Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s trip to Jere village along the highway between Kaduna to Abuja will go down as one of the bold and courageous steps ever taken by the Islamic clergy in response to the current spate of kidnapping in Kaduna State. While the Nigerian clergy is notorious for hiding behind fortified pulpit to cast stones at society and underperforming governments, they have failed to demonstrate any practical and visible effort to solve existing crises in the society.
However, last weekend, Sheikh Gumi would flip open a new page in this direction.
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In the fight against this scourge of kidnapping, religious clerics have the capacity to serve as a highly potent tool for strategic communication. There is, therefore, the need for the government to empower and encourage them to actively participate in taking the words of God to remote communities that are close to hot spots of criminal elements. This does not suggest that such communities harbour the criminals, but they could possibly know them and, therefore, assist the law enforcement agencies in crime prevention, control and bringing culprits to justice.
In 2021 and years ahead, preachers should be expected to storm these volatile communities with the message of God and compassion, so that our roads may be safe again.
It should also be noted on the part of government and wealthy private individuals that the word of God will not be enough to bring an end to this crisis. Alternatives to crime in form of gainful employment must be provided to these local communities. They are also in dire need of education, healthcare, water supply, and motorable road networks to link them up with opportunities in cities.
Musa Kalim Gambo writes from Zaria