Bello Turji, the head of a group of robbers, is said to have addressed a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, and the Emir of Shinkafi.
Turji wrote in the letter that he and his man would like to meet with traditional and religious authorities in Nigeria, and that the meeting should include controversial Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
Gumi, he said, is the one who understands bandits.
The following is an excerpt from the letter, as published by Daily Trust:
“We are grateful to God who has given us this opportunity to bring this message to the Emir of Shinkafi, through the Governor of Zamfara state, Alh Mohammed Bello Matawalle (Baraden Maradun) and to the President Mohammed Buhari.
“This is a letter (originally written in Hausa as seen below) from Mohammed Bello Turji Kachalla, the one we all know about.
“Having said that, I want the Emir of Shinkafi, the governor of Zamfara and the president, to look up to Allah and his Prophet.
“The purpose of this letter is as follows:
1. The killings of people going on which is not being publicised, the killings by bandits, herdsmen, kidnapping for ransom and even by security agents are our making. All these will come to an end by the grace of Allah. The government will have to play its part to ensure that this is achieved. As long as ethnicity and tribalism are eliminated, we need to all remain as one big family and forgive one another as Allah commands.
“2. Your highness, we would like to have a sit down with the traditional rulers in this country and also the religious leaders. If this is done, I Mohammed Bello Turji Kachalla, will make sure to disarm all my men and hand over all our arms to the government of Nigeria. As long as the government promises to take care of us the way it is taking care of the rest of the country and stop the stigmatisation of my people.
“3. Your highness, I want to assure you that we are not in contention with the government of Nigeria and we do not want any other country apart from this, we are not seeking power of any kind, rather the ugly things we Fulanis are facing in this country have pushed us to react the way we do and made us want to defend ourselves to the detriment of the peace of the nation.
“4. Your highness, we are not thieves and we don’t mean to harm anyone. This letter is not borne out of deception and we would not want to be deceived. Everything should be done in transparency for Allah’s sake and for the sake of the peace of our nation. So we can go back to the way we were in the past. We should all be law-abiding and allow the security agents to do their job and punish anyone found wanting. No form of arms would be seen with anyone except in the hands of the security agents as it’s supposed to be.
“5. Your highness, this is our last request. Just as we said earlier, we will like to make sure that all traditional rulers and all our Muslim leaders, most especially Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, to be present at this meeting. This is because he is the only one who understands us and he has been paying us visits to sympathize with us. He has been preaching to us and we have seen the effectiveness of his messages in our lives. We only want the peaceful existence of everyone in this country.
“May Allah give us all the strength to keep these promises without fail.
“This letter is from Mohammed Bello Turji Kachalla.”
A man who identified himself as Adamu Ayuba had recently released a song to praise and celebrate the bandit kingpin, Turji.
Turji, who is from Shinkafi in Zamfara State, has been identified as being behind several attacks on communities in Sokoto, Zamfara and parts of the Niger Republic.
The song was rendered in Hausa by Ayuba, along with a female chorus describing Turji as a hero among heroes.
Meanwhile, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal last week ordered the arrest of the singer, Ayuba.
SaharaReporters last Monday reported that an Islamic group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), said it had identified Turji as the bandit behind the recent killings in Sokoto State.
The group said Turji, a bandit leader, had earlier vowed to kill about 150 people.
MURIC, however, called on the Nigerian Army to fish out the bandit leader either dead or alive.
According to MURIC, getting Turji is integral to defeating banditry in Sokoto and Zamfara states.
Recently, 23 travellers were burnt and killed by bandits in Sokoto.
The group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a recent statement, said sources had identified Turji as the bandit behind the killings.
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