Sul­tan: No plan to Is­lamise Nigeria

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Mis­bahu Bashir & Chris­tiana T. Alabi, Kaduna

Sul­tan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, says no­body can Is­lamise Nigeria, not­ing that if God had wanted, he would have made all Nige­ri­ans Mus­lims, adding that the on­go­ing na­tional con­fer­ence must be sig­nif­i­cant to na­tional growth and unity.

Speak­ing yes­ter­day at the Jama’atul Nas­ril Is­lam (JNI) Golden Ju­bilee lec­ture held in Kaduna, the sul­tan said con­trary to al­le­ga­tions by some non-Mus­lims, there are no plans by Mus­lims to con­vert non-Mus­lims to Is­lam just as no­body can Chris­tian­ize the coun­try.

“So, why are we fight­ing? Let us live to­gether as God has cre­ated us to be Chris­tians and Mus­lims. Chris­tian­ity and Is­lam should not be seen as an ac­ci­dent of his­tory but as God’s de­sign which can­not be changed by any­one.”

“We should go about our reli­gions peace­fully and let God judge who is right and who is wrong. I en­cour­age non-Mus­lims to bear with us be­cause we are not out to chal­lenge any­body,” he said.

While iden­ti­fy­ing in­se­cu­rity as the cur­rent most press­ing chal­lenge in the coun­try, he said the JNI would not stop talk­ing about it un­til some­thing is done to ad­dress the prob­lem. He also con­demned cat­tle rustling which ac­cord­ing to him is be­com­ing ram­pant.

“Ev­ery­day, hun­dreds of people are killed, es­pe­cially in the North-east. We are wor­ried about the num­ber of Chris­tians, Mus­lims, Fu­la­nis and in­no­cent people killed ev­ery time and that is why we al­ways con­demn such cruel acts”, he added.

He urged Chris­tians to part­ner with Mus­lims to find so­lu­tion to the se­cu­rity chal­lenge fac­ing the coun­try, say­ing, “We are not out to fight for re­li­gion or fight any­body. Is­lam is a re­li­gion of peace and we are for peace and not vi­o­lence,” he said.

Com­ment­ing on the on­go­ing na­tional con­fer­ence, the sul­tan said: “We don’t want it to be an­other jam­boree that will not bring mean­ing­ful de­vel­op­ment to the coun­try. As Mus­lims, we are for peace, who­ever is our leader, we sup­port him and we will tell him the truth.” He as­sured Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan of Mus­lim sup­port while not­ing that at­tempts by the JNI to crit­i­cize some govern­ment poli­cies does not mean fight­ing the govern­ment or any group, but that it should be seen as a wake-up call for govern­ment and those in po­si­tions of lead­er­ship to rise to their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

In his paper ti­tled; ‘Nige­rian Mus­lims and the JNI: Strengths, achieve­ments, prospects and chal­lenges’, Pro­fes­sor Shehu Gal­adanci, a for­mer Nige­rian am­bas­sador to Saudi Ara­bia, said the JNI in its 50 years of ex­is­tence has made ef­forts to­wards strength­en­ing the faith and knowl­edge of Mus­lims, ef­forts at unit­ing Mus­lims as well as ef­forts to­wards pro­mo­tion of good and the pro­hi­bi­tion of evil.

Fund­ing, he said, is one of the ma­jor chal­lenges fac­ing JNI, not­ing that since its es­tab­lish­ment, JNI has never de­pended on govern­ment funds but on do­na­tions from in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions from within and out­side Nigeria.

“If JNI is to con­tinue to ex­pand its ac­tiv­i­ties, it re­quires much more fund­ing and it there­fore has to con­sid­er­ably broaden and di­ver­sify its sources of fund­ing,” he noted.

He fur­ther said Mus­lims in Nigeria were marginalised in the com­po­si­tion of del­e­gates to the on­go­ing na­tional con­fer­ence. “Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures given, there are 189 Mus­lims com­pared to 304 Chris­tians, a ra­tion of al­most 2 to 1. Even when the sul­tan led a high pow­ered del­e­ga­tion from the Nige­rian Supreme Coun­cil for Is­lamic Af­fairs (NSCIA) to protest to Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan over the im­bal­ance, the govern­ment did noth­ing to cor­rect it,” he said.

Also, in his good­will mes­sage, Vice Pres­i­dent Na­madi Sambo said the present ad­min­is­tra­tion has sup­ported JNI in its pro­grammes to tackle in­se­cu­rity and il­lit­er­acy through the es­tab­lish­ment of al­ma­jiri model schools in many states in the North. He as­sured JNI of the federal govern­ment’s com­mit­ment to­wards ad­dress­ing the con­stant clashes be­tween Fu­lani herds­men and farm­ers in some north­ern states.

Gover­nor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna State in his re­mark urged JNI to be­gin to iden­tify ways of ac­tively en­gag­ing in in­ter-faith di­a­logue, es­pe­cially with Chris­tian or­gan­i­sa­tions across the coun­try. The ob­jec­tive of such in­ter­ac­tion he said is to de­vise means of pro­mot­ing peace­ful co-ex­is­tence for the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try, not­ing that with­out peace and sta­bil­ity, there can be no mean­ing­ful de­vel­op­ment and the coun­try will eco­nom­i­cally stag­nate while ma­jor­ity of the people ir­re­spec­tive of faith would wal­low in ab­ject poverty.

“It is there­fore a col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity, es­pe­cially on the part of the JNI and sim­i­lar bod­ies in the coun­try, to gal­vanise the people to­wards achiev­ing last­ing peace and se­cu­rity. At this his­toric stage, I wish to urge JNI, es­pe­cially as we en­ter the golden age of its for­ma­tion, to be­gin to take nec­es­sary steps in ad­dress­ing in­ter­nal mis­un­der­stand­ings within the re­li­gion. It is im­per­a­tive for Mus­lims to up­hold the bond of faith in sus­tain­ing our brother­hood as ser­vants of Al­lah”, he said.

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