Only peace can sustain us – Sultan
Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) celebrated its 50th anniversary last Sunday in Kaduna with a call on the nation’s Muslims to embrace the virtues of peace and unity.
JNI, meaning “the Society for the Support of Islam”, is an umbrella group for the Muslim community in Nigeria.
Speaking at the Golden Jubilee lecture titled: “Nigerian Muslims and the JNI: Strengths, achievements, prospects and challenges,” the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, who made the call, said nobody can Islamise or Christianise Nigeria, pleading with the adherents of both religions to live in peace and harmony for peace to reign in Nigeria.
He said: “It is indeed appropriate for us to commend JNI as it has become the umbrella that brings all Muslims together on occasions like this. Muslims are united in Nigeria and will continue to be united Insha Allah. And for those who think the only problem of [Nigerian] Muslims is unity, today we have proved them wrong because we are united.
“We had a meeting with Mr. President regarding the marginalisationof Muslims at the ongoing National Conference. We felt worried about it because 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 will support him and at the same time we won’t fail to tell him the truth.We will continue to support the government in its policies, but when JNI criticises some of its policies that does not mean JNI is fighting the government or any group, but that should be seen as a wake-up call for government and those in the positions of leadership to rise to their responsibilities.
“Insecurity is the major problem in Nigeria, especially in North-east part. It’s a problem in the mind of every Muslims and, therefore, we won’t stop talking about it until something is done to address it. Every day, hundreds of lives are being killed, particularly in the North-east. We are worried about the number of Christians, Muslims, Fulanis and innocent people that are killed every time and, therefore, we condemn such cruel acts. I urge Christians to partner with Muslims to find solution to the security challenges facing the country. We are not out to fight for religion or fight,anybody, we are out to practice our religion as we are taught by the Qur’an andthe hadith. As Muslims, we should engage ourselves in good conducts that will bring non-Muslims closer to us in order to foster mutual understanding and, thus, mutual love.
“Please, let Christians understand that nobody can Islamise Nigeria. There are no plans by Muslims to convert non-Muslims to Islam just as nobody can Christianise the Muslims or the country as a whole. So, why are we fighting? Let us live together as God has created us to be Muslims and Christians.” The Sultan, who is also the President General of JNI, said that “Islam and Christianity should not be seen as an accident of history but as God’s design which cannot be changed by anyone.”
In the paper he delivered at the occasion, Professor Shehu Galadanci, a former Nigerian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said the JNI in its five decades of existence has made efforts towards promotion of good and the prohibition of evil.
He, however, regretted that: “Funding is one of the big challenges facing JNI right from the time of its establishment in 1964. The group has never depended on government funds but donations from philanthropists and organisations from within and outside the country. If JNI is to expand the scale of its activities, it requires much more funding and it, therefore, has to considerably broaden and diversify its sources of funding.”
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 almajirai schools in many states in the North.
He assured JNI of the Federal Government’s commitment towards addressing the constant clashes between Fulani and farmers in some northern states.
Other personalities that attended the function included the Speaker House of Representatives Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Kaduna State Governor Alhaji MuktarRamalanYero, Shehu of Borno Alhaji Abubakar Umar Ibn Garbai el-Kanemi, Emir of Zazzau Alhaji Shehu Idris and Emir of Gwandu Alhaji Bashir Iliyasu, among others.
The occasion was brought to an end with the launching of the JNI Golden Jubilee Almanac by Vice President Sambo.