By Mike Odeh James & Maryam Musa
Barely one week after commissioning a school for Fulani herders and other settlers in the strategic Kagarko Game Reserved, Kaduna (where it used to be a centre for organizing 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 East due to consistent attacks on them by IPOB members. DESERT HERALD reports that the medical outreach van is fully air-conditioned with enough space for consultation, bed for observation, space for drugs, pharmacist, nurses, doctor and a small unit for emergency delivery for pregnant women and even CS surgery in case of such emergency.
Gumi’s choice of Kogi this time around to offer medical support to mainly Fulanis that are victims of violence with his highly committed team is largely due to the alarming number of such victims that were forced to relocate from the South East and South West to Kogi State and to appreciate the Kogi State Government for welcoming them to the state and for allowing them to freely decide where to settle down in parts of the state.
Some of the members of the team in the entourage of the Saudi trained scholar in Islamic jurisprudence includes Malam Tukur Mamu (Dan Iyan Fika), the publisher of DESERT HERALD Newspaper, former Executive Secretary of NHIS, Prof. Usman Yusuf who is leading the highly organize medical team, Col Sambo Diri Mni Rtd, Sheikh Sanusi Khutama, Malam Nasiru Ayuba, Sheikh Nuhu Al Hafiz, Malam Auwal Jika Mai Waina, Sheikh Isah Abdullahi Adarkake, Malam Sanusi Malumfashi.
In the opening speech, the spokesman of Sultan Bello Mosque urged the Fulanis in the Ruga to embrace western educational as well as Islamic education while eschewing violence or any form of banditry.
He also told them that the team is here for medical outreach and to treat the Fulanis and any other tribe or religion that are in need of medical attention.
Welcoming the the team, Ardo Zubairu appreciated Dr. Ahmad Gumi and his team for coming to the aid of the Fulanis.
He also added that the Fulanis in the settlement has embarked on educational quest for many of its’ members as some of Fulanis have obtained both BSCs and MSc.
He also added that the settlement of Ayangban Grazing Reserve traced it’s history to the time of the late Premier of the defunct Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello and that the government of Governor Yahaya Bello has since approved for it for gazetting as a reserve for the herdsmen.
He also revealed that there are facilities like borehole, primary health centre that were provided by the late Premier but are now in decaying condition. He thanked Sheikh Ahmad Gumi who he described as an ‘Army of One’ who is largely sponsoring activities for intervention for the Fulani and said even when virtually everybody is accusing the Fulanis as a whole for the banditry that affects many many parts of the North, Sheikh Gumi even at the risk of his life remains the only Nigerian searching for solutions and even visiting dangerous forests and reaching out and preaching for them to renounce violence.
The Head of the reserve, Ardo Zubairu thanked Gumi and his team and urged him to help built schools as the settlement do not have one.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof Yusuf Usman said that they embarked on this mission in order to sensitize the Fulanis on the merit of acquiring western education and to make sure that Fulanis eschew violence and other acts of banditry.
Usman further stressed that he won’t abandon the herdsmen no matter what but at the same time they would continue to admonish and advice the herdsmen anywhere they went wrong.
Sheikh Sanusi Khutama said Fulanis are known for peace and that they should continue to educate their subjects about the need to renounce all acts of criminality as it is against Islam and the laws of the land.
Sheikh Khutama He commended Shiekh Gumi for his efforts to ensure that peace reign and that the Fulanis are fully integrated into the society.
Speaking further, Mamu Tukur, (Dan Iya of Fika), stressed that we should know the importance of such patriotic visit to communities that are suffering from various humanitarian crisis and emphasize on the need to assist them as a means of pacifying the few aggrieved ones amongst them to stop the acts of criminality that has today caused untold hardship to our people. He said Sheikh Gumi’s innitiative for the medical outreach is so far the first of it’s type to largely Fulani settlers that are victims of violence and other forms of terror. Mamu said government should invest in addressing the genuine grievances of the Fulanis instead of wasting billions of naira in buying arms which he said will never succeed in ending the security threats associated with Fulani banditry. The Dan-Iya Fika said if America will leave Afghanistan after nearly two decades of fighting similar type of war without success and resort to dialogue with the Taliban, Nigeria with poor intelligence capabilities and corruption in military spending cannot win such a war even if they will spend the next 50 years. He said even the 1st and 2nd World Wars as they are fighting, negotiation and mediation is taken place.
