The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Nasir el-Rufai to arrest and prosecute suspected killers in southern Kaduna.
Condemning the killings, the Islamic leader described it as unjust, heinous and dastardly acts of destruction of lives and property. The sultan said that the NSCIA was particularly grieved that as at the last count, no fewer than 808 lives of innocent Nigerians had been lost while nothing less than 57 others had suffered life-threatening injuries.
A statement by the Director of Administration, NSCIA, Ustaz Christian Isa Okonkwo, said Muslims denounced the killings and destruction particularly because they run contrary to fundamental Islamic law which ordains human life to be sacred and strongly forbids its unlawful destruction except for a just reason.
The NSCIA, therefore, called on the federal and state governments to urgently “stop this inhuman and barbarous state of anomie.”
“The NSCIA would like the Federal Government and Kaduna State government to go a step further by proffering lasting solutions to these recurrent acts of hatefulness and savagery in southern Kaduna. We also call on the Federal Government to objectively investigate the matter and prosecute whoever is found guilty irrespective of the person’s tribe, creed and/or social status.
“We urge all Nigerians to continue to promote justice, preach, teach and live in peace with one another. We enjoin all Nigerians not to allow themselves to be used by forces of evil, some of which may hide behind tribal, political or even religious garbs in order to perpetrate these heinous acts,” the Muslims said.
The Sultan quoted from a verse of the holy Quran (Quran 5: 32) to warn against unjust killing, saying: “If anyone slew a person –unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief on the land- his punishment would be as if he slew humanity as a whole and if anyone saved a life, his reward would be as if he saved the lives of humanity as a whole.”
The position of the sultan is a right step in bringing peace to the area. It would reassure the victims of the crisis, who are mostly Christians, that the Muslim community does not support the violence. It is also a strong message to the killers who are suspected to be Muslims that they do not enjoy the support of Islamic leaders and thus they will be apprehended and prosecuted.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has disagreed with the Catholic Archdiocese of Kafanchan on the number of people killed in the southern Kaduna crisis.
The church had alleged that the unrest had claimed over 808 lives in 53 villages in the area. But Idris disputed the claim in Abuja at the New Year dinner organised by the police for their personnel. But he did not give the ‘correct’ figures.
According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the IG stressed the need for religious, community and political leaders to be patriotic in their endeavours for peace to reign in the country.
The IG who cautioned Nigerians against actions that could cause unnecessary tension which could lead to the destruction of lives and property, urged the people to live in peace with one another despite religious and ethnic differences.