By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an Islamic human rights organisation, has condemned the spate of killings in the country, including the most recent one in Igangan, Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State. The group also called on Nigerians to stop the vicious cycle of killings and kidnappings.
The director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, made this known in a press release issued on Friday, 11th June, 2021.
The statement reads:
“We are horrified by the spate of killings in all parts of Nigeria. Just as we condemn the most recent one in Igangan, Ibarapa Local Government Area of Oyo State which occurred on Sunday, 6th June, 2021, we equally denounce the killing which preceded it in the same Igangan a few months ago. Not only that, we decry all other killings and kidnappings around the country. We reject all forms of violence.
“As a national organisation with members spread across all parts of the country, MURIC must objectively look at the broad spectrum of killings and condemn all. We cannot treat one act of criminality in isolation and ignore others as if those killed in those areas are not human beings. That will be selective, parochial and myopic. We therefore berate all killings. We decry all forms of violence. That is why our motto is ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’.
“In particular, we strongly condemn the killing of policemen and soldiers in some parts of the country. Those who target security agents for killing can never succeed in enthroning orderly civilisation. They are simply opening the doors for criminalities of all ramifications and installing a reign of terror.
“Every Nigerian life is precious to us in MURIC. We hurt and grieve when people of Eastern Nigeria are killed. We feel the pain when those of the South West lose their lives to violence. Our hearts bleed when people of the Middle Belt get hurt and we mourn when Northerners are killed. It does not matter to us whether those who died are Christians or Muslims. Life is sacred. It is precious. Every human being deserves to live in peace and dignity.
“We call attention to the national spread and ‘federal character’ of the violence that has engulfed Nigeria in recent time. There is ample evidence that it is not limited to any particular region, state or tribe. It has been all-embracing. Just as bandits and cattle rustlers pound us in the North, gunmen ravage our land in the South East and South West.
“This phenomenon was predicted in the Glorious Qur’an 30:41 when the sacred book says, ‘Mischief has appeared on both land and sea as a result of the handiworks of men’.
“What we are saying in essence is that the killings are not limited to the recent one in Igangan. Bandits are killing hundreds in Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto, etc. For example, just yesterday, 10th June, 2021, Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State expressed the fear that there may be famine in the state very soon as a result of the criminal activities of herdsmen which has forced farmers to abandon the farms.
“It is therefore misleading to jump to the conclusion that one region is out to eliminate or dominate any particular region. That is why we must eschew the insurrectionist agenda springing up in the South East and South West. We must all come together to fight the violent elements invading our communities.
“The way forward lies in the hands of the state governors as the hands of the Federal Government are full fighting Boko Haram insurgents. It is an open secret that governors receive huge amounts of money monthly as security vote. They should spend this money on securing their territories by establishing and empowering local security outfits.
“It is in this regard that we commend those governors who have instituted one form of local vigilante group or another. However, the governors should followup this establishment with empowerment. It is not enough to recruit just five hundred securitymen for a whole state. Cities are conquered by numbers. Therefore, the governors should recruit thousands of Amotekun, EbebuAgu, Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and others and arm them to the teeth in order to enable them tackle all criminals. Criminal herdsmen and bandits must be dealt with according to the law in Kaduna, Ondo, Sokoto, Enugu, Ekiti, etc.
“Above all, we must realise that no amount of preparation to defend our territories can be as effective as consciously working for peace and seeking harmony. Nigerians must change their mindset. Our problem is perception. Every tribe suspects the other. Every region nurses grudges against the other. The myth of the North-South dichotomy has congealed into such a thick reality that one can cut it with a knife.
“We therefore appeal to all to embrace the current peace efforts of elder statesmen. Nigerians of all ethnicities must stop looking for revenge. Vengeance is nothing but a launching pad for a vicious cycle. Those who revenge murder sleep. They shall sleep no more. This is because revenge is a cold dish that compels the victims to warm its contents. Vengeance is a square peg in a round hole. What you seek is not exactly what you get. Besides, you only know your own heroes and fighters whereas every tribe has its own campions and heroes. Killings can only beget killings.
“This is why the Glorious Qur’an advocates the repelling of evil with righteousness. ‘Goodness and evil are incomparable. Pay evil with goodness and see how your erstwhile enemy transforms to an intimate friend’ (Qur’an 41:34). Allah is called the Mighty, the Avenger (‘aziizun dhul intiqaam, Qur’an 3:4). In the same vein, the Bible teaches forgiveness, ‘Forgive, that you may be forgiven. For if you do not forgive, neither will your Father, which is in heaven’ (Mathew 6:14). There will be enduring peace if both Christians and Muslims follow these teachings instead of seeking a pound of flesh from one another.
“Now a look at the highlights of our advocacy: MURIC condemns the killing of one another by Nigerians, particularly the two separate killing sessions in Igangan and the killing of policemen. Life is sacred. The killings are happening everywhere: North and South. They have a national spread and they are not targeted at any particular group or tribe. State governors must establish security outfits while existing ones like Amotekun, EbebuAgu and JTF must be armed to the teeth. Nigerians must stop seeking vengeance against one another otherwise the vicious cycle of violence will not stop.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)