Daud Olatunji, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a prominent religious leader in the North, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, have recommended special courts to try bandits and kidnappers promptly.
Both Obasanjo and Gumi stated this in a jointly signed communiqué issued after a closed-door meeting at the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, on Sunday.
Gumi, who led some northern religious leaders to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, arrived around 11am and left at 4pm.
He declined to speak to newsmen when asked the reason for his visit.
But in a 21-point communiqué jointly issued by Obasanjo and Gumi, they urged the Federal Government to take the issue of insecurity up within the Economic Community of West African States.
They also recommended that whistle blowers against insecurity must be protected and rewarded.
The statement read partly, “The Federal Government should take the issue up seriously within ECOWAS to work for a regional solution.
“Every community must be encouraged and empowered to stand firm and strong against criminals.
“There should be protection and reward covertly for whistleblowers against criminals living in the community.
“Special courts should be created to deal promptly with cases of banditry, kidnapping, ransom demanding and unlawful carrying of weapons.
“Let the slogan be: security is the responsibility of all Nigerians. We agree to continue to work together for solutions for the security of Nigeria and to seek others to join us as we widely circulate our joint statement.
“We identified the remote causes as educational and economic disparities, and the negative use of religion and ethnicity by unscrupulous politicians.
“Solutions must be seen and provided on short, medium, and long-term bases and must be composed of stick and carrot for the offender and the vulnerable.”
The leaders advised Nigerians to be involved in finding a solution to the problem.
They also described the military as the strongest and most potent instrument and symbol of national unity, urging the government to keep it intact.
They advised state governments to provide adequate means of security for their people.
The statement said Gumi’s visit to Obasanjo was part of his continued efforts to find solutions to the general insecurity in the country, including the menace of banditry, kidnapping and ransom payment.
Obasanjo, in the communiqué, commended Gumi for his initiative and encouraged him not to relent in his efforts, just as the latter lauded Obasanjo for his past services emphasising his unifying efforts and for the warm welcome accorded the delegation.