By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – Several Islamic scholars and groups in Nigeria have dismissed the allegations that President Muhammadu Buhari is pursuing a Jihad in the country and is not serious about tackling insecurity, saying those making those claims do not understand him religious-wise.
They say President is not affiliated to any known local Muslim group and could not have been promoting an Islamisation agenda in a vacuum.
The Nigerian Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, had made the allegations in petition to the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion, in the United Kingdom quoting several pre-2015 comments of President Buhari supporting the Sharia movement.
However, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), the Nasrul lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) and the Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) have described the position of the Christian elders, in separate interviews with Vanguard on Thursday, as an international prank intended to incite the people and score cheap political points for NCEF.
NCEF lacks understanding of Buhari, Jihad – Shi’ites
Sheikh Sidi Munir, a renowned Islamic scholar of the IMN, said: “Those Christian elders appear not to have a good understanding of the real meaning of Jihad.
“Many Muslim scholars are in good terms with many Christian clerics and elders in Nigeria. We won’t expect Christian religious leaders who share common spiritual understanding with their counterpart in the Muslim side to take the same position as the NCEF, because they have a better notion of Islam, and Jihad. That is why cooperate very well with them on many fronts even till today.
“The NCEF also seem to lack very good understanding of President Muhammadu Buhari religious-wise. If they did, they wouldn’t be attributing islamisation agenda or Jihad to him the way they are going about it.
“We can tell you that President Buhari is considered in may Islamic circles as a Muslim only by name. Honestly, he is seen as a nominal Muslim because a committed Islamist will not unjustly detain Muslim clerics and his religious brethren even in defiance of the courts.
“If they had observed President Buhari very carefully, they would have known that he is neither affiliated to any of the Islamic groups in Nigeria nor has sentimental attachments to even one of them.
“Whatever you see him do is not in the name of Islam but for political expediency. He simply does what he thinks will keep him in continued stay in power.”
NCEF’s petition to UK Parliament intended to incite Nigerians – NASFAT
On his part, the Media Officer of NASFAT, Mallam Ibrahim Aselemo, described the petition by NCEF as laughable, adding that it is intended to incite the Christians against the Buhari government.
He said, “The comment by the Christian elders to say the least is laughable but malicious. In fact, it is treacherous and pedestrian. It is intended to cause a major disharmony and disquiet in Nigeria.
“There is no such thing as a Jihad war going on in Nigeria anywhere. Yes, there are pockets of violence here and there and it is not peculiar to Nigeria even in the most sophisticated and policed states.
“It can be seen that the Muhammadu Buhari administration is doing everything, using what they have, to contain the situation.
“So, the remarks by the NCEF is unbecoming of an organization that is made of elders as it were. One expects them to exhibit a high sense of responsibility when making comments on serious issues like insecurity.
“These comments are, I think, are intended to inflame Nigerians and cause major disharmony between Christians and Muslims. It should be jettisoned and taken with a pinch of salt.”
Petition by Christian elders an Int’l prank to score cheap political points locally – MPAC
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Muslim Public Affairs Centre, Disu Kamor, said the petition by NCEF was a international prank to score cheap political point for the Christian elders.
Kamor, who said it was shameful for the Christian elders to run to Nigeria’s colonial master for almost challenge facing the country, claimed that NCEF knows nothing good will come out of the petition but wrote it anyway as an act of mischief.
He said, “The Christian Elders don’t require any response but as citizens living in Nigeria who are eyewitnesses to the insecurity in the country, we need to make the world understand that the challenge we are facing as a nation is not Jihad.
“It is quite customary for this Christian elders to put up this kind of prank on the international community in order to try and win some political points locally.
“The Christian dominated South can readily admit they have not been victims of targeted attacks in their own region. The natural main casualties of the kinds of violence we have seen recently in this country are the Muslims in the north. It is commonsensical to reach this conclusion.
“It is clear to all and sundry that NCEF is agenda driven and that it belittles us as a nation to run to our colonial masters of many decades ago for every problem we have today. No other country does this in modern times. The UK also has its own large scale problems but they don’t run to us for solutions. They look within.
“The Christian elders are, at best, being mischievous because they know nothing good can come out of their petitions to the UK parliamentary group.
“Nigerians including the Muslims have suffered immeasurably from the indiscriminate violence and terror threats in the country. But the Muslims have never blamed the Nigerian Christians for any of these criminal activities.
“As a people of common destiny, we need to understand we are capable of sinking under the yoke of this present insecurity. So, we need to salvage it together as Christians and Muslims side-by-side.
“Nigerians should neither pay attention to the infantile behaviour of the members of NCEF or attach seriousness to it.”