He maintained that Sheikh Gumi’s team is there is to educate the children of the herdsmen and to support them with medical facilities and treatment of minor sicknesses.
” When Government support this peace initiative and work with other relevant stakeholders all this things will come to an end “
Mamu also called on Government to appreciate the sacrifices of Sheikh Gumi and to support him is his efforts to end banditry.
“The Fulanis have been neglected for over fifty decades. They don’t even know if government exist and worse still they have been dispossessed of their cows through cattle rustling and other acts of official extortion. Government must get to the genesis of this insecurity and ensure justice to all as the only means of ending it not by fire power. It won’t work”.
“The Military approach has not yielded results. Instead of wasting billions on a conduit-pipe called security votes they should you empower the Fulanis economically, educate them, provide them medical facilities such as clinics, support the raring of their cows and provide them with other basic amenities”.
This paper learnt that the Gumi team will deploy more medical personnel to the dedicated Ruga centre that will serve as a medical outreach to all those that needs medical intervention particularly Fulanis that were forced to relocate from the South.
The medical services according to Sheikh Gumi is being supported by Dialogue Group of Companies, owners of Dialogue Pharmacy in Kaduna which is owned by a philanthropist, Dr. Mahdi Shehu.
In his speech during the official launching of the medical outreach innitiative, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has commended the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello for allowing the displaced Fulani Herdsmen to resettle in the state without molestation.He thanked the Governor for allowing the Fulanis their constitutional rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to leave anywhere they want to. He said it is unacceptable for few citizens in the South that are enjoying freedom of movement in the North to deny such rights to the Fulanis in any part of the South.
“The constitution of the country states that every Nigerian can live in any part of the country without being molested but nowadays, which Governor enforces such right? Very few of them and Governor Yahaya is one of them. We commend him”.
It is only Governor Yahaya Bello that has done that and we thank him”, Gumi said.
He called on other governors to follow the steps of their Kogi State counterpart.
He further argued that not all Fulanis herdsmen are terrorists or violent persons. He said over 99 percent of herdsmen are peaceful and doing their job of herding of livestock peacefully.
“Because of the activities of 1 percent of herdsmen, you can’t label all Fulani herdsmen as terrorists”, he added.
He revealed that the Sheik Abubakar Gumi Foundation in conjunction with the Sultan Bello Mosque Foundation, Dialogue Pharmacy and Victims of Violence Charity Foundation have brought a mobile clinic to the Rugan Ardo Zubairu community in Kogi State so that the members of the community can get free medical attention.
He also revealed that the Ahmad Gumi medical team would be working in conjunction with Doctors Without Borders, the State Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Health in order to get the much needed medical assistance to the people.
He also set up a commitee that would see to the day to activities of the Mobile clinic .
The Sheikh also announced the formation of the Fulani Rights Concern as a body which would unify all the 30 Fulani umbrella bodies and to provide assistance to any Fulani.
“I am here to tell you that the Fulani Rights Concern has been registered and it is to co-ordinate the the activities of the over 30 other Fulani groups in rendering assistance to all herdsmen.
Sheikh Gumi further explained the purpose of his mission as thus to include:-Da’awah and Medical outreach in Ardo Zubairu Rugga @ Kabba Kogi State.Objectives:1. Preaching the pristine message of Islam for peace and shunning evil.2. Medical Assistance to the less privileged of the society.3. Cementing the bond of cordial relationship between indigenous people and settlers.4. Showing the authorities and philanthropists another alternative to violence in solving socioeconomic problems bedeviling the Nation.
In a hadith:«ﺇﻥ اﻟﻠﻪ ﺗﺒﺎﺭﻙ ﻭﺗﻌﺎﻟﻰ ﺭﻓﻴﻖ ﻳﺤﺐ اﻟﺮﻓﻖ، ﻭﻳﺮﺿﻰ ﺑﻪ، ﻭﻳﻌﻴﻦ ﻋﻠﻴﻪ ﻣﺎ ﻻ ﻳﻌﻴﻦ ﻋﻠﻰ اﻟﻌﻨﻒ، رواه مالك.Meaning:”Allah the Majestic and Exalted is lenient and Love leniency and is pleased with it and aids in achieving success with it the He does not aid with violence”
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