September 10, (THEWILL) – Social and traditional media are on fire as Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Publicity, has engaged Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, in a battle of words over the military bombardment of bandits in the North East.
Gumi fired the first on Monday salvo with his suggestion in a FACEBOOK posing, “ZAMFARA: THE FLARING OF CRISIS,” that the government should put in place a programme of amnesty for bandits because he felt that with the military option, “bandits are going nowhere.”
“Bandits are going to hell,” Adesina immediately fired back in a Thursday posting that he titled, “I LIKE THIS PAMPERING, DON’T YOU?”
Adesina’s barb-shooting treatise took the Sheikh to the cleaners, calling him a “bandit lover.”
Through a responsorial piece that he titled, “WAR HAS NEVER BEEN A SOLUTION ANYWHERE ANYTIME,” an apparently boiling Gumi on Friday, termed the President’s publicist a “bootlicker that called me a bandit-lover.”
THEWILL here produces both articles in full.
Femi Adesina in his piece that he titled, “I LIKE THIS PAMPERING, DON’T YOU?, BY FEMI ADESINA,” said.
“For those who believe in the ineluctable victory of good over evil, no matter how long it takes, this has been an inspiring week.
“From the forests of a thousand daemons in Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger States, among others, bandits, criminals, evildoers are taking a pounding. In their scores, scores upon scores, they are being spoken to in the language they understand, and sent to God to answer for their sins. One has never been prouder of our military.
“I see the hair splitting over whether they should be called terrorists rather than bandits, and I laugh. Sheer sophistry. Whether insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, ritual killers, criminals are criminals. And what do you do to such? Eliminate. Annihilate. Obliterate. If they won’t let decent society be, get rid of them. That is one case when an eye for an eye won’t make the whole world go blind.
“Before they got to this sorry pass, they had the chance to turn a new leaf. Zamfara, Katsina, and many other states offered dialogue. The governments tried to negotiate with them. But they were contumacious. Like dogs fated for destruction, they refused to hear the hunters’ whistle. They filled the land with sorrow, tears and blood, ‘dem regular trademark’ (as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti would say). Now, the shoe is on the other foot.
“In the different evil forests, when the Nigerian Air Force strikes from the sky, the remnants of the evildoers not killed immediately attempt to flee. The ground troops then pick them off like flies. I say it again. One has never been prouder of our troops. They are cleaning up the country.
“Shocking and disconcerting, however, that in the middle of all these, you still hear words meant to discourage our gallant soldiers. A bandit-lover is on record as saying military offensive would not work, and that the bandits “are going nowhere.” True? False. They are going somewhere. And that is: hell.
“In my days as a newspaper editor, I remember when a butcher in Sierra Leone called Foday Sankoh died. Now, if anyone was brutal, evil through and through, Foday was. He loved to amputate innocent people. And he would cynically ask if they wanted short or long sleeve. If you chose short sleeve, he cut off the hand from the elbow. If you wanted long, he did from the wrist. After some time, Sierra Leone was swarming with amputees. He was urinating inside the same well from which he would fetch drinking water.
Foday Sankoh was an implacable demon. Till God moved against him. He was arrested, and took ill in custody. Ended in a wheelchair, and lived out his life in misery, facing trial. Then he died. As editor of Daily Sun, my headline was ‘Foday Sankoh goes to hell.’ Judgmental? Well, he asked for it.
“On the same day, I took a popular British tabloid to read. The lead story was also on Sankoh. The headline? ‘Next stop: Hell’ That’s it. The stubborn fly follows the corpse into the grave. The evildoers had all the opportunity to turn a new leaf. They were deaf to reason. They deserve what they are getting now, so that decent people can live in peace.
“Because we are the way we are as a people, as intractable as the warfare in the North-west had been, some people have tried to create a false narrative. They said while President Muhammadu Buhari went after separatists and divisive elements in the southern parts of the country with a big stick, he pampered bandits and terrorists in the north. Really? How mean-minded can we be? Well, we have now seen the ‘pampering’ going on in the north. You love the pampering being handed out simultaneously from the air and the ground by the troops, don’t you?
“I have always had the conviction that the ravening clouds shall not long be victorious, they shall not long possess the sky. Yes, we’ve had serious security challenges. They were inherited by the Buhari administration, and they mutated and became hydra-headed. But a government exists to solve problems, and that is what President Buhari had been committed to doing. But some people, out of evil hearts and petty political gains want it to be the definition of the government. He could not secure the country. Thousands of citizens were killed under him. But they will be shocked! The insecurity ravaging the land will soon become history. Where will they then hide their faces?
