CONTROVERSIAL cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi has thrown another cat among the pigeons by sending a medical outreach team to the forests of Kogi State to provide medical care to Fulani cattle herdsmen living there.
Highly divisive and seen as one of the subtle backers behind Fulani herdsmen who have unleashed a reign of terror on Nigeria, Sheikh Gumi is also said to be one of the main backers of armed bandits involved in widespread kidnapping across northwest Nigeria. Earlier this year, Sheikh Gumi travelled to Zamfara State to meet with the bandits, where he negotiated an amnesty programme with them.
Sheikh Gumi has repeatedly said that these bandits should not be prosecuted despite them unleashing terror on the country, adding that for peace to reign, they must be pardoned under an amnesty programme. Last week, the controversial cleric was in the news again after he announced the establishment of a special school in Kaduna forests to train herdsmen.
A trained medical doctor and a retired Nigerian Army captain, Sheikh Gumi recently took his team to the forests in Kogi State where they offered medical services to Fulani herdsmen and their families. While there, he issued a statement to Arewa Voice explaining what the medical outreach programme was meant to accomplish.
Sheikh Gumi argued that the herdsmen called bandits are not malevolent elements but victims of neglect over the years, who need basic amenities and opportunities to turn a new leaf. It is not yet clear who funded this medical outreach team and so far, no state government has admitted being Sheikh Gumi’s backer.
Mallam Tukur Mamu, Sheikh Gumi’s spokesman, said: “Barely one week after commissioning a school for Fulani herders and other settlers in the strategic Kagarko Games Reserve, Kaduna, which used to be a centre for organising operations by bandits, renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Dr Ahmad Abubakar Mahmud Gumi has yet again led a team of Islamic preachers and medical team to another strategic Fulani settlement called Rugan Ardo Zubairu Okebukun in Ayangban Grazing Reserve, in Yagba Local Government Area of Kogi State. The sheikh, who went with journalists to see things for themselves, left Kaduna on Monday with an entourage of more than 40 people and a fully-equipped medical van for the purpose of providing medical support to Fulani victims of violence that were forced to relocate from south the east due to consistent attacks on them by Ipob members.”
Apparently, the medical outreach van sent to Kogi State had state-of-the-art facilities. It was fully air-conditioned with enough space for consultation, beds for observation, space for drugs, pharmacists, nurses, doctors and a small unit for emergency delivery for pregnant women and even emergency caesarean surgery if need be.