The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) has described as fake a document linking communications minister Isa Pantami to the planned murder of former Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa.
The group also urged security agencies to investigate the alleged plot and the source of the document.
The said document, which first surfaced online in 2010, alleged that in a July 2010 meeting convened by the JNI and presided over by Mr Pantami, there were plots to, among other things, “eliminate” Mr Yakowa.
The secretary-general of the group, Khalid Aliyu, said in a statement Friday that the allegations were “disheartening and disgusting” and wondered how “an assassination plot could be written and kept.”
Mr Aliyu said Mr Pantami was not at any point JNI’s leader both at national or state level.
“What could have necessitated the combination of Bauchi, Plateau, Niger and Kaduna states from different geo political zones in the meeting?” his statement noted.
“If Yakowa was vehemently hated by the Muslims and were desperately trying to ‘get rid’ of him. How did he win the 2011 elections in a Muslim dominated state of Kaduna where a Muslim-Muslim ticket recently sailed through? Who voted him in?”
He added that the document was shared by the media to confuse and manipulate an average Nigerian’s mind in order to disrupt the country’s peace.
Nigerians have torn into Mr Pantami, an Islamic cleric, in the past few days after some video and audio recordings of his past incendiary sermons where he espoused extremists views became public.
The minister said he has amended some of the views he held in the past and has been working hard to dissuade young people from embracing extremism.
But his critics would have none of this. Calls for his resignation or sack from office have increased over the last few days. Some have meanwhile defended the minister, saying the attacks against him were politically motivated.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) have also rejected the controversial document, describing it as fake.
Mr Pantami has also denied the allegation that he attended the meeting in question. The presidency has also pulled its weight behind the minister, much to the chagrin of critics.
Read the full JNI statement below:
23rd April, 2021
11th Ramadan, 1442
PRESS RELEASE: ALLEDGED YAKOWA’S ASSASSINATION PLOT: EXCESSIVE, CONVULSIVE SMEAR CAMPAIGN TAKEN TOO FAR!
The JNI under the leadership of His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the JNI, was taken aback by the desperation of some disgruntled elements who in their desperate attempt to smear the image of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy drag the name of the JNI as being part of an alleged plot to assassinate the late Governor Yakowa of Kaduna state.
To start with, how could Sheikh Pantami chair a JNI meeting while he was not one of its leaders either at the National or state levels? What could have necessitated the combination of Bauchi, Plateau, Niger and Kaduna states from different geo political zones in the meeting? If Yakowa was vehemently hated by the Muslims and were desperately trying to ‘get rid’ of him. How did he win the 2011 elections in a Muslim dominated state of Kaduna where a Muslim-Muslim ticket recently sailed through? Who voted him in?
The so-called pieces of minutes shared by the media to further confuse and manipulate an average Nigerian’s mind into believing this orchestrated lie has further confirmed the desperation of the perpetrators. It is very perplexing and heart-rending that minutes of an assassination plot could be written and kept. How disheartening and disgusting!
We thought the plot against Sheikh Pantami is politically motivated, but surprisingly it is assuming to be a more sinister dimension born out of a well thought-out scheme designed to smear and tarnish the image and the good name of the JNI and other Muslim organizations.
Considering the various concerns raised by many citizens, vis’-a’- vis the attendant consequence of the scandalous allegation, we wish to place on record and for posterity that such never occurred and the JNI does not operate in such a dubious manner. We are at loss as to why is this allegation coming up just now, many years after the demise of Mr Yakowa? This should be seriously investigated.
The JNI therefore condemned unreservedly this ill-conceived, unprofessionally prepared and cunning but futile attempt to drag its hard earned reputation in the mud. We call on the security agencies to immediately swing into action and fish out the perpetrators of this heinous act and subject them to the wrath of the law before their foot soldiers disturb the modicum of tranquility in the country. This should be treated with utmost urgency and the JNI is ready to fully cooperate with the security agencies in this regard.
If these agents of darkness had travelled down the history lane, they would have known that they would woefully fail in their every attempt to project Islam and Muslims in bad light. This is a proven fact. Powers more ferocious, more determined, more sophisticated and more devilish than them have tried several times and failed. What makes them think that they can succeed now? It is obvious that they have utterly crashed even before they took off!
We appreciate the many calls put through to the JNI on the matter hence we implore all Muslims to continue to maximize the blessings of this Ramadan to intensify prayers for Allah to bless Nigeria and peace loving Nigerians. We also call on all Nigerian citizens, Muslims and non-Muslims to be wary of the diabolical plan by some people to destabilize Nigeria. Finally, we pray to Allah to continue to elevate Islam and Muslims to greater heights, to bring peace to troubled areas, to assist Nigerian leaders at all levels and to continue to unite the Muslims under the umbrella of the ‘Kalimatush-Shahadah’. Aamin
Sheikh Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu
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