Kaduna based Islamic scholar, Ahmad Gumi, on Tuesday offered what appeared as a jittery desperate explanation of his comments that it was Christian soldiers that were killing bandits.
Gumi had come under fire for his comments during a visit to the forests to meet with the armed bandits that have been terrorising the North-West and parts of the North-Central, after video recordings of the meeting became public knowledge.
Though he had earlier said the video was manipulated and that he was qouted out of context, he however offered a different explanation in an interview with the BBC after the Army came out with a stern warning directed at him on Monday.
According to the Islamic cleric, his comments were misunderstood, blaming media reports for the misunderstanding. He also added that he had a good understanding of the Nigerian Army, adding that many things have not changed since he left the force.
He said: “I saw the Army’s response. What I will say is that there is a misunderstanding in the issues. When I speak about the religious issue in the Army, I am not referring to today’s Army.
“The issue is from 2010-2015 when some people were in-charge and a lot of bad things happened.
“It is during that time that there were bombings everywhere. It happened in Jaji and we lost a popular Muslim general. Even, I was saved by God because they planted a bomb for me.”
The Army had cautioned Gumi against making divisive and disparaging utterances against the military institutions, adding that the army does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines as stated by the cleric during his interaction with bandits.
The new explanation by Gumi may however be an afterthought made out of fear for the consequences of his utterances.
Before the warning from the Army, the cleric had variously defended his position on the bandits, calling for amnesty for them just as was done for Niger Delta militants during the Umaru Yaradua administration.