Nation President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, on Friday said a prominent cleric Sheik Abubakar Mahmud Gumi would have been in jail if not for the weakness of Nigeria’s political leaders.
Isiguzo, who was reacting to the comparison made by the cleric that journalists are criminals just as bandits due to the reportorial of the latter, said Sheikh Gumi’s comments and actions indicate he is pursuing an agenda.
Daily Trust recalls that Sheikh Gumi has been on peace meetings with bandits terrorising some states in Northern Nigeria and has called for amnesty to the bandits.
But some governors of the affected states have rejected Gumi’s overtures as they said his calls do not reflect the position of the governments.
Gumi while speaking on Arise Tv on Wednesday labelled Journalists as criminals for calling bandits criminals.
Meanwhile, Isiguzo in a press statement condemned the comparison saying there is no correlation between journalism and criminality.
He noted that one of the gangs that was recently interviewed by Daily Trust’s Deputy Editor, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz “insisted on being introduced properly as Kachalla Halilu Sububu Seno, Leader of all Terrorists”
“In saner climes, Sheikh Gumi, a non-state actor involved in negotiations with criminal elements, should have been behind bars, but alas, thanks to the weaknesses of our Leaders, he continues with his reckless comments and forays into bandit territory unabated.”
Attack on journalists shows he is intolerant
The president expressed shock that despite Sheik Gumi’s usage of the media to advance his mission to the political leaders has used the media to speak to leaders and to advance the course of his mission would made an unnecessary and unprovoked attack on members of the media.
“By insulting the Press as criminals, Sheikh Gumi has exposed himself the more as an intolerant person who will not want his activities closely scrutinised by the media.”
“It is instructive to remind Sheik Gumi that by embarking on such an errand and choosing to speak for the bandits, the Press will continue to scrutinise his activities and also hold him accountable for his actions as enshrined in the Constitution.”
He should explain continuous activities of bandits
He also urged Sheikh Gumi to explain why despite his recent negotiations with bandits in Zamfara State, “the criminals have continued maiming, killing, raping and kidnapping innocent citizens, including the 300 female Students just abducted in the same State.”
“We equally invite the global community to document the utterances and actions of Sheik Gumi and to hold him to account for any bandit related mishap that may happen to Journalists around the country.”