Spokesman for the rampaging bandits and Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, has scaled-up his advocacy for his bloodletting comrades to a new level. According to him, his comrades have refused to end hostilities against the Nigerian government because they were not given land and “enough money”.

Gumi is certainly audacious. He is doing to bandits what no cleric of his status can dare for IPOB and for the Yoruba self-determination movement. Those of the Eastern Nigeria and Western Nigeria are timid. Gumi moves in and out of bandits’ cells at will and dropping headline catching stuff.

His latest advocacy came as bandits reportedly attacked Rijiya village in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State, during which they killed six people and several others abducted. A resident of the village, Musa Sani, who fled to Gusau town, said the bandits, who were on motorcycles, came to the village around 1.30p.m., on Sunday and began to shoot at people.

He said he was in the other part of the village when he heard gunshots and screaming of the villagers, who were shouting for help. This made him run to the bush for safety.“I was in the other part of the village when I heard gunshots and the screaming of the villagers. I quickly ran to a nearby farm where I hid until the bandits left the village.

“When they left the village, we discovered that they had shot and killed six people and wounded several others.

“They also abducted many women and children whose number is yet to be ascertained. I decided to leave the village to Gusau for fear that the bandits might return because this is not the first time these criminals are attacking us”, he said

Though Spokesman of the Police in the state, Mohammed Shehu, could not be reached for comment, a report by Vanguard said bandits were still attacking the people of the state despite the security measures taken by the state government to stop the menace.

While many farmers have abandoned their farmlands and could not harvest their crops due to persistent attacks by the bandits, many villages have also been deserted, while a large number of internally displaced persons have relocated to Gusau town where they begged for food.

In the meantime, Gumi said past attempts “to broker peace” with the bandits failed because they were not compensated “with lands or cattle or money big enough to help halt hostilities”, adding that sometimes the government would “just give them (bandits) a million or two million and get their weapons without even looking at how they survive.”

In a live stream on his Facebook page on Tuesday, the self-appointed mediator for bandits said only religion can be used to pacify them to embrace peace. Gumi had once compared bandits to Niger Delta militants and asked that a federal ministry be established to address their grievances and that of killer Fulani herders.

Contrary to Gumi’s stance, Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State, openly admitting that Fulanis are the bandits killing and kidnapping Nigerians, said they don’t deserve amnesty.

Can We Count on You, Gbajabiamila on Gender Balancing?

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has assured that gender balancing is on the front burner of the current National Assembly. They are moving to give fair participation in governance to both men and women in Nigeria. This, he said, is an important part of the ongoing amendment of the 1999 Constitution by the Legislature.

Let this issue become a reality and not mere rhetorics from public officials. However, according to him, the Federal Character Principle, as currently captured in the constitution, was being re-defined to go beyond ethnicity by including gender and other variables. Gbajabiamila spoke in Abuja on Wednesday when a delegation from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) paid him a courtesy visit at the National Assembly.

He also informed the delegation, led by the CPA’s Secretary-General, Mr Stephen Twigg, that care for Persons Living With Disabilities had received the attention of the Nigerian legislature, explaining that a number of bills seeking to amend the constitution by making clear provisions on gender balancing, federal character review and the disability question were in progress at the House of Representatives in particular.

“What we are doing is that we are going through a constitutional amendment process. We are looking at gender issues in a way to address the two sides. Even in the way we apply the federal character principle, we want to go beyond ethnicity to include gender and others as well”, he said.

Gbajabiamila noted that the House and the CPA would appear to be on the same page since the association too had promoted gender equality and drawn attention to the challenges faced by people living with disability, like exclusion from governance.

Speaking on the relevance of the CPA, Gbajabiamila told the delegation that it had fostered relationships among parliaments. He briefed the delegation on how the 9th House under his leadership introduced Parliamentary Diplomacy as a tool to assist the Executive arm in resolving disputes that could negatively affect the relationship between Nigeria and other countries.

“We have used it in Ghana, in South Africa and other areas where we needed to intervene to resolve some issues”, he added, and also informed the delegation about the Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments (COSAP), which he initiated in 2020 to “help our various nations to address development challenges on the continent.”

He cited the plea to creditor nations to cancel the debts owed by African countries as one of the main agenda of the group, which would hold its first physical meeting in the first quarter of 2022.

Speaking earlier, Twigg praised Gbajabiamila and the House for the “brilliant initiatives” he had read in the Legislative Agenda of the 9th House. He particularly commended the initiative to “expand the scope of participation in governance by women and the disabled.”

Twigg also said seeking debt cancellation was a “bold” effort by the CoSAP and encouraged the group to continue to push for it, hoping that the members would have a reason to celebrate eventually.


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