The Muslim students society of Nigeria (MSSN) B zone has called on the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari to prosecute all the suspects arrested in connection with the killings between farmers and herders.
In a release made available to THE PRECISION by the president of the society, Qaasim Odedeji, called on all stakeholders in the country to support the federal government in its resolve to put an end to the killings across the nation.
Mr Odedeji however warned against politicising the killings by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), urging them to always advice the president instead of resorting to protest.
Below is the full text of the press release by the MSSN:
MUSLIM STUDENTS’ SOCIETY OF NIGERIA, B-ZONE
Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. 1st May 2018.
PEACEFUL PROTEST OR DIRTY POLITICS?
Nigerians woke up on Sunday, the 29th day of April, 2018 to the protest embarked upon by the Christians after church services within the premises of their churches in obedience to the call earlier made by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to do same to protest against the killings going on around the country. The protests were held in some states of the country such as Benue, Taraba, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Kano State.
We recognize the fundamental right of every individual and groups to peaceful protest to press home their demands
We equally condemn in the strongest term killing of innocent souls under whatever guise as such is against the tenets of Islam, our religion.
We however deny the impression being created by the Christian body that the killings are targeted at Christians as Muslims have constituted the majority of the victims of the dastardly killings across the country such as Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Zamfara and Maiduguri. Just recently, 36 Muslims were killed in Birane Village in Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State on 16th of February, 2018 while 6 Muslims were killed in Jidiri Polo Area of Maiduguri on 26th of April, 2018 and 15 Muslims killed in Bawon Daji Village and another 12 killed in Makurdi, Benue State.
We are equally concerned and worried to ask when did the Christian Association of Nigeria start to result to protest to press for their demands before the Federal Government? Does the Christian body not have the necessary access to Mr President at all time to give him sincere advice when in fact CAN and some of its affiliate bodies have been granted audience by Mr President than any of the Muslim groups including the Nigerian Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs?
We are also constrained to ask where was CAN prior to 2015 general election when a whole geo-political zone of the country, the North-East was under siege and a larger part of it carved out as a territory by Boko Haram insurgents? Yet, CAN leadership never for once raised any strong opinion against the government of Goodluck Jonathan. Rather, the leadership of the Christian body was hobnobbing with the then government and entering into an unholy alliance with it.
The above prompts us to ask: do we say this is politics of 2019 at play?
Among the inscriptions displayed during the protest held in Makurdi, Benue State read ” Buhari is responsible for the killings in Benue” and ” There is no way that the Christian Community will support Buhari’s second term ambition “. In Ibadan Oyo State where the CAN President led some members to protest, he said, among other things, that ‘it was time for Nigerians to use their votes to correct the anomalies of the present government’
With the above statements made during the protests, we are compelled to believe that the public demonstrations of the Christian body was driven by dirty politics rather than peaceful protest against killings of the innocent souls the victims of which are both Muslims and Christians
This position of ours can also be justified when we consider the fact that CAN has never hidden its hatred to President Buhari being a Muslim and does everything possible to antagonize him.
We would have expected that the Christians Association of Nigeria would call on the National Assembly to pass the Appropriation Bill 2018 into law in order to allow the executive arm of the government access to fund to deal with the many challenges facing the country such as insecurity. Or how do we justify a situation whereby the National law makers have refused to pass the budget, yet they expect the government to run but not allowed to spend money on critical issues without recourse to the same Assembly
We therefore call on well meaning Nigerians to prevail on the Christian Association of Nigeria to eschew dirty politics and rather sincerely partner with the Federal government and other stakeholders in finding pragmatic solutions to the challenges at hand. They should stop playing politics with innocent souls
We however commend Sokoto chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria and others that opted for prayers for peace nationwide instead of protest.
We call on the international community especially the United State of America to note that the herdsmen /farmers crisis is not a religious one between Christians and Muslims as might be suggested by CAN protest in view of the undeniable fact that both the herdsmen and farmers have sizeable number of Muslims and Christians.
We also call on politicians not to see politics as a do-or-die affair and play the game according to the rules as we approach the general elections.
We finally urge the Federal Government to prosecute all the culprits arrested in connection with the herdsmen/farmer crisis and bring them to book.
Barr Qaasim Odedeji
Alh Abdul Jaleel Abdur Rasaq
Engr. Bashir Momoh
Public Relations Officer