Barely twelve hours after Christians’ reprisal attacks last Sunday in Kaduna State following yet another routine attack on Christian congregations during Church service by Islamic extremists, the supreme Islamic body in Nigeria as well as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) rushed in separate but identical statements condemning, in equal measures, both the attackers and the attacked.
This is instructive because last Sunday’s attacks on Christian worshippers in Kaduna and Zaria were about the twelfth time the Islamic terrorists have attacked Christian Churches during Sunday services with at least over 500 Christian lives lost without the ACF and the supreme Islamic body issuing unequivocal statements of condemnation.
Such tends to give credence to the suspicion among Christians that Muslim leaders in the north have not done enough, in words and deed, to check the excesses of Boko Haram either out of cowardice or tacit, even outright, support for the group’s objectives to islamise Nigeria and its violent means of achieving it.
At every turn, Muslim leaders in Nigeria are keen to pontificate that Islam is a religion of peace. Unfortunately, realities on the ground tend to contradict this claim. Violence has indisputably become the legitimate instrument of spreading the religion almost all over the world, although we shall limit our focus to Nigeria.
Surely, there are by far more peace-loving Muslims in Nigeria than the boko-haram-type of extremists whose appetite for shedding blood in their purported defence of Islam is simply reprehensible. Their activities, therefore, sharply contradict the claim by moderate-and indeed-genuine Muslims that the name, ‘Islam’ means peace in Arabic.
As indicated earlier, there are more genuine Muslims in Nigerian by far than the extremist blood hounds that defile and desecrate an otherwise noble religion with millions of committed adherents in every clime of the universe. Indeed, if the religion is not worthy it could not have commanded such a massive followership across the globe.
The point being made then is that it is the responsibility of the majority genuine Muslims in Nigeria to do all in their power, even making the ultimate sacrifice, to contain the boko-haram version of Islam from staining and misrepresenting the faith.
There can be no doubt that if the genuine Muslims in the country resolve to assist the security agencies in destroying the terrorist group, the problem would be soon resolved. Because, Boko Harm operatives take off from communities in the north and are well known by the locals.
With Christians now out to revenge the unprovoked attacks against them after months of resisting to revenge in consonance with the basic tenets of their faith which is forgiveness, the boko haram debacle has entered another worrisome, critical phase which could make or mar the entity called Nigeria.
It has become obvious that many Nigerian Christians in defiance of the appeal of some of their leaders not to revenge, have reached the zenith of their human patience and endurance and now ready to return fire for fire, though they would not fire first.
It is frightening to contemplate the consequences of this which could lead to ethnic and religious upheavals and perhaps the eventual break-up of the federation.
Ironically, since after the civil war and the ascendancy