‘Stop terrorism in Nigeria and Palestine’, ‘We want peace in Nigeria, we want peace in the world’, ‘Killing innocent souls has no religion, no culture’, ‘Stop Israeli terror’ – amongst others, were central messages of this year’s Aqsa Day solidarity walk, an annual gathering of the Nigeria’s civil society group, Muslim Awareness International (MAI)
Thousands of Nigerian male and female activists thronged the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos in their branded pro-Palestinian vests, with Palestinian and Nigerian flags for the solidarity walk, which started at about 7:00 am.
They were seen displaying different captivating inscriptions on placards, as they walked together in a peaceful and an orderly manner, through major routes like Ojuelegba, Jibowu and Yaba, chorusing the call for freedom, justice and liberation of the oppressed Muslims across the world.
The activists also called for an end to kidnapping, banditary; advocated for peace in Nigeria especially in the Northeast, which has been ravaged by the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency, chanting in a loud voice, “Boko Haram is not Islam. Islam is a religion of peace that has respect and value for sanctity of a single soul”.
Some of the inscriptions read thus; ‘Nigeria belongs to Nigerians, Palestine belongs to Palestinians. End Occupation’, ‘We say No to destruction of lives and properties in Palestine’, ‘Stop terrorism in Nigeria and Palestine’, ‘Kudos to the presidency in Nigeria for supporting peace in Palestine’, ‘Killers! Hands off Nigerian children, Hands off Palestinian children’, etc.
Double standard of the UN, Arab leaders affecting Palestinian freedom – Varsity Don
Dr Ganiyah Tijani-Adenle, a journalism scholar from the Lagos State University (LASU), charged all lovers of peace to make efforts and advocate for the continuous recognition of the Palestinian state while also advising them to shun hypocrisy, double standard and fanaticism.
In her words, she said, “Personally, I feel that there is definitely double standard as regards the way the United Nations relates with Israel and other countries of the world when their resolutions are not obeyed. I think, there is a universal complicity and covert support for Israel to continue the occupation and oppression of Palestinians”.
“Honestly, I don’t see how feasible there can be a two-state solution when Israel is on a daily basis continuing occupation and building new settlements in the West Bank and other Palestinian areas and territories. Gaza has been under siege for over a decade with nothing being done by the UN to pressurise Israel and lift the siege. For me, the handwriting is boldly on the wall that Israel is not interested in a two-state agreement. It’s only concerned about wiping out Palestinians from their lands”.
While speaking on the topic, ‘Kindness to Women and Children, Islamic perspective‘, the varsity lecturer told the gathering that the pathetic state of Palestinians will remain or even get worse if the United Nations, Arab leaders of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and all lovers of peace around the world including Nigerians fail to speak up against the Israeli-Zionist regime.
She said, “We have to make efforts and advocate that our leaders representing Nigeria in the international community take the right stand against the illegal occupation of Palestine by the Israeli regime. We have to keep talking and reminding people that Israeli illegal occupation is against the rights and freedom of women and children”.
“We need to know that we are not just doing this for Palestinians but for ourselves. Because if we keep quiet in the face of oppression in Gaza, the world will keep quiet when we are also oppressed and need the world to stand up for justice and defend us when our rights are also being trampled upon.”
Speaking on the possibility of some aggrieved member-countries forming splinter group over the UN’s inability to end the unjust treatment of the Palestinians and impose sanctions on Israel, Dr Adenle said, that should be the solution but the hypocrisy of the super powers and the deafening silence of some countries makes it look like it is actually something impossible.
She said it may never happen, stressing that, “Today, people only talk when they have perceived vested interests in a situation but when they don’t, especially when it concerns the Muslims, and indeed the Palestinians, they always keep quiet. Even though that should actually happen, I doubt if it’s going to happen because right now, we are in a very hypocritical world and people only talk when they have interests to protect.”
The world do nothing to fight for Palestinian rights – Barr. Balogun
Barrister Tajudeen Balogun, in his lecture, titled, Human rights abuses against the Palestinians, said the West including the UN are doing nothing practically to fight for the rights of Palestinians.
Barrister Balogun quoted the human rights watch report of 2019 which detailed about 19 instances where the Palestinian rights to freedom of movement, freedom of opinion are being denied while the world keeps quiet, watching.
He said, “For example, the first point is that; The Israeli government continues to enforce the discriminatory restriction of Palestinian human Rights. That is, restriction of freedom of movement. As we are here right now (for Aqsa Day), we left our homes very early this morning (around 6:30am) coming here, nobody harrassed us, we moved freely.
“As we have gathered here, we are free from any form of harrassment, but our brothers and sisters in Palestine are being denied any freedom of movement. Their children cannot go to school without any form of harrassment, arrest or killing”.
“You can imagine, school children going to school, stopped by Israeli soldiers and after some interrogations, they are shot dead.
“What will be the reactions from their parents? These are some of the things our brothers and sisters in Palestine are going through,” he added.
Our Mission to continue advocating for peace will not wane – Director
Speaking earlier in his address, the Director of MAI, Alhaji Abdul Waheed Atoyebi told the gathering why the annual Aqsa Day lecture series took a new dimension.
According to him, “We have decided to take a Walk for peace and freedom in solidarity for our brethren during this year’s Aqsa Day, so as to diversify and be more dynamic with our pro Palestinian advocacy.
“We would be walking for societal enlightenment on Palestinian struggles. Their struggle for liberation is a global issue. Our President, Muhammadu Buhari had on several occasions rallied support for the Palestinians at the United Nations. This is our own way of showing solidarity with them and other oppresed Muslims in Syria, Yemen, Burma and lately, China.
He said Walking for Palestine would assist the participants to improve their health and keep them fit, in accordance with the saying of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who said, ‘A strong muslim is better than a weak one’
“Our mission to continue advocating for peace in every part of the world will not wane. Struggle between truth and falsehood will continue till eternity and truth will ultimately prevail.”
Alhaji Atoyebi, who laid emphasis on the importance of peace in Palestine, Middle East and across the world urged the United States of America to play its expected role as world leader and uphold justice and fairness.
“It is unfortunate that the US, being a global power, has failed to play its expected role in bringing peace to Palestine because of its double standard. The US only votes in support of UN resolutions that favours her and Israel; when it doesn’t favour her, she goes against it. This is not a sign of the kind of leadership we can trust. So we want to believe that the US and President Trump in particular have taken it too far by taking away Jerusalem and annexing it to Israel which is totally against international law, justice and several UN resolutions.
The MAI Director also advocated for peace in Nigeria, especially the crises ridden regions, adding that, “We want peace in Palestine and in Northern Nigeria. We want peace in Southern Nigeria and an end to kidnapping and the internecine crises, though we appreciate what the president has been doing, particularly with regards to his pronouncements on the issue of our stand on the state of Palestine, we however urge him to please do more.
“I therefore call on every human being to work for peaceful co-existence with other human beings as God’s given commandment irrespective of the other person’s affiliations – religion, ethnicity, culture, race, nationality etc. Let everyone exercise their Allah given rights, freedom and justice. The denial of these is the cause of global crises. according to Qur’an 49:13,” he concluded.
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