Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, says there was religious bias in the Nigerian Army between 2010 and 2015.
The cleric had during a meeting in February with some suspected bandits in Tegina forest, a border town between Niger and Kaduna states accused non-Muslim soldiers of killing and attacking Muslim bandits.
He alleged that the non-Muslims soldiers were stirring confusions with the aim of wreaking havoc.
“What I want you people to understand is soldiers that are involved in most of the criminalities are not Muslims. You know, soldiers have Muslims and none Muslims. The non-Muslims are the ones causing confusion just to ignite a crisis,” the Islamic cleric had said.
Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, while reacting to the statement on Monday, said the security agency did not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines as stated by the cleric during his interaction with bandits.
Yerima cautioned Gumi against making divisive and disparaging utterances against the military institutions.
Speaking with BBC on Tuesday, the cleric said his earlier comments were misunderstood, blaming media reports for the misunderstanding.
The cleric noted that he had a good understanding of the Nigerian Army, adding that many things have not changed since he left the force.
“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,” Gumi said.