The past one week has witnessed reckless violence in Southern Kaduna. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Catholic Archdiocese of Kafanchan have claimed that about 808 people have been killed so far in 53 villages.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condemns these killings. We hate violence. We detest the sight of blood. Human life is sacred and nobody has the right to take the life of a fellow human being.
Nonetheless, we call for caution. We remind all stakeholders that both the Qur’an and the Bible enjoin caution in cases like this. The two scriptures ask mankind to investigate all cases before jumping to conclusions (Qur’an 49:6; 1st Thessalonians 5:21).
Both the press and the security agencies have questions to answer on the pogrom going on in Southern Kaduna: the press for giving the Nigerian public only one side of the story and the security agencies for allowing the killings to continue unabated. We remind the Federal Government (FG) that the primary duty of government is to protect the citizens’ lives and properties. Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
MURIC is concerned that the public has been fed with only the Christian side of the story. Justice and fair hearing demands that we hear from the other side. What happened to professionalism on the part of the press? Is hearing from the other side also not part of investigative journalism? Are there no Islamic organizations in Southern Kaduna? What of the Muslim Youth Foundation of Southern Kaduna (MYFOSKA)? Why haven’t they been interviewed?
The Nigerian press should not be asymmetrical. Parochial reportage is an ill wind that will blow nobody any good. We can only know the beginning of a crisis. Nobody can predict its end. Those who fan the embers of violence may end up as victims. MURIC feels concerned whenever there is violence in Nigeria. What this country needs for economic recovery and political stability is peace.
MURIC is in possession of documents which prove that Muslims were the first victims of attacks in Southern Kaduna and the attacks which targeted Muslim business premises, homes and families had begun since October 2017. But we will not release the documents yet so that the conflict will not exacerbate. Suffice it to note that security agents have caught some Christians with arms in the area since the conflict began some days ago.
We therefore take CAN’s allegation of official endorsement of the killings with a pinch of salt. It is subtle blackmail. Why must CAN’s handling of every crisis be clouded in religious profiling? It is high time we started to see our leaders as Nigerians and not as belonging to any particular tribe or faith. Criminals also must be seen from the point of view of their actions and not necessarily associated with their religion or ethnic group. Herdsmen must therefore be called herdsmen and not necessarily tied to the aprons of Muslims or Fulanis.
Finally, we charge the Federal Government to flood Southern Kaduna with security personnel. We welcome the Senate’s decision to probe the Southern Kaduna crisis. We call on Muslims in Southern Kaduna to remain calm and law abiding, to refrain from issuing inflammatory statements and to cooperate with security agents posted to the area. We appeal to CAN and the Catholic archdiocese of Kafanchan to douse tension among Christians in Southern Kaduna.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)