Renowned Islamic scholar Sheik Ahmad Gumi, in this interview with MIDAT JOSEPH and USMAN AHMED in Kaduna holds that, “the government too can be behind Boko Haram to castigate oppositions”. According to him, the government seems not to be ready to fight terrorism in Nigeria and further challenges the security operatives to allow newsmen interview any apprehended member of Boko Haram. He also shared several significant insights in various topics.
Now that Ramadan fast has come to an end, what is expected from all Muslims as they celebrate the Eid-el Fitri?
On the last day of Ramadan, if it happens to be 29th or 30th Shawwal, that is the first day of Eid. In the night, there is nothing so specific one should do like the Nafila prayer of all sort. But it becomes incumbent on every Muslim male or female, adult or child, in fact, the rich and poor also. It becomes incumbent on every soul to give out this Zakkatir fitir. This is given out like a measure of a medium height man his two palms full of grain four times, the mudu four of it for one person.
The food grain that is commonly the staple food of the area one is, he gives it but to somebody who is poorer than him. Even the poor if he has something that is enough for him for the day, what remains he gives out of it, even if it’s less than four mudus, because everyone should be out to make his fasting perfect.
Within how many days can a person give out this Sadaqat of grains? It can be given even two days before the Eid, but it’s compulsory with the sunset but some scholars said it become compulsory with the dawn. It becomes Wajibi you have to give it.
But for two days you can you can do it if you want and you give out before people go to the praying ground in the morning. If you don’t give it out, you still have to give it as compensation for not doing it.
During Ramadan many people turn to Allah and observe prayer regularly, but after Ramadan period some still go back to their old life style, what will you say about this artitude of some muslims?
Yes! This is the misconception with many people that Ramadan is the holy month of worship. After Ramadan they go back to their old ways of negligence in terms of religious duty. We fear that whoever goes back to his previous day, he did not benefit from Ramadan because when Allah said that; “I have prescribed on the fasting of month like it is prescribed to those who are before you”, He says, “La Allahkum tat takum” so that you become more Allah’s fearing. That’s why Ramadan is made compulsory.
So, when somebody after the Ramadan comes out of it without fearing Allah, it means he didn’t get the lesson of Ramadan.
So, you call people to really contemplate on this issue and maintain their hard work towards the religion. So, Ramadan and the teachings have the solutions to our entire social malady.
Sheik, what is your position on the issue of Boko Haram?
My stand is that Boko Haram is a complex or interwoven social, religious and political disorder. The social complement of it is represented by criminals. People are desperate to make money fast, because in Nigeria they said 76% especially here in the North are poor, living below one dollar a day.
Definitely there is a socio-economic problem, how does it manifest itself in crimes?
These criminals go under the guise of Boko Haram to commit crimes. Why? So, that they cannot be traced, any criminal if he goes under the guise of Boko Haram the police will be looking for the Boko Haram, they would not be looking for the criminals. So, this is the socio-economic factor of it. Secondly, the political part is that politics come into play. We have seen all over the world how governments’ un-seated threatened people by force to the extent of killing them like in Syria now. Just because people carry out peaceful demonstration saying we want freedom, we want election.
The government is killing them. In Bosnia, Burundi, Rwanda and so on. We have seen government involved in massacre and killing people just for political reasons to sustain power. So, whichever way you look at it, the government is saying the opposition is behind Boko haram trying to destabilize their government.
The government too can be behind that political Boko Haram in trying to castigate the opposition to clamp down on them.
Look at it now, all the northern cities like Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Kaduna are under occupation; people are not free to move around, businesses are going down. So, this creates a good atmosphere whereby in the next two to three years if things move like this then this stronghold of Muslims in the Northern part could be neutralized completely.
So, this is a kind of political strategy all behind Boko Haram, look at the amount of trillions of Naira that is spent on security whereas there is no security except the road blocks. And if there is security we need the undercover police to be well equipped and financed.
Then you are now fighting it, because Boko Haram is not an insurgency; they are not many, just few individuals here and there and their weapons are explosives. They don’t have tanks and so on. They are not an army; they are just like the Niger-Delta militant.
The best they can get here is Kalashinkov, AK4, AK7 or AKS, so is not an insurgency, is just a criminality, but still government politically can use it for their advantage and the opposition can use for its advantage. So there is political connotation to this Boko Haram.
The third is the religious element; we have fanatics, among those boys who are anti-social by behavior. They can easily join it.
Anything that can cause commotion and trouble, thinking it is religious ways to come about things because of their ignorance about religious.
What do you think is the possible solution to this security challenges?
It is squarely based on the government. The government should put the right people and the right strategy. That strategy is that they pull away all the phenomena of neutralization or road blocks. Let the people feel free and intensify undercover policing; give then gadgets and mobility so that they can react quickly to forensic criminology.
This is it; they need to be gathering intelligence and sharing it, even with the public, because the public is the biggest police. If you make the public aware who and who are these people; like now one Kabiru Sokoto is caught, did you speak with him? The press, no, so they are not ready then to fight terrorism. Let the Kabiru Sokoto be interviewed to tell why is he doing it? Who is he working for? What tribe is he? Who are his links? Let the people know, so that anybody link with him can easy be known.
But they are doing everything in secrecy. It means there is fourth columnist within the security itself that is behind this Boko Haram.
Not just the general policeman you see or the IG, but within the security there are some fourth a columnist that is supporting them.
When there is no social injustice in the society, then there would always be commotion. Social justice is what solves a lot of problem.
Providing schools, good education, hospitals, jobs because when people have jobs they don’t care what the government does. So, this is the best way to address this endemic problems we here.
There is no strong opposition in Nigeria. There is only one national party. All the other parties are regional parties whether is ACN, CPC, ANPP and all regional, they are aligned to a region and regional parties don’t make presidents. They make governors. That is why we need another national party to vie with PDP, not that we hate PDP but for the health of the nation, because if you don’t have competition, then you tend to be under an authoritarian rule; but once you have competition then there will be balance.
Look at Americans; they have the Republican and Democratic parties and they are changing power, checking each other. So, we need another party that is so strong, and this can be achieved if all the opposition would just melt into one strong opposition, then the politics in Nigeria would be healthy. So, the nation cannot be divided, that is with the politics.
With the victims of political and religious crisis all over - victims, people innocently killed men, women and children, the government is automatically responsible for relocating them and for re-establishing their lives.
What I’m saying is, instead of distributing armed forces all over our cities where actually Boko Haram are just a negligible few, with police you can contain them. There is no problem to have a contingency strike force, but it should not be on the roads, blocking roads, making people get down from their vehicles; all these are humiliation to citizens. Nigerians feel degraded. Put these armed forces where there is tension, areas where there is a sharp demarcation between Muslims and Christians; where there is loggerhead.
Put the police or the armed forces in between and you see there would be peace, instead of putting them all over the country – disturbing the lives of innocent citizens.
On the people you talked about who are still at the Kaduna Hajj camp?
I think those people should be settled in their lands and houses and be protected by the law. But to be staying there (Hajj camp) for more than one year, is inhuman and pathetic.