This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Monday, April 15, 2013
MEND'S THREAT TO ATTACK MUSLIMS
16th April, 2013
MEND'S THREAT TO ATTACK MUSLIMS: A SMOKESCREEN
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in a recent statement threatened to start attacking Muslim interests by killing Muslim leaders and bombing mosques. MEND gave the beginning of May for the implementation of its threat.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regard this threat as a mere smokescreen, badly timed and ill-conceived. We believe that MEND does not understand the issues involved in the Boko Haram saga. Muslims in Nigeria have long disowned Boko Haram. We washed our hands off the atrocities committed by the group and we have been consistent in our condemnation of the attacks carried out by the group.
We call attention to the monumental speech made by His Eminence the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Saa'd Abubakar III, in which he referred to the Boko Haram group as an evil and he called on both Christian and Muslim groups in the country to come together to fight this evil. It is therefore ironical that MEND still associates Boko Haram with Islam and threatens to avenge the attacks carried out by the group on innocent Muslims. This will be a gross miscarriage of justice.
We must remind MEND of early warnings that the main objective of Boko Haram is to ignite a North-South war. MEND may be falling into this trap with its latest threat. But just as Nigerian Muslims disowned Boko Haram, MURIC is interested in knowing the reaction of Nigerian Christians to the threat made by MEND. What has the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) got to say on this?
It is now an open secret that the Federal Government is poised to announce its granting of amnesty to Boko Haram. The fact that MEND's threat is coming just when light starts to appear at the end of the dark tunnel is quite interesting. It raises more questions than answers. The only logical conclusion is that MEND wants to scuttle the proposed amnesty for Boko Haram. Put in other words, MEND wants to monopolise amnesty programmes in the country. It should not be enjoyed by any other group. Otherwise we must ask the question: why now?
The Federal Government has been working round the clock to find a solution to the Boko Haram menace. Why not allow the FG to conclude its plans? The committee set up by the FG to understudy the issue of amnesty for Boko Haram was given two weeks to conclude its deliberations. Why must MEND's threat come halfway to the timeline? Does it not look like subtle blackmail? We affirm that the timing of MEND's threat is wrong, uncoordinated and illogical.
MURIC reminds MEND that we stood by the people of the Niger Delta during their travail and condemned the environmental degradation in the area from the beginning even before the formation of MEND. It is curious that a group fighting for the economic liberation of its people now wishes to metamorphose into a religious crusader. We remind MEND that this is capable of impugning on its credibility. We have never considered MEND as a terrorist group. We saw it as a freedom fighter group. Its threat to start attacking Islamic targets will definitely change its status.
We urge the Federal Government to see the true colour of MEND. Government's analysts must see beyond this threat. We also call on the CAN to separate the wheat from the chaff. Even if MEND attacks Muslims or mosques it will not be fighting for Christians. The threat to attack Muslims is a mere smokescreen. MEND has a hidden agenda. Like the Boko Haram which seeks to railroad the South into a confrontation with the North in order to force an Islamic republic on the North, MEND has an eye on a total break-up of the country in order to put the oil wealth in its region under its total control. This is why MEND is throwing spanner in the works. It is not genuinely interested in peace in Nigeria.
In view of MEND's threat, we charge Muslims to be vigilant. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Yet in spite of the threat, we urge Muslims all over the country to go about their legitimate businesses without fear. We advise them to remain calm, peace-loving and law-abiding. Muslims must realize that MEND does not represent Christians. This threat is therefore not coming from the Christians as a body. Muslims must therefore remain friendly with their Christian neighbours. With malice towards none and charity for all, Muslims must continue to love and forgive.The task of nation-building cannot succeed in an atmosphere of mutual fear and distrust.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), 234-818-211-9714