BY SAM EYOBOKA
The Vice President, Namadi Sambo and two Northern Christian associations, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN in the 19 northern states and Abuja as well as the Christian Elders’ Forum of Northern States, NOSCEF, yesterday, condemned the murder of popular Islamic scholar and preacher, Sheikh Muhammad Albani, in Zaria, Kaduna State, alongside his wife and son, weekend.
Sambo expressed shock over the killing of the Islamic scholar, by some unidentified gunmen, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram insurgents.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Alhaji Umar Sani, yesterday.
Also, in separate reactions last night, CAN in 19 Northern states and NOSCEF eulogised the rare display of courage of the scholar in opposing the terrorist attacks of the proscribed Boko Haram sect, just as the forum flayed the Federal Government on the lingering insecurity in the North.
Sambo said: ‘’It is with a deep sense of shock and sadness that the Vice President, Arc. Mohammed Namadi Sambo received the sudden and tragic demise of Sheikh Albani and some members of his family.
The Vice President condemned in the strongest terms these senseless killings of innocent people by mindless assassins who have no regard for the sanctity of human life.
’’I commiserate with the family of the deceased over this sorrowful and great loss,’’ he said and implored members of the family of the deceased, his students and indeed the entire Ummah to have the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. I also pray the Almighty Allah to grant the soul of the departed Aljannat firdaus,’’ he added.
However, while condemning the dastardly act, NOSCEF in a statement made available to newsmen in Kano and co-signed by the forum’s chairman, Elder Olaiya Phillips and national secretary, Emmanuel Danjuma Subilim, said: “We in NOSCEF believe that all Nigerians have the right to speak out and worship freely, without the threat of violence or intimidation. And we demand that action be taken to protect these freedoms for all Nigerians, including both Christians and Muslims.
”He was a well-respected leader of his community and Islamic scholar. He has shown great courage in opposing the Boko Haram terrorists.
Once again, the enemies of religious beliefs have sought to silence the voice of a champion of faith,” the statement added.
NOSCEF also called on the Federal Government to ensure that the lives of peaceful Christian and Muslim faithful are protected, especially in the face of escalating insecurity in the Northern part of the country.
“We ask: how many more people of faith must be murdered before the necessary action is taken to safeguard the simple act of worship?
“Today, the people of Northern Nigeria, of all religions, stand together to mourn the passing of a fellow patriot. May he, his wife and son truly rest in peace. On behalf of NOSCEF and people of faith across Northern Nigeria, we express our deepest condolences to the family of Sheikh Muhamman Auwal Albani Zaria,” the statement added.
In a telephone interview last night, the PRO of Northern CAN, Elder Sunday Oibe urged the Federal Government as well as the state chief executives of northern to strive to find a lasting solution to the menace of terrorism.
While condemning the murder of the Sheikh and the recent killing of Christians in Adamawa State, the Northern CAN spokesman offered the condolences of Northern CAN, saying the governors in the region should not toy with the lives of both Christians and Muslims in the North at the altar of playing politics.
“Every Nigerian has a right to worship anywhere of his choice, and by the 1999 Constitution, every Nigerian has an ineniable right to speak and defend whatever he believes. It amazes one why persons should seek to defend the one who created the world and all its inhabitants,” he stated.