By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Nigerian Army plans to commence the training of new recruits from Monday 12th April, 2021. However, the Nigerian Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has appealed for a postponement of the exercise due to the Ramadan fast season which may begin the next day, Tuesday, 13th April, 2021. MURIC hinged its plea on the need for new Muslim recruits to be able to focus on the training mentally and spiritually with enough energy to face the rigours of the exercise.
MURIC’s appeal was channelled through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola who issued a statement on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021.
The appeal reads:
“The Nigerian Army is billed to commence the training of new recruits in two weeks, around the 12th of April, 2021. Coincidentally, Muslims around the world may start their annual fasting in the month of Ramadan the next day (13th April, 2021.
“Fasting in the month of Ramadan is mandatory upon adult Muslims as prescribed in the Glorious Qur’an, ‘Oh you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain piety’ (Qur’an 2:183). Fasting in this month is also one of the five pillars of Islam, none of which a Muslim can ignore.
“For this reason, Muslims take the exercise very serious and they will not wish to miss it for any reason except illness, pregnancy or when on a long journey. In fact some countries reduce both school and working hours for their students and workers during this period. This is because those who are fasting can neither eat nor drink from dawn till dusk thereby making them to become easily tired particularly from noon till sunset.
“Meanwhile military training is an energy-sapping exercise for which a person who is fasting may be unfit. He is prone to dehydration. He may not be able to concentrate fully, may get tired easily and may actually come to harm due to the rigours of the training. Although total fitness and full readiness for combat is the aim of military training, the Nigerian Army may not be able to get the best out of Muslim recruits who are fasting. Therefore the purpose may be defeated. Worse still, casualties may be recorded during the training.
“In order to register a hitch-free and successful training exercise, therefore, we appeal to the Nigerian Army to postpone the exercise billed to begin on Monday, 12th April, 2021 till the middle of May when Ramadan would have ended.
“Our appeal should not be misconstrued as sheer sentiment. Neither are we unaware of the security challenges facing our dear nation which necessitates the recruitment of more men into the armed forces. But just as man is body, soul and spirit, so is a nation. The war against insurgency, the fight against kidnappers, bandits and all other criminals cannot be won on the battle field alone.
“We need spiritual warfare to weaken the insurgents and cause confusion within their rank and file. We need prayers to expose kidnappers. We need Allah’s divine intervention to soften the hearts of bandits and transform them into useful citizens. Ramadan season is the ideal period to seek divine intervention in Nigeria’s security challenges as well as other problems. It is a well-known fact that Muslims engage in deep spiritual exercises during Ramadan than at any other time of the year. The Nigerian Army should leverage on this.
“With prayers, Allah can give victory to Nigerian troops even where the insurgents outnumber them. The army of Prophet Daud (peace be upon him) routed that of Jalut (Goliath) even though the former was outnumbered (Qur’an 2:249). In the Battle of Badr in 623 C. E., only 313 Muslim warriors defeated 1,000 enemy fighters.
“Allah can fight for Nigerian soldiers if faith is allowed to permeate them. The Glorious Qur’an says, ‘Yes, if you exercise patience and you fear Allah, even if the enemy should rush here at you, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels, making a terrific onslaught’ (3:125).
“Therefore, our message to the leadership of the Nigerian Army is this: be patient and fear your Lord. Allow your new intakes to fast this Ramadan before you commence training for them and watch how your Lord will weaken the enemy for you. For giving Him priority, your Lord will double the strength of your forces. He will give you invissible fighters. Every single bullet fired at the enemies of peace in this country will become a divinely guided missile (Qur’an 8:17).
“We call on Nigerians to pray for the success of operations embarked upon by the army and to also pray for peace, stability and economic prosperity for our great country, Nigeria.”