“Dr Okolo Oteri Eme is one of the women who love Buhari. To bits. She plays prominently on Facebook, and I love what she posted this week on the pounding the evil people have been getting: “Those who claim bandits are being pampered can join them for Shawarma in Zamfara. Kudos to our troops.”
“It’s promise made, and promise being kept by our President. He said those who trouble the country would be spoken to in the language they understand. It is happening now. The job is not fully done yet, but progress is fast and laudable. And the message is loud and clear. Don’t you like it?”
In response to Adesina’s piece, Gumi declared, “WAR HAS NEVER BEEN A SOLUTION ANYWHERE ANYTIME.
“You bootlicker that called me a bandit-lover! I am not one, but my country-lover, my region-lover, my state-lover, and my people-lover, and humanity-lover.
“I am a qualified Medical Doctor who knows what it takes to precisely excise a brain tumour without destroying the delicate surrounding brain tissues. I was a commissioned military officer who knows what the military is for and what is the capability of our military. I am an intellectual with a Ph.D. from Abroad. I am an Islamic scholar who knows the immorality of killing innocent lives. So, silence for me in this ocean of oblivion is not an option.
“Only a fool would allow his dwelling to be a theatre of war. Unfortunately, how many fools are there. Killing rats in your rat-infested sitting room with an iron rod will only end up destroying your gadgets and furniture probably without killing any. We should not mask out poor governance with artillery power.
“Some disingenuous people say: peace and negotiations with herdsmen bandits have failed, and your mission has failed!
“I said my mission has not failed but it was sabotaged or discouraged by the same influential people that benefit from the chaos or like us to destroy ourselves and leave the herdsmen in perpetual ignorance.
“Some said we have tried amnesty but it didn’t work. You didn’t try amnesty but tried amnesia. Amnesty without rehabilitation, reconciliation, and reparation is no amnesty. Ask the former Niger Delta Militants who killed security men in the past what an amnesty is. What stops us from having a federal ministry of Nomadic Affairs where their grievances and complaints will be addressed?
“All the bandit leaders we saw complained of how some repentant ones were picked and extra-judicially killed after the surrender of their weapons. Without their trust of the very unjust system all Nigerians complain of, which they took arms to fight, peace and negotiations with them will not work. This brings our role of mediation. They know as religious men we will not deceive them, and they came out in troops to meet us. To our astonishment, it is the same unjust system that turns round to betray our peace mission. Some of the press for giving a negative narrative, whom I also term criminals-in-purpose, some of the politicians who I see as urban-bandits who out of their share mismanagement of our meagre resources and misplacement of priority cause the death and infirmity of more people than the bandits affect.
“Of recent, how many Nigerians die of cholera -a water-born disease- because of lack of simple clean water to drink, or typhoid, malaria, and malnutrition? A nation with a maternal mortality rate of almost 500000/annum because of the lack of adequate maternal health facilities and qualified staff. A country where its highly-priced medical personnel is looking for a window to escape the inferno. Such a country, please!
“By the way, what you may not hear, is that the bandits over the years have developed escape routes from aerial bombardments. They told us: you can only kill our women and children with your attacks!
“Just yesterday, two contingents of banditry victims came to me that their loved ones were abducted by bandits in Kaduna suburbs – Rigachukun and Keke. An escapee engineer in the later said, when he overheard and understood that they were strangers in the area as they were calling the locals to lead them, that gave him the courage to slip through densely grown maize plantations to escape. The point is that, if Zamfara is on fire for them, definitely it goes without saying that they will migrate to other areas. So, is the whole of Nigeria going to be under lock-up in incommunicado?
“As for the economic impact of the areas now under siege, it’s just a matter of time, you’ll hear them crying out. Already yesterday a man from Tsafe came begging because of economic stagnation, one would have thought that Gusau the capital is closer than Kaduna to beg.
“As for those cynics that have no value to add in the dilemma except vituperation, and abuses, we know that is the substance they are made up of. No qualms whatsoever! you don’t expect fragrance from feces.
“So, what is the solution?
“Good Intelligence! Good proficient policing, engagement of the local herdsmen in policing, rehabilitation, reconciliation, and reparation of all victims of banditry. The good honest judiciary that protects people’s rights. Money and time well spent on these will surely kill the disease and heal the nation of this delinquency, crimes, and bad governance.
“Oh Allah! on Your Mercy we depend.”