CONTROVERSIAL Islamic scholar Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate a dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) as a means of arresting the growing ethnic tension in the southeast geo-political zone.
Over recent months, southeast Nigeria has been in flames as armed youths have taken to the streets attacking government facilities like police stations, correctional facilities and the offices of the Independent National Electoral commission (Inec). Although so far, nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks, they are thought to be the handiwork of Ipob’s armed wing the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
Across the southeast, there is widespread disaffection with the Buhari government over its failure to clamp down on armed Fulani cattle herdsmen who have been carrying out bloody attacks on farming communities. Most Igbos are also unhappy with the way they have been marginalised by the Buhari government over appointments to federal positions.
Sheikh Gumi, who has recently been involved in negotiations with bandits in Zamfara State, getting them to lay down their arms in exchange for an amnesty, said that a similar approach needs to be made with regards to Ipob. He added that the federal government should be frank in negotiating with Nnamdi Kanu the Ipob leader and his group.
“Government should try to be frank and engage even with Ipob’s people and should call them to come and sit down let’s talk. Government should call them for a dialogue. Nobody doubts Nigeria but the problem is that the government is not being considerate even with these herdsmen,” Sheikh Gumi added.
Last month, the former presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) Professor Kingsley Moghalu, called on the federal government to discuss with Mr Kanu and other secessionists in the country. He said President Buhari’s lopsided appointment and unfair treatment of Fulani herdsmen was responsible for the division in the country.