The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has called on the federal government to bring security to the rural level and re-strategise the security structure of the country.
It made this call in a statement signed by its Deputy Secretary-General, Salisu Shehu, while reacting to the incessant killings across Nigeria.
The Islamic body said it is was deeply saddened by the orgy of violence and mindless killings being perpetrated across the country, describing the killings as terrible, wicked, evil, disastrous, devilish and calamitous.
It explained that contrary to the impression being created by “those who are paid to misinform the public”, in some of the cases, Muslims were the targeted victims of the killings generally presented as herdsmen killings. It said the council would not make the situation worse by using emotive language based on the level of violence wreaked on Muslims.
“There is abundant evidence of many Muslims who were slaughtered, particularly those who were stopped on the blocked highway, identified as Muslims and gruesomely killed by the same elements that are quick to blame their crime on others.
“The truth is that the same cannibals who waylaid Muslims on Sallah day few years ago, roasted and ate them (the video of which went viral and is available) are still active in their systematic campaign of terror in the Middle Belt,” it said.
It hailed the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bauchi State chapter, for its comments on the incident.
It said according to the CAN state chairman, Reverend Joshua Ray Miller, the attacks are the handiwork of saboteurs and a grand conspiracy to make Nigeria ungovernable, and make the Buhari administration appear unpopular as the 2019 general elections approach.
“The Chairman said, ‘It is unfortunate that some people are hiding under the disguise of local Fulani herdsmen to perpetrate these killings and from what we are witnessing, they are heading towards the realms of power at the Federal level.’ He refuted the allegation of Fulani herdsmen killing Nigerians stressing that ‘some politicians who are hungry to seize power at the national level were sponsoring criminals to perpetrate heinous crimes in the Northern part of the country’,” it said.
NSCIA called on Nigerians to heed the warning given by the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church, William Kumuyi, that Nigerians should “be vigilant, wary of those who kill for political reasons to resurrect religious war.”
The council accused the National Christian Elders Forum of “attempting to set the country ablaze with dangerous distortions, spurious claims and outright lies.”
It said “their strategy is to stir the emotions of the unwary majority and appeal to the primordial sentiments of their religious followers.
“Many people can recollect the passionate falsehoods and concocted videos produced, mass circulated and presented by Bosun Emmanuel to several churches just to incite Christians and thwart the electoral victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2014.
“Among what he said then was that General Sani Abacha was the best President Nigeria ever had. His reason for reaching that conclusion was simply that General Abacha deposed a Sultan.
“Having failed in his mission to divide Nigerians across religious lines preparatory to the 2015 elections, he has sought fellow lslamophobes and ethnic bigots to drive the same cause he failed woefully at.
“The mission is evil and the method is despicable: set Nigerians against one another by circulating hate messages,” it said.
NSCIA urged the Federal Government to take security seriously and be proactive by preventing anarchists, whether in religious or political garbs, from exacerbating our woes through their new-found industry of fake news, hate speech and violent language.
It called on the Federal and State governments to accord the security of lives and property of Nigerians its deserved seriousness.
The council sympathised with the government and people of Plateau State as well as the families of other innocent Nigerians caught up and killed “in that glee of madness.”
It also urged all Nigerians to desist from resorting to violence as a means of achieving their objectives.
“They should always think of the implications and consequences of violence, mutual suspicion, hate speech and unwarranted rivalry. Rwanda was not a movie; it was real.
“Those who fan the embers of discord and war, waylay Muslims and kill them should be wary of the consequences of their actions. The media should also be cautious and crosscheck their facts.
“Sacking unprofessional reporters who would have been well paid by their sponsors and apologising to Nigerians for reports that had induced readers to commit murder are like medicine after death,” it said.
It called for vigilance, truth, fairness and introspection, instead of being pawns in the hands of political interests who masquerade as religious and ethnic champions but do not mind the cost in human lives for achieving their selfish ends.