By Musa Baba Adamu
Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) has called on the Governors of the states in the South East and South South States of the country to halt the ongoing attacks on lives and properties of Muslims residents in their States.
The Centre particularly called on the Governors of Imo and Rivers states to halt the dangerous slide of #EndSARS protests into attacks on Muslims and their worship places in their states.
MPAC, in a press statement issued yesterday, the Governors needed to do more to halt “the marauding killers who are targeting them because of their faith and/or ethnicity.”
It said both indigenous and non indigenous Muslims were the targets of these attacks, adding that: “there have been gory accounts of merciless killings of Muslims- not fewer than 10 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State alone- by those driven by hate and intolerance.”
“There are also reports of similar carnage in Imo State where a mosque in Orlu was burnt down last Wednesday (October 21, 2020), the worshippers viciously attacked and 1 Muslim worshipper callously killed while others were seriously injured.
“There was also an attack on Oyigbo area of Rivers State where Muslims, particularly the Hausas in the area, were attacked by non-Muslim agitators. Similar attacks are fast spreading into Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi States of the South-Eastern and South-Southern regions of Nigeria.
“Wth the number of innocent lives already taken by those hate cultists on a senseless murder spree, it is clear that more needs to be done to protect these defenceless Nigerians from those hacking them to death.”
The Centre cautioned unless a more drastic steps were taken to stop the development, feeling of “Islamophobic” would take root in those parts of the country where Nigerian Muslims would not feel any sense of security in their own country.
It further warned that: “Clearly, these dastardly acts are premeditated and fuelled by Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.”
It said: “There is a danger that the attacks will continue or spread unless urgent actions are taken to suppress the perpetrators and bring them to book.
“MPAC continues to call out the dangers of extremism and issues a clear call for action to the state Governors and law enforcement agencies.”
It also called on the “affected states should do more to clamp down on hate speech, Islamophobia and hateful rhetoric that can translate into violent crimes like these.
“It is now crucial to enforce the law and prevent hate crimes and specifically, to work closely with the Muslim community in the affected areas in order to better understand their fears, their concerns and their needs at this time.
“It is expected that the Governors in the affected states will look inwards and work closely through the interfaith platforms in their states to reach out to the Muslim communities in a bid to ensure Muslim inclusion through their policies and programmes.
“Sadly, most Muslims in the affected states have suffered long years of exclusion, neglect and institutionalized discrimination, which have contributed to an environment conducive for hostility and intolerance, making the ground fertile for hate crimes like these.”