The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, has strongly criticised the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria over a statement by the latter’s spokesperson.
The JNI is a coalition of most Islamic organisations, mainly in Northern Nigeria. It is headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar. It was replying to a press conference by the CAN scribe, Musa Asake.
Mr. Asake had condemned the government’s poor handling of the Benue violence believed to have been perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen.
The JNI, in a statement by its secretary, Khalid Aliyu, accused Mr. Asake of trying to smear Islam and Muslims. It said it is opposed to all kinds of violence irrespective of the identity of the perpetrators and the victims.
Read the full JNI statement below:
It is very astonishing and utterly un-chivalrous that religious bodies such as CAN always drags the name of religion in the mud for clandestine motives. Religion is expected to teach us truth and sincerity, not lies and treachery. However, we are compelled to think that the views and statements expressed by Musa Asake, a reverend and CAN’s scribe, are more of his misguided opinions and his cohorts, not necessarily the true reflection of Nigerian Christians, because there are a good number of Christians among them.
Thus, the press conference addressed by Musa Asake, General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on January 16, 2018, is mendacious, provocative, full of blatant lies and misinformation, disinformation, as well as seditious to the State. Nevertheless, JNI will not refute all the allegations he raised against the federal government and its agencies, as we would not be holding brief for the government. Our concern however is about the series of lies he heaped on Islam and Muslims in his unfortunate press briefing.
Suffice to highlight some of these lies as follows:
1. The ‘herdsmen’ debacle: it must be understood that this is a coinage mischievously invented by CAN over time and its biased errand boys among media practitioners to stereotype an ethnic group so as to achieve a pre-planned agenda. Moreover, why not call a spade by its name? And why is the whole herdsmen issue heightened now i.e. 2018? Simply CAN is unnecessarily overheating the polity because 2019 is around the corner. Our take is that CAN should better go and register as a political party and contest election if they want to test their popularity! We, nonetheless, make bold to say that CAN is deliberately covering up by using the ‘herdsmen’ debacle as a franchise to perpetrate evil as witnessed in the ‘Boko Haram’ tale. As cases of Christians dressed in Muslims’ garb to bomb churches is still fresh in our memories. The infamous Lydia Yusuf of Bauchi State, the Miya Barkatai would-be Christian bombers also in Bauchi State, as well as the foiled bombing of the Radio House in Abuja, after which the then Minister of Information and Marylyn Ogar, then SSS Spokesperson, changed the storyline are still fresh in our memories. In the same light, some Christian leaders’ promote hate speeches, such as ‘If you see a Fulani man kill him’ by Pastor Suleman and ‘crush them, kill them’ by Pastor Oyedepo. The repercussion o such speeches could be better imagined! In addition, Bishop Kukah’s hate speech against Muslims in Nigeria is legendary, as hardly would opportunity avail itself for him to talk without smearing Islam and Muslims in Nigeria. Recently, he said ‘at the slightest excitement Hausa or Fulani man can kill you and get away with it’.
2. Seeing that they have gotten away with those crimes, CAN has now devised a new approach of destabilizing Nigeria in order to achieve their agenda. If not so, would one explain Mr. Asake’s silence about the New Years’ eve killings in Rivers State, but mentioned that of Kwara State and other places? Selective amnesia indeed! Is CAN not supposedly representing all Christians? If not so, why forget to mention the gruesome attack in Rivers? Is it because no Muslim is involved, and therefore it’s not a crime?
3. Talking about the killings in Benue State, why did Asake remain mute on the arming of thousands of ethnic militia by the Benue State government(as reported by some sections of the media), an act which is seen as a prelude to the most unfortunate spate of horrendous experiences in the state.
4. Why did Asake refused to include brutal killings of hundreds of people and the destruction of properties in Zamfara State, Birnin Gwari area of Kaduna State and some parts of Katsina State? Does that mean that these places are not part of Nigeria or the people killed in these places are inferior to the ones mentioned by Asake? Does it mean CAN is always asleep when Muslims are killed?
5. The CAN scribe’s claim that ‘the clannish mentality of the Fulani places every other ethnic nationality in Nigeria as colonial subject or Dhimmi (second class citizen), irrespective of religion or culture’ is indeed the peak of his stark socio-historic illiteracy despite his PhD. He should better go and learn what, where, when and how the philosophy of an Islamic State operates, as well as who a Dhimmi is. It should be noted that before the ascendency to power of President Muhammadu Buhari, countless number of lives particularly Muslims were massacred in North East, North West, in fact all over the country the gory story of killings went unabated. For instance in 2012 over 50 Muslims were murdered in Dogon Dawa in Birnin Gwari local government areas, during early morning prayers, while in October 2014 over 103 Muslims butchered in Faskari and Sabuwa local government areas of Katsina State. These in addition to the daily bloodletting of Muslims in Zamfara State. Similarly, sometime in August, 2017, over 90 innocent, defenceless and armless Fulani women and children were massacred by the rampaging Adara Christian Militia (ACM) in Kajuru local government; likewise 13 innocent souls were killed in Rugar Alhaji Malam, burnt and buried at Unguwan Aku, and 10 were killed and mutilated beyond recognition at Malam Yelwa in Aguba all in Kaduna State.
6. Asake’s reference to the spate of killings in many parts of Northern Nigeria as ‘Jihad’ exposes his stark socio-historic illiteracy and his height of enmity against the Muslims and Islam. Can we then safely say the killings in Zamfara, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Mambila, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, as well as the cannibalization of Muslims in Plateau and such other places entrench Christianity? Must Asake bring Christianity so low as to appear mundane and unintelligent?
