Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO) has joined many Nigerians home and abroad to condemn the reported shooting of unarmed #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll-gate, Lagos, by armed men alleged to be soldiers, saying that the security of lives and property is a foremost responsibility of government.
The Chairman, Ulamaau (Scholars) Wing of one of Nigeria’s biggest Assembly of Islamic Organisations, Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Ahmad made the submission shortly after a virtual meeting held on Wednesday with other Muslim leaders in Southwest of the country.
The virtual meeting was also attended by notable personalities such as Sheikh Imran Eleha, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Adangba, Sheikh Abdul Majeed Ayinla, Sheikh Isiaq Adebayo Tejidini, Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafii, Sheikh Daud Miqdaad, Sheikh Tirimidhi Muh’d Jamii, Sheikh Ismail Arikewuyo and Imam Qasim Badrudeen, among others.
Special Supplication against Calamities
Sheikh Ahmad, who is also the National Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, supported his statement with a verse from the Noble Qur’an where Allah says;
“… And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said ‘O my Lord! Make this city (Makkah) one of peace and security…” (Qur’an 14 verse 35).
Speaking on behalf of members of the Ulamaau, Sheikh Ahmad strongly recommended that all Masaajid (both daily and central mosques) should start Qunuutun-Naazilah (special supplication against calamities) with immediate effect to ask Allah to reconcile between our hearts as Nigerians and heal our nation, Nigeria.
Investigate Lekki Shootings
The National Missioner of Ansar-ud-Deen Society of Nigeria said the recent mass protests in the country, calls for sober reflection, calm by the people, prompt affirmative action by the federal government and immediate intervention of men and women of goodwill in restoring peace, national reconciliation, unity and prosperity.
He charged the government to promptly and transparently investigate the case of the “unknown soldiers” who allegedly opened fire on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Toll-gate, following disclaimer by military authorities.
According to him, “We condemn the degeneration of a peaceful protest into needless loss of lives and destruction of public and private properties. Life is sacred! The needless loss of lives is regrettable and condemnable.
“The obvious hijacking of popular discontent against police brutality and call for reforms, the infiltration of genuine protesters by fifth columnists and others with sinister motives is, unfortunately, driving the protests towards anarchy,” he added.
Address protesters’ demand
Sheikh Ahmad advised the government to take drastic affirmative action to address the legitimate demands of the protesters, while observing that the demonstration is an evidence of failure on the part of the government.
“In the light of this, we urge the federal government to rise to its responsibility by taking drastic steps on addressing the agitations of the protesters and meeting their demands. The continuous street demonstrations tell a lot about the various sufferings of the common people, and this is an indication of failure on the part of the government.
“The defiant protests can not and should not be quelled by force of arms. The cost will be too enormous! It could be a win-win situation. After all, government derives legitimacy from its ability to enable the satisfaction of legitimate demands on the widest possible scale,” he noted.
Appeal to Protesters
He appealed to the protesters not to escalate matters and seize the golden opportunity to negotiate an implementation roadmap to the legitimate demands for Police reforms.
“The destruction and looting of private properties and public infrastructure is neither a right nor a means to right wrongs. We Implore the youths to get properly organised, calm down, embrace dialogue, and beware of fifth columnists,” he added.
Sheikh Ahmad suggested that a definite implementation timeline should be agreed for a comprehensive Police reform, calling on the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to exercise extreme caution with military involvement in civil unrests.
To the parents
“Parents should warn their wards against civil disobedience such as defying government orders, especially when a curfew is pronounced. It is for our well-being.
“Opposition political opportunists who are fanning the embers of war and anarchy must remember that their political ambitions are dependent on the cohesion, unity and stability of the country.
“We as a people will gain nothing from destruction, escalation of violence, and needless loss of lives. Those who stoke the embers of war will inevitably be consumed by the inferno.”
Sheikh Ahmad, who is also a renowned veteran Nigerian journalist, said, “The social media is awash with myriads of unverified information, outright fake news and orchestrated lies ‘from the pit of hell’.
According to him, “We should all accord priority attention to de-escalating tension, securing justice for the aggrieved, mending our fault lines and healing our country.
He quoted the late Sheikh Usman Dan Fodiyyo, who said, “Conscience is an open wound, only truth can heal it”, adding that, “Hopefully, the truth will lead to justice, healing, reconciliation and forgiveness.”
“O Allah we pray for the peace and unity of this nation, You are the only hope we have, Please, come to our aid, surely You are the one that answers prayer.”
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