In this article, we will set the record straight and shed light on Sheikh Kanoma’s actual position on this critical matter.
In recent days, there has been a misconception swirling around Zamfara State regarding the stance of Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Umar Kanoma, a prominent Islamic scholar and preacher. It has been erroneously suggested that he advocated for the state government to engage in dialogue with the bandits.
Misconception vs. Reality
Sheikh Kanoma made it unequivocally clear that he did not encourage the state government to engage in dialogue with the bandits. Here are the key points that clarify his true stance:
- Sheikh Kanoma’s 7-Point Plan: On the 6th of October, 2023, in a Friday sermon, Sheikh Kanoma unveiled his 7-point plan to combat banditry and enhance security in Zamfara State. Nowhere in these points did he mention granting amnesty to any bandit or group of bandits.
- Scholarly Advice to the Governor: On the 13th of October, 2023, Sheikh Kanoma led a delegation from the Nigerian Council of Ulama, Zamfara State branch, to meet with the Governor, Dr. Dauda Lawal. During this meeting, they offered their scholarly advice on various aspects of development, including security. The advice they presented did not advocate for dialogue with the bandits but rather urged the government to continue its fight against them.
- Weekly Sermon on Conflict Resolution: The Zamfara State Ministry for Religious Affairs invited Sheikh Kanoma to deliver a sermon on “Conflict Resolution among Believers.” In his sermon, he mentioned that resolution or dialogue with the bandits should follow specific rules and regulations.
- Participation in the “Fatwa” Process: The state government previously invited the Islamic Scholars Forum to provide a “fatwa” or religious guidance on the issue of dialogue or amnesty for bandits. Sheikh Kanoma was part of this process and contributed his insights, which included:
- The bandits should immediately repent and surrender themselves to the government. This is in accordance with Allah’s saying in Qur’an chapter 5 verse 34 “Except for those who return [repenting] before you apprehend them. And know that Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”.
- They should submit all their weapons to the government.
- The bandits should release all captives unconditionally.
- They should abandon their cattle and reintegrate into society.
- They should return all stolen items to the owners and compensation for damages.
- They must not impose any form of taxation on anybody.
- They must not use of violence to force others to work for them.
In Sheikh Kanoma’s own words, “These are the contents of the paper I submitted to the state government as my contribution to finding a lasting solution to the menace of banditry and other security challenges bedeviling the state. Allah knows that’s what I said and not the otherwise.”
Sheikh Ahmad Ibn Umar Kanoma’s stance on the issue of banditry in Zamfara State is clear. He has consistently advocated for the government to uphold the rule of law, fight against banditry, and ensure that those involved in criminal activities face justice.
The misconception that he called for dialogue with the bandits is unfounded and incorrect. It is essential to accurately represent the views of public figures, especially on matters as crucial as security and the fight against banditry.