Controversial Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has condemned the Federal Government’s threat to sanction some media organisations over their reports on terrorism across the country.
Gumi also knocked the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) for rewarding former service chiefs over failure to secure the country with “ambassadorial” appointments.
Rather than intimidating the media, he said the President should make his security chiefs sit up over their apparent failure in securing the country.
He said, “President Buhari should make his security Chiefs to be fully accountable and responsible for any failure and account for the billions of naira at their disposal.
“When a Commander-in-Chief rewards failure with Ambassadorial appointments in a system and a society that records increased attacks, when security agencies cannot even protect Abuja and especially when the Guards Brigade cannot even protect themselves not to talk of the President, then why blaming the media for such failure and ineptitude for reporting it?”
Specifically, the cleric, who had over the years met some of the bandit Commanders terrorising the North aimed at ensuring truce, was reacting to a documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation‘s ‘Africa Eye’ which exposed the ‘politics of insecurity’ across the Northwest.
Gumi, who spoke during his weekly lecture series on Thursday, hailed the BBC, Daily Trust, and Desert Herald, for their bold reportage of the magnitude of insecurity across the country, especially in the north.
According to him, the Federal Government’s failure in its attempt to find a scapegoat after wasting billions of dollars on insecurity is unacceptable.
This was just as he noted that any attempt at sanctioning any media organisation over the glaring insecurity and the government’s inability to halt it amounts to blackmailing the media.
“FG’s attempt in trying to find a scapegoat to justify its glaring failure after wasting over $16 billion in the last 7 years without any commensurate result on security and efforts to blackmail certain media organisations for their patriotism in reporting the crisis is unfortunate and should be resisted by all responsible media organisations,” he said.
To Gumi, the BBC Africa Eye documentary reflected the actual happenings in Zamfara State while commending the professional competence and “highest ethical standard” exhibited by the corporation.
“The opinion of some media executives regarding the BBC report and the claim that the BBC and others like Daily Trust is giving undue publicity to the bandits and their activities or promoting terrorism is unfortunate, myopic and mischievous,” he added.
While saying that the FG’s attempt was to blackmail media houses so as to cover its failure and to divert public scrutiny into high-level corruption in military spending and budgetary allocations, Gumi urged media practitioners not to be intimidated or to succumb to official blackmail.
According to him, the media must continue to always make government accountable, especially, in view of failure to protect lives and properties despite the billions at its disposal.
Meanwhile, Gumi noted that the frightening development now was that the Boko Haram terrorists had infiltrated the Fulani bandits, adding that bandits were gradually being “indoctrinated to their (Boko Haram) religious belief and mission.”