NSCIA warns against misuse of soldiers, aviation facilities
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) yesterday warned the Federal Government against misuse of military and aviation facilities.
It faulted the reopening of Maiduguri Airport for a prominent politician to the detriment of Muslim pilgrims who wanted to use the facility for Umrah (lesser Hajj).
To the council, it is dangerous to deploy security establishments to persecute Nigerians.
It asked the military authorities to protect the credibility of their profession by not being partisan.
The NSCIA made its position known in a statement signed by its Acting Director of Publicity, Muhammad K. Qasim.
The statement said: “The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) is shocked to the marrow by media reports that the Maiduguri International Airport was made available for the use of a prominent politician yesterday.
“This is against the backdrop of the fact that it was the same airport that was suddenly shut against Muslims recently. Despite the earlier clearance to use the airport, the Muslim pilgrims were denied flight at the eleventh hour.
“Apart from denying the pilgrims the use of the facility, the Muslims were subjected to physical and psychological trauma as a result of their grilling by the Nigerian security apparatus. The pilgrims were subsequently forced to embark on a tortuous and agonising travel by road to Kano at odd hours.
“That a public facility denied Muslims on pilgrimage was granted to a top politician is a proof of bad faith. It is unfortunate as it is a confirmation of the impression in some quarters that our insecurity is politicised.”
The council cautioned the government against the deployment of military to persecute Nigeria.
The statement added: “NSCIA warns the Federal Government that it is dangerous to use the security establishment to persecute Nigerians.
“A situation in which religious profiling is camouflaged as part of security measures does not bode well for the country. This is a dangerous path because it has the capacity to undermine and demystify the military.
“We urge the Federal Government to exercise caution in the discriminatory use of military and aviation facilities in order to protect the political neutrality of national establishment.
“It is our belief that the Federal Government has enough powers, constitutionally guaranteed, to tackle its perceived enemies rather than deny tax-paying Nigerians the use of public facilities under the guise of fighting insecurity.
“We also call on the military authorities to protect and safeguard the credibility of the profession by not being partisan. The military establishment remains the bulwark of the country as the epitome of sacrifice and agent of national unity.”
“Under no condition should they trade their professionalism for political expediency, the type of which Nigerians have worryingly begun to observe with open-mouthed amazement.”