals if the country wants them to lay down their weapons.
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