15th September, 2017
DON’T RETALIATE, DON’T SPREAD HATRED, ESCHEW VIOLENCE
There were reports of attacks on minority ethnicities in some parts of the country yesterday as a result of actions being taken by Nigerian security agencies against separatists and agitators in the South Eastern part of the country.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is irked by this ugly development. We condemn all acts of violence against fellow Nigerians. It is unhealthy. It is barbaric.
We strongly suspect that some unpatriotic elements are bent on destroying the good work of the Buhari administration. Having discovered that their sophisticated plot to eliminate the president failed woefully, they have decided to create tension and escalate violence to a level where there is chaos everywhere. Their Mephistophelean desire is to necessitate a forceful change of government. We must not fall into their trap. Let us stoop to conquer.
MURIC therefore appeals for calm everywhere. We appeal to Nigerians particularly Northerners to refrain from retaliatory attacks on non-indigenes in their midst. We must not play into the hands of rebellious subjects and enemies of peace.
Instead of attacking non-indigenes among us, let us form a ring around them. Let us assure them of full protection by our communities. Let us also create a solid police-community relationship for special protection for non-indigenes in all states.
Traditional rulers are implored to follow the example of the Sultan of Sokoto who boldly told Northerners to attack him first before attacking Igbos. The Emir of Katsina has also displayed exemplary leadership and rare patriotism by assuring non-indigenes of their safety. We expect no less from traditional rulers in the South East and South South.
We must chart the course of peace if we do not want to see Nigerians between the ages of fourteen and forty five carrying guns. We must sue for peace if we do not want our daughters and wives raped in our presence. Peace is the only choice before us if we do not want our children orphaned, 10% of them killed and a large majority of vulnerable people exposed to famine.
We all saw how Rwanda children and women became refugees. Sierra Leone has not fully recovered from the ravages of war. Liberia is a shadow of its old self. We will create the world’s worst refugee crisis if we allow this violence to escalate. No African country can help Nigeria because we are the big brother and the rest of the world will only laugh at us for messing up the golden opportunity which the Buhari administration gave us.
The Glorious Qur’an warns against vengeance and assures us that former enemies can become our best friends. It therefore urges us to ignore those who perpetrate evil by being kind to them (Qur’an 41:34). In the same vein, the Bible implores believers to forgive and makes forgiveness a proviso for receiving God’s own forgiveness (Mathew 6:14).
Both Christians and Muslims in this country must not allow the rest of the world to mock us. The world will ask, “Why are there so many churches and so many mosques in their country if they cannot follow the teachings of love, tolerance and forgiveness in their scriptures?” The world will call us hypocrites and they will be right. We must not allow this to happen.
Finally, we call on governors, traditional rulers and community leaders to speak up against retaliation, violence and hate speech. The time to do that is now. Let us remember Haile Selassie’s warning, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)