The Jamatu Nasril Islam, JNI, an organisation that represents Islamic groups in Nigeria, have alleged that there is a grand agenda to destabilize the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria.
In a statement by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, the organisation said that the dimension of extra judicial killing of Muslims by the Military on a mere whim of unsubstantiated suspicion leaves much to be desired, which “clearly depicts that Muslims have become endangered species, murdered and maimed indiscriminately in the guise of fighting terrorism.”
The statement read: “The sad incident of Keana 15 is another scenario where innocent Muslims were mercilessly massacred. These are people who have been exonerated by the State Governor as being peace loving people and law abiding. It is questionable that an operation of this magnitude would be carried-out without the knowledge of the Chief Security Officer of the State, nor other relevant security bodies.”
The group argued that the Benue State Governor and his deputy had recently exonerated the Fulani of Benue for the long outstanding relationship and social cohesion between them. It wondered how this could have suddenly changed and the next neighbour is accused because of his simplicity and unsophistication.
It also noted as painful and unacceptable, the various reports of human rights abuses and massacre of hundreds of Muslims in Maiduguri by the Military, as reported by human rights groups.
“We have found the usage of the term Fulani herdsmen, hiding their religious identity an attempt to wipe out Muslims in the guise of fighting terrorism, as it suits the situation and using Muslim terrorist as it suits the other situation as absurd. Why is it when a Christian commits a crime it is not called a Christian crime or terrorism? The fact remains, crime is crime; it is colourless, tribe less and religious less.”
“It is sad to note that a Muslim milk maid, a mother of five, was raped and killed by a military man around Dei-Dei area of the Federal Capital Territory. We are not aware of any step taken by the military authority on the matter. As usual they will buy time and the case will die naturally.
“We can say without any fear of contradiction that there is a grand agenda to destabilize the Muslim Ummah in Nigeria. If any Nigerian is in doubt regarding the hidden grand agenda to destabilize Muslims in Nigeria, and cautiously reduce their rising human capital, then the Zamfara State incidence should have removed this doubt.
“An event where vigilante personnel working to restore peace would be the subject of a grand massacre, tells much about the chaos and insecurity some enemies want to push our states into. We call on all our Governors, politicians and indeed every well-meaning citizen to do something before it gets out of hand.
The group warned the military that it was extremely dangerous to polarize security agencies along religious line as this would have far reaching negative effect in the country, especially at a time where the efforts of all are required to cushion the effect of the pains the people are passing through.
The group demanded the bringing to justice of the perpetrators of all crimes against innocent citizens who have the right to practice the religion they choose.
No Faith Or Ethnic Group Is Target Of Counter-Terrorism Campaign
Meanwhile, the military has referred to the statement issued by the Secretary-General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu as spurious and inflammatory.
The Director, Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement that it was imperative to set the records straight, much as the military was reluctant to join issues with a respectable religious organisation like JNI.
The statement read: “The Nigerian military remains non-partisan, non-sectarian and will continue to be the symbol of patriotism and a unifying factor in the face of threats to national sovereignty. If this wild allegation was meant to cause disaffection or brew disharmony within the military, then it has woefully failed as the Nigerian military does not operate along religious or ethnic lines.
“Contrary to the false claims, no law abiding individual, faith, ethnic group or organisation is being targeted as alleged by JNI. It is unfortunate that the unjust imputation is coming from a respectable and responsible organisation like JNI. We urge the body not to join in the fray of propagandists bent on discrediting genuine efforts at finding solutions to the nation’s security challenges”, the statement read.
The military promised that it would continue to be driven by patriotism and commitment to the cause of the nation and its law abiding citizens.
It called on all responsible organisations to cooperate in the efforts at addressing the nation’s security challenges rather than compound the problem, advising that individuals with similar prejudices should abandon such biases as the challenges at hand call for prayers and support of all well-meaning organisations and groups.
It added that the Armed Forces comprises Nigerians from all religious persuasions and could not be used against any particular religion as purported, as the military would not be distracted by unfair imputations from any quarter.
The statement concluded: “Individuals apprehended in the course of counter-terrorism campaign will continue to have access to justice as provided by law.“