Gumi builds school for herdsmen in Kaduna forest

Kaduna based Islamic Scholar, Sheikh (Dr.) Ahmad Gumi, has reiterated that the present banditry across the country can be stopped, if Fulani herdsmen are provided with educational opportunities, as many of them are ready to drop their arms to enjoy education and other basic amenities at the grassroots.

Speaking while inspecting the Sheikh Uthman Bin Fodio Centre, a school built by his Mosque Foundation Limited, at Kagarko Grazing Reserve near Kohoto Village, Gumi said, if the centre, designed to educate the herdsmen is replicated everywhere in the country, Nigerians will live in peace, adding that, instead of spending billions on military hardware to fight the bandits, Nigeria should spend such money on schools and teachers for nomadic herdsmen.

The Islamic scholar stated categorically that, he had spoken with the bandits and they have expressed willingness to drop their arms and embrace peace, if their children can be given education and other social amenities.

“What motivated me to start this project was to solve the insecurity problem we have from the root because every crime has its perpetrators and every perpetrators are drawn from a pool.

“We want to go there and dry the pool and we found out that education is the best cure. If they are educated, they will not be doing what they are doing. So, we say we must take education to the grassroot and we embarked on the project to also be an example for others, local, state and federal governments and rich individuals even cooperative societies to come together across the forest to know what we can do to cater for nomads.

“It does not cost much and it will help to educate them and we will live peacefully with them. What we have here is centre containing six classrooms that can be used for primary, secondary schools and at various times you can teach all categories at all times and the place will be engaged for 24 hours because the herdsmen usually take their cattle out by 10am and bring them back by sunset so they have 2 hours before they take their cattle away and we have 2 to 3 hours because we like to put some solar light so that they can read 8, 9, 10pm in the night so that the herders can go and come back.

“We have schools, we have hospital and we are also showing them how to grind the foliage which they can use to feed their animals, some of them don’t need to go out because those things are so cheap and farmers are throwing those things away, soon farmers will start charging for it. If we can duplicate this everywhere Nigerians will live in peace.

“If banditry now has turned into terrorism, if we allow the herdsmen to turn into religious fanatic and extremist it will not be good for us as a nation, as 99% of the herdsmen are not into banditry but if you turn it into religious struggle they will just go there committing crime. So, it is not good to label them as terrorist because it will profile all herdsmen as terrorist because you are not attaching it to an organization and if you say herdsmen are terrorists, Nigeria will have problem, the whole country will be on fire, the North, South and East will be on fire and nothing will remain of Nigeria if everywhere is on fire,” he said.

He said, there is a lot that can be done to improve insecurity in Nigeria such as having this kind of centre instead of spending billions on hardware, let’s spend it on schools and teachers “even the bandits I have spoken with them as am speaking with you to drop down their weapons to study, so long their women and Children will learn they are ready to drop their weapons, so why won’t we embrace peace.”

The Fulani Chief of the community, Ardo Ahmed Tahiru, Imam Tafa Dahiru and Christian cleric in the community, Luka Mai Ungwar in their separate comments, all commended Sheikh Gumi for the gesture, stressing that the project has united the community and they are all full of joy.