There is no difference between Boko Haram terrorists and those trying to break away from Nigeria, Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi says.
There have been calls for secession in the various parts of the country over allegations of marginalisation.
In the South-East, Nnamdi and his Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) wants another country carved out of the region and the South-South.
In the South-West, Sunday Igboho and his supporters want a Yourba nation named Oduduwa Republic. Igboho has also embarked on an unconstitutional crusade to expel Fulani herdsmen and settlers, whom he accuses of vandalism, banditry, kidnapping, rape and murder, from the region.
Gumi, who recently visited bandits in Zamfara to beg them to stop attacking northern Nigeria, says Igboho, Kanu and their sympathisers are no different from Boko Haram. He said the same is true for those clamouring for Arewa nation in the North.
“I usually give an example of General Murtala Muhammed, the former head of state from Kano, that was assassinated by the Buka Suka Dimka-led group,” Gumi told BBC Pidgin on Saturday.
“He had a Yoruba wife. So, where do you want his children to go if the nation is divided? Are they going to be with the Yorubas or Hausas in the North?
“Look, let’s forget these useless youths. They’re no more different from these herdsmen. These people agitating for Oduduwa, Biafra or Arewa are all the same group of people with Boko Haram.
“The majority of Nigerians want to stay with Nigeria. And if they are in doubt, let’s have a referendum. Look at elections, for instance, millions of votes from all the states, whether from the All Progressives Congress or the Peoples Democratic Party. This means that Nigerians are ready to stay with a united Nigeria. That is an indirect referendum which shows that the people are ready.
“So, all these youths that are making noise, whether Abubakar Shekau of Boko Haram, Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra and their Oduduwa counterpart, they are just a tiny minority of Nigerians using ethnic, archaic and retrogressive sentiments to destabilise the nation.
“But l can vouch that Nigerians really want to stay together in peace, but in peace and equity. Not with any segment of Nigeria being cheated.
“I’m in Sokoto now, there are still many Igbo traders here who don’t want to go back home, so why do you tell me they want Biafra? Biafra is a nuisance just like Boko Haram. You think every northerner is a Boko Haram?
“Most Nigerians don’t want these ethnic or religious groups. They simply want peace and to live together as nation. If truly the Yorubas are agigating for Oduduwa, why are their leaders not talking about it? Why are Igbo leaders also not talking about Biafra?
“What we expect is for Yoruba leaders and Igbo leaders to take care of their miscreants as we are handling herdsmen and Boko Haram which are miscreants in the North. Every leader should take the words to their people. Only the miscreants are fuelling this,” he added.
Gumi also canvassed for an amnesty programme for bandits in the country, stating that such would make them stop their attacks on Nigerians.