7. Also in the said press briefing, Asake danced naked in the market square when he ignorantly supported Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel. Asake has clearly told Nigerians that his loyalty is to Trump, and not to the Government and President of Nigeria. It is thus very perplexing to note that CAN and the likes of Asake are operating at cross-purposes with the entire Christendom, such as the Vatican and the hundreds of Christians around the globe, who were unequivocal in their respective condemnation of Trump’s Zinonist tendencies. This is pure treachery and crass undermining of national interest. We are indeed not surprised because sometimes in July 2012 the American Senate Committee on Human Rights gave audience to then CAN President Ayo Oritsejafor, where he made a lot of unprintable statements over there against the Muslims and Islam in Nigeria. On the issue at hand, is Israel a Christian State? Do Christians have freedom to freely practice their religion in Israel? In this blind hatred for Islam and Muslims, the reverend shot himself in the foot by aiding with the Jews of Israel against persecuted Christians in the Occupied Territories of Palestine. This lack of knowledge of diplomacy in this matter is not new for the records. Nigerians could recall with nostalgia that in 2014, a President was reported absent while an important UN sitting was ongoing.
To put the record straight, JNI condemns killings of innocent souls wherever they happen and whoever is involved. JNI also condemns the generalization of criminals as representatives of the whole, thus leading to unjust stereotyping and name-calling. We condemn all criminals, whoever they are and wherever they come from. A criminal should be treated as a criminal regardless of his/her ethnicity and/or religious affiliation.
Therefore, CAN should desist from making provocative statements in the midst of serious crises bedeviling the nation. Although we are not oblivious of the fact that CAN since the era of Ayo Oritsejafor had a glaring pathological hatred for Muslims and Islam in Nigeria, the matter is now gathering more momentum and urgency and becoming a manifest and brazen threat to government. We are not surprised because the present CAN leadership is an offshoot of Oritsejafor whose aircraft was found in South Africa purportedly for arms deals and till date nothing is been heard of it!
CAN and other Christian leaders such as Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, Pastors Oyedepo, Suleiman and recently El Buba should not take the Nigerian Muslims’ patience for foolishness, as their hate speeches are becoming really provocative and outlandish. Hypothetically, as a religious body, they are expected to be part of the solution rather than the problem they have now become.
The Muslims know that the ‘Nigeria is secular’ sloganeering is mere mendacity seeing that the Government and its policies are more tilted towards Christianity and Christians signs and practices. So CAN should free us from the hypocritical secularity claim. The leadership of CAN always tend to cry more than the bereaved (in most cases the bereaved are the Muslims) in Nigeria. But we boldly assert that our strength is with Allah, the Most High, as there is the World beyond this mundane one.
Government’s silence over the Numan massacre which was reportedly spearheaded by the Bechama Christian Militia (BCM) against Fulani Muslim settlements in Shafaran, Shawal, Gumara, Kikam and Kadamti villages all of Adamawa State, on Monday 20th November, 2017, is condemnable and perpetrators must be brought to book. The attack was said to have left more than 87 women and children dead on the spot and their animals, farms and settlements destroyed. Sadly, the media were either completely silent or, where they did report, they deliberately misreported the facts. Where in the world can this gruesome murder be perpetrated without catching the attention of the conscious? Likewise, the Mubi suicide attack which was well coordinated and carried out on Tuesday 21st November, 2017 during Salatus-Subh (early Morning Prayer) at the Mosque, by a teenage bomber killing not less than 50 people on the spot with scores injured. Equally, villages such as Kunturi, from Girei, Borrong and Luru from Demsa, Kotumso from Numan local government areas of Adamawa State were all affected of the ethnic cleansing agenda. Why was government seemingly unconcerned? Is it because Muslims were the victims?
2. The June, 2017 Mambilla massacre in Taraba State is another horrific narrative for the Muslims, were over 800 people were annihilated, yet nothing is seen done by the government. Despite the glaring correspondence between Yusufu N. Akirikwen, the State Attorney General and the State Commissioner of Police dated 8/09/2017, to release all suspects within their custody. Therefore, we call on all concerned to make sure that justice is seen done.
3. Similarly, security agencies as well as Benue State government should be prevailed upon to produce well known rampaging militia kingpins such as Ghana and/or Tashaku, and many others who have been accused of killing hundreds of Tiv people and other innocent citizens in Benue state. The security agencies should also carry out necessary investigation on the sources of arms of the so called Livestock guards in Benue state, who had engaged in intimidation, extortion, forceful confiscation of cows and extra-judicial killings of innocent lives from November, 2017 to date. Government should note that Tashaku, the Benue Vigilante Group’s head is an escapee Boko Haram member as averred by Ahmed Salkida. Therefore, there is the urgent need for introspection of promoters of crises in Nigeria.
4. Government should be seen to be proactive on these security matters. The re-occurrence of security upheavals (kidnappings, armed robberies, rising bombs/attack of Boko Haram insurgents and ethnic violence here and there) in Nigeria is alarming, and there is urgent need for redress. Citizens are becoming more and more agitated.
5. Government should take the bull by the horn by prosecuting promoters of hate speech in Nigeria, if not one day it will become a norm that cannot be challenged. And one of the chief mongers of the hate speech is CAN, as represented by Asake.
6. Government should act fast before we are consumed by their induced conflagrations.
Finally, while we continue to express our sincere condolences to all the victims of these unfortunate killings, we are calling on both the politicians and non-governmental organisations to be even handed in finding a lasting solution to these repeated, senseless, retrtable killings. We also expect the Nigerian governments at all levels, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other stakeholders who recently visited Benue State to undertake similar visitations to areas where Fulani Muslims were killed and maimed, such as Adamawa, Kaduna and Taraba States respectively.