June 15, 2009

Muslims call for JTF, militants’ ceasefire

By Emma Amaize
WARRI—MUSLIMS in  the Niger Delta have called for an immediate ceasefire in the face-off between the military and militants in the region and urged President Umaru Yar’Adua to take urgent steps to stop the battle that has claimed several lives and property in the past one month.

Addressing newsmen in Warri, President of the Delta State Muslim Indigenous Association, Alhaji Abdusalam Paxman Ekpuze, said it has become worrisome that human lives and property running into millions of Naira were being destroyed in the carnage.

According to him, the current escalation of violence in the Niger Delta was sequel to the reckless manner in which fellow Nigerians were killed when there was no declaration of war by the Federal Government.

He, however, warned against any attempt to impute religious connotation to the current crisis explaining that no true religion, be it Christianity and Islam, advocates violence, adding that human life is precious before Allah, as contained in the Holy Quran.

Alhaji Ekpuze, who is also the leader, Jamaiatu Nasril Islam, Delta State chapter, condemned the killing of military personnel, who he said were trained to defend the national integrity and also condemned economic sabotage, pipeline vandalism, all forms of criminality capable of denting the corporate image of this country.

While calling for restrain on both sides, the leader with other Muslim faithful, however, took a swipe on certain publications where it was said that the Joint Task Force (JTF) members are mostly Muslims from the North.