The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to see ongoing attacks by suspected herdsmen as not a sectional issue but a tragedy that befalls every body in the country.
The group made this remark in reaction to last week’s call by the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for Christians across the country to hold demonstrations after church service on Sunday over killings in the Middle Belt and other regions of the country.
Last Sunday Christians in states like Lagos, Akure, Osogbo and Ado-Ekiti held peaceful protests in response to the directive of the CAN chairman.
MURIC’s director, Ishaq Akintola, said as much as his group respects the feelings of the Christians in the country concerning the development in the Middle Belt, CAN should also understand that Muslims are also direct victims of the herdsmen’s violence.
“…We reaffirm our earlier position that Christians have not been the only victims of the killings around the country,” he said.
He added that “Muslims are losing hundreds of faithfuls on a monthly basis in the North East as Boko Haram unleashes terror on the predominantly Muslim populace.
Citing recent examples of communal violence as reference point, th MURIC boss said “36 Muslims were killed in Birane Village in Zurmi Local Council, Zamfara State on February 16, 2018.
“Six Muslims were killed in Jidari Polo area of Maiduguri on April 26, 2018.
“Even yesterday, Sunday 29th April, 2018, another 15 Muslims were killed in Bawon-Daji village, in Anka District of Zamfara. Again, more than 12 Muslims were waylaid and killed in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, when the corpses of the two priests killed in the Benue church attack were brought to the city. These are verifiable attacks by those free of the ‘lazymania’ virus.
“So the question arises: why kill innocent Muslim travellers when peaceful protests were already being planned?
“The pointable point is that we are all victims. Both Christians and Muslims have lost their members to criminals and blood-thirsty elements of our country.
Professor Akintola however pointed out that rather than the CAN calling for a one-sided protest rally, it would have made more impact had both of the two religious groups had a joint protest.
“Meaningful impact could have been made if both Christians and Muslims held a joint protest against the failure of government to stem the tide of killings.
“That would make it impossible for observers to read meanings into yesterday’s protest. It would stop questions like, “Why are they demonstrating now? Is it because Buhari is a Muslim? Why didn’t they protest when Jonathan was in power? Were there no killings in Jonathan’s time? Do they want to bring Buhari’s government down?”.