In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. All Praise is due to Allah! We praise Him and we seek help from Him. We ask forgiveness from Him. We repent to Him; and we seek refuge in Him from our evils and bad deeds. Anyone who is guided by Allah is indeed guided; and anyone who has been left astray, will find no one to guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah, the Only One without any partner; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and final messenger to mankind. May the peace and blessings of
Allah be upon His last and final apostle, his household, his companions and all his followers till the end of time.
Last week witnessed the solidarity visit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) especially made to Nigeria. The Secretary-General of the important organization, Sheikh Iyad Ameen Madani was received by the Nigerian president, Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the Presidential Villa. They had a closed door meeting with the Mr. President where they discussed issues of mutual benefit and concern.
At the end of the meeting, Sheikh Iyad Ameen Madani told State House correspondents of that: “We are here to express our solidarity with Nigeria in facing up to this terrorist organisation and to condemn the terrorist acts they have been committing and to show our condolences to the Nigerian people”.
He went further and in strong terms to condemn both Boko Haram and their atrocious activities. He said, “What they do is criminal acts that have nothing to do, absolutely nothing to do with Islam, Islamic teachings, the religion of Islam, the history of Islam, the culture and civilisation of Islam and we should identify them for what they are as a terrorist group”. He also took time to show case the principles of his organization in the following words: “Africa, we keep saying, is a model of such tolerance. Its history is the history of tolerance, and of living together; we keep saying that the African tradition is something that needs to stay. This is where the principles or OIC position is. There are of course the economic and social aspects to that conflict and similar conflicts elsewhere in the world”. He moved a step ahead from mere words to action where he expressed the readiness of the OIC to help alleviate the hardship being experienced by communities affected by the activities of the insurgents.
He said again that OIC is a political and not a religious organization, and is prepared to assist the country in convening inter-faith dialogue, based on the request of Nigeria, in order to promote unity and religious tolerance amongst Nigerians; Muslims and Christians alike.
One of the comments that followed this commendable visit and was very unfortunate, came from the Secretary General of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr. Musa Asake! He said, “Such statements (of Mr. Madani) cannot be true given the antics and antecedents of the Boko Haram sect”. Also, he suggested that if the OIC said that Boko Haram members are not Muslims, they should meet with Boko Haram because the sect had told the whole world that they are Muslims, and that Boko Haram wants to upturn Nigeria’s Constitution and put in place Sharia.
Let Mr. Asake arrange a meeting with the Boko Haram since being a Nigerian and a secretary general of CAN must have a secured communication link with them or at least knows their exact
whereabouts. The OIC secretary general does not know anything about Boko Haram, apart from what he reads from newspapers or watch on satellite television.
If only Mr. Asake was stable emotionally, there is no reason for him to point at OIC secretary general with the following words: “They should tell us the steps and actions they have taken to show that Boko Haram (members) are anti-Islam”. He has forgotten that OIC is not a government of any nation. It is not like the American, Israelii, German, UK or China governments which possess all that it takes to level the forest of Sambisa within hours, if not for the innocent captives and the sovereignty of the Nigerian nation!
I remember reading the statement of the CAN President, Mr. Ayo Oritsejafor after the bombing at Suleja, were he said that if the federal government cannot protect them, they will have no option but to protect themselves. I wrote and challenged him in one of my articles on terrorism to please avail all Nigerians with the power in their possession to protect them from the slaughters of Boko Haram.
Could anybody believe what I got as a reply? A man with hidden number and husky voice called me and warned me never to talk against the man of God (Mr. Oritsejafor)!
What is most disheartening was what CAN Director of National Issues, Mr. Sunday Oibe, told THISDAY that nobody would believe OIC in view of the atrocities committed by Boko Haram sect in the name of Islam.
“They proclaim Islam; it is for them (OIC) to go and sort themselves out. These are people who have been taught and radicalized by Islamic clerics. In fact, we are suspecting the OIC”.
For this accusation to come from the calibre of person in question is a very serious indictment which can go beyond the pages of newspapers.
Though I am not stepping in for the OIC or any organization, I feel this vituperation is a serious joke. This, by inference, CAN is saying that OIC is the founder and financier of the dreaded Boko Haram!
Otherwise, of what basis would good host level such accusation against his guest who travelled from a distant part of the world to commiserate and sympathize with him, and even offered to financially assist the government on the internally displaced people?
The whole statements of CAN officials towards the OIC official is nothing but categorical mischief, and a ploy to distract both the government and the public from benefitting from the unprecedented visit at no better time than this!
Thus, one can sum it up by saying the minds of most Nigerians that CAN’s incumbent president has made so many inciting statements in the past, which have further deepened the division in our country, and hampered possibility of cordial inter-faith dialogue which will eventually create a situation where we will be living together without suspicion and mistrust!
Although the statement made by Mr. Asake is unfortunate and seriously disheartening, I want to believe that we should go ahead with the planned inter-faith international conference later in the year. His vituperation should instead give us a stronger zeal and determination to hold this conference, come what may, in order to solidly bring adherents of both faiths together.
Holy men should always endeavour to speak good unless they are under the spell and insinuations of the devil! Chai Diiaris God o!