Sultan to govt: address injustice against Muslims
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has said if the government can address injustice against Muslims, the seemingly intractable security challenges will be surmounted.
He said Muslims are not happy, but willing to support the government in its efforts towards peace and stability.
He insisted that people must change from their “evil ways” and assist the government to develop the nation.
The Sultan spoke yesterday in Abuja during a national prayer session organised by the NSCIA where Islamic scholars gathered to pray for peace and security.
Others at the event include Vice President Namadi Sambo, House of Representatives Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Acting governor of Taraba State Garba Umar, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Bala Mohammed, Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, NSCIA Secretary General Prof. Ishaq Oloyede and a host of other clerics.
The Sultan, who said the gathering was not politically motivated, urged the government to address injustice against Muslims as a starting point for peace in the land.
He urged the Vice President to convey the message to President Goodluck Jonathan, saying: “Our hearts are full of pains about what is happening. Mr Vice President, please extend to the President the plight of Muslims in Nigeria. We are not happy with regard to insecurity, instability and other vices affecting our society.
“The Muslims feel rightly so marginalised, the Muslims feel not being treated equally as equals in this country. Therefore, the Muslims want and also demand being treated with equality, justice and fairness and In Sha Allah, things will turn around and be better for our country.”
“We are not happy with the situation in terms of development in this country. We are ready any time to offer concrete advice, purely based on Islamic injunctions and tenets to our leaders. When we do so, we have discharged our responsibility as ordered by Allah. The rest is left for the political leaders to do what is right.
“We are gathered here to reflect on the mood of Muslims of this nation, and we are assuring Mr President that we are committed to peace and stability, ready to help him and government at all levels to bring peace.
“Whatever we can do as long as it is not against Islam, we are ready to do it 100 percent. With more commitment, if all Muslims, especially our leaders that control the resources of this country, a turnaround in order to have a stable, peaceful and happy country that we can all be proud of.
“We have to make it clear to all that the situation in the country is very serious. We are fighting an enemy with no boundaries. Terrorists are everywhere. They are amongst us but we don’t know them.
“We are in a situation that is worse than the civil war Nigeria went through. In the civil war, you had perceived opponents whom you were fighting against, but in this case, you don’t know who the enemy is. The person sitting next to you might be a terrorist, you don’t know.
“It’s a serious situation and we have to close ranks as Muslims, and close ranks as Nigerians, irrespective of political and ethnic divides and not to play politics with insecurity at all levels.
“We are ready to give our support, 100 percent to security agencies who must work extra hard to bring confidence back to Nigerians they are paid to protect. With what is happen now, we still have a long way to go.”
Defending Muslims against terrorist activities, the Sultan, however, enjoined Muslims to reflect on their ‘eveil ways’ and corruption if the country must move forward.
He also urged them to be adhere to the tenets and teachings of Islam, saying: “While we are here to supplicate to Allah to listen to us, I must bring to your attention the need for Muslims to correct our evil ways in the world.
“We can not claim to be religious and be Muslims without following the tenets of Islam, without following what the Qur’an says we should do as Muslims, without trying copying to the barest minimum, to the best of our abilities the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Mohammed.
“Therefore, we can not claim to be pious in our ways when corruption is bedeviling our country; we can not claim to be praying and hoping that Allah will answer our prayers when we are so corrupt and so morally bankrupt.
“For us to be near Allah, we must, in its entirety abolish corruption in our country. Corruption breeds injustice, injustice has no place in Islam. Injustice is a big barrier to good governance and if you don’t have good governance in any society, you don’t have the people.”
The Islamic leader regretted that pervasive corruption and injustice were responsible for the crisis of moral decadence in the country, which he advised must be tackled with firmness, fear of God and the support of the populace.
He said: “We call on our leaders at all levels to always fear God in what they do and work hard to eradicate corruption from our country. We can not move forward as a nation when our country is facing crisis of moral decadence.
“I have said it at various fora, that what is happening is a very serious state of terrorism. Terrorism has no place in Islam. We Muslims have debunked what has been happening, we have refused to be associated with terrorism and we have condemned all acts of terrorism with one voice.
“We must try our best as Muslims to ensure that there is peace in communities, to do that, we must fish out those bad elements amongst us. If we know them, we must expose them; if we don’t, their are ways our authorities would work with us to bring out these culprits”.
The Muslim leader said the gathering was not politically motivated, but necessitated by the need to offer prayers to Allah over the crisis the country is going through.
He said: “This gathering is about Muslims in Nigeria who believe in the powers of prayers to Allah in terms of emergency, in terms of being good to one another, even in terms of happiness, as Muslims, we always offer supplications to Allah.
“This gathering in Abuja is, therefore, unique being the first time as ulama (Islamic scholars) from across the country.
“It is important for us to make this point for us to debunk certain rumors that may come up that it is a political jamboree.
“This gathering has nothing to do with politics; the politics we have is not about election but uplifting the living standard of Muslims, ensuring that Muslims are and adequately protected and given their rights as citizens of this great country.
“The politics we have is that of peace and stability of this great country, that of ensuring equity, Justice and fairness across all boundaries of this country with.
“This (yesterday) morning is, therefore, special in the the sense that we have amongst us political and traditional leaders from across the country, political leaders, traditional leaders and religious leaders from across the length and breadth of this country.
“Coming together as one big family, as Muslims in Nigeria, is an indication of the need to close ranks and remove all divisions and here we are, in the house of Allah as one family not as Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo or adherent of Dhariqah, Izallah or others sects but as one big family of Muslims in Nigeria”.
The Sultan also urged Muslims to be patient with government assuring the government of support of Muslims towards peace and stability.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, praising the NSCIA and the Sultan for their efforts at ending the insecurity in the land, the Federal Government was working hard to rescue the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
In his remarks, Speaker House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal reiterated the determination of the legislature to support the executive in fighting terrorism.
According to him, legislative decision to back the executive in extending state of emergency in three Northeastern states, as well as uncensored budgetary appropriation for security were indicative of the legislature’s determination to assist the government.
He said: “As the Legislatures of this country, we have been working within our constitutional powers to support the Executive Arm of government in the fight against terrorism, we are expected first to appropriate funds to our security agencies; that much we have been doing.
“I believe many of us here and many Nigerians out there can bear me witness that we have never attempted to reduce what is proposed by the executive.
“We have passed the amended Anti-Terrorism Law to enable our security agencies function effectively. In the recent past, we have passed the extension of the State of Emergency in states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
“I think we need to understand why we have to stand side-by-side with the executive arm of government in this fight.
“When many countries of the world deploy their men to come and support us, here we must not be seen to be divided as this will send a wrong signal to the International community.
“I seek on behalf of the National Assembly the understanding of those of us who have reservations for the extension.
“I assure you that we are working for the good of the country and particularly when it is time for Ramadan Fast, we shall impress on the executive that the period of restriction should be relaxed so that Muslim faithful would observe their prayers successfully.”
Clerics and scholars took turns to pray for the country in their mother tongues.
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