The Action Congress, AC, has reacted to the inclusion of Nigeria on the US terror screening list, saying Nigeria needs the understanding and support of its international partners in rooting out religious extremists in its midst, instead of being slammed with sanctions.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Nigerians themselves are victims of these religious extremists, who have engaged in killing, raping and maiming of thousands of innocent people over the years.
Ngierians are law abiding
â€œNigerians, most of whom are law abiding and decent citizens, are now facing a double jeopardy – first from the misguided but few religious extremists among them and now from the US and other members of the international community seemingly intent on punishing all Nigerians for the sin of a few,â€™â€™ it added.
AC said, however, that the Nigerian government itself must do its bit in making the country unattractive for global terrorism sponsors, who are seeking to recruit willing folks to swell their ranks.
â€œIf Nigeria is emerging as a recruiting ground for terrorists, it is because over the years, the government has not taken up the gauntlet of putting an end to the incessant religious crisis perpetrated by religious bigots and extremists- starting from the Maitatsine riots in the 1980s to Boko Haram and Kala Kato in 2009.
Blames religious extremism on political leaders
â€œNeedless to say that the main reason the government has failed to stop the incessant sectarian violence is because most of those in power helped to create the monster of religious extremists in the north – just like the militants and in kidnappers in the south – for the purpose of rigging elections.
â€œAlso, most of those who are recruited for these riots or violence are from the army of the unemployed or unemployables – all victims of the widespread and worsening bad governance in the land.
â€œTherefore, international partners of Nigeria must prod the government of the day to do more in stemming religious violence, and in ensuring violence-free as well as free and fair elections – a pre-requisite for enthronement of good governance. Once this happens, the ranks of those available for recruitment into extremist groups, from where they can then export their nefarious activities, will be depleted.
â€œA threat to peace anywhere is a threat to peace everywhere, as has been vividly brought home by the involvement of one misguided Nigerian, who tried to bomb a passenger plane in the US on Christmas Day. Therefore, Nigeria’s international partners will also be assisting themselves by assisting Nigeria,â€™â€™ AC said.
The party admitted, though, that the case of the 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the failed US plane bombing plot, is different.
â€œThis is a young man from a good home, who had a world class education and never lacked anything. He may not fit into the profile of those extremists we described above. But the truth is that those religious extremists in our midst remain a clear and present danger to themselves, to Nigerians and to the global community. The global community must support Nigeria to root them out, not turn Nigerians to pariahs because of them,â€™â€™ it said.