With Wednesday’s burning of a Mosque and some trucks belonging to the Dangote Group in Onitsha, Anambra State by pro-Biafra agitators, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has moved fast to prevent a reprisal attack in the North.
The pro-Biafra protesters went on rampage in the Southeast commercial city on Wednesday following a clash with security agents, which reportedly led to the death of about eight of the agitators.
The NSCIA, which is the umbrella body of all Muslims in the country, urged Muslims not to attack Christians in the North.
The council particularly pleaded with Muslims not to fall prey of the hoodlums in Onitsha, to cause an inter-religious crisis in the country.
It also appealed to the Federal Government to direct security agencies to urgently safeguard the lives of Muslims in any vulnerable community.
The statement, signed by NSCIA Secretary-General Prof. Ishaq O. Oloyede, said: “We call on Muslim brothers and sisters not to embark on reprisals on Christians and their places of worship in any part of Nigeria. We are already engaged in discussions with various security and relevant government agencies to forestall further aggravation of the situation.
“We also call on all religious and interfaith organisations across the country to step up their peace-building initiatives in order to support the government and strengthen the enabling climate of peace and good relationships.
“In addition, we want to request all Imams and Muslim scholars to cooperate with the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in dousing the tension created by the unfortunate incidence.
“Importantly, Muslims are enjoined to heed the call of Allah by upholding the virtues that guard against the demolition of ‘monasteries, synagogues and mosques in which Allah is much mentioned’ (Q 22:40)”.
The NSCIA noted that “The perpetrators of the dastardly acts, which culminated in the loss of lives and burning of trucks owned by a prominent Muslim businessman only sought to provoke inter-religious crises and thereby get Nigeria further embroiled in needless bloodletting”.
“Muslims, must as a matter of principle, resist the temptation of being drawn to retaliation”, it addded.
“They should consider the perpetrators as criminals and not representative of any ethnic or religious group.
“The NSCIA is fully aware of the development and is working round the clock to put the situation under control.
“Muslims are warned against the antics of those who seek to whip up religious sentiments to further their clandestine political motives. Vengeance is for Allah and Muslims should exercise maximum restraint in these trying times.
“We also call on the government to investigate the incident surrounding the killings and wanton destruction of the mosque in Onitsha and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We pray for God’s continued guidance and support of our leaders and the citizens of Nigeria in the effort towards building a nation where peace and justice shall reign”, the NSCIA said.
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