BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN, Political Editor
In his most pointed denunciation of the Boko Haram insurgency, former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), yesterday, urged Nigerians to put aside politics and all other divisions to crush the insurgency he said is fanned by mindless bigots masquerading as Muslims.
Affirming that the group does not portray the Islamic faith he practices, Buhari told the group that the world is united against its evil.
Buhari, a leading opposition political figure, in the statement made available to Vanguard, sympathised with the immediate families of the girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram group, saying he shared their pains as a father and grandfather.
He said: “Over the past few weeks, the abduction of the schoolgirls at Chibok, Borno State, has underscored the threat we have been facing as a nation in recent times from the actions of misguided persons masquerading as adherents of Islam.
“Our hearts are with families who have lost loved ones in this cycle of senseless violence. We also empathise with the parents of children whose daughters are in the custody of a group of anarchists.
“That horrific video posted on the internet is a clear manifestation of the mindlessness of the bigots. It shows them for what they are; such men can neither threaten nor should they be allowed to violate our sovereignty.
“It is clear from what they profess that they are not followers of God. They do not mean well for our country and her citizens. I am a Muslim, I am versed in the teaching of Christianity and I understand both religions seek peaceful co-existence of all humanity.
“I wish to reiterate that there is no justification whatsoever for this unrestrained disregard for the sanctity of human life. It has no place in the Holy Quran and neither does it have a place in the Holy Bible.
“Let these people know that the entire civilised world is united against their terrorist act. We are grateful to the world for standing by Nigeria at this trying time. We hope and pray that the young ladies will be reunited with their respective families in the days to come.
“While the Federal Government and the nation’s Armed Forces are working to ensure citizens’ safety under the present situation, we believe that more could still be done to ensure the safety of Nigerians and the Nigerian nation.
“We are therefore glad that the Federal Government has accepted international support in the search for the missing girls and for an end to the insurgency in parts of the country.
“I fought for a united Nigeria. In my old age, I want my grandchildren, your grandchildren, our youths and indeed all Nigerians to benefit from a prosperous and united country devoid of sectarian violence whether home grown or imposed on us from outside.
“Now is not the time to play politics. Now is also not the time to trade blames and amplify our ideological differences. The unity of Nigeria is not negotiable and nothing should divide us as a people.
“I, therefore, urge all Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to support the country in her effort to bring an end to this attack on defenceless citizens and indeed a united nation.
“We must put aside all other considerations and ensure that our country Nigeria pulls together to recover our sovereignty. We all know Nigeria is the only country we have and can call our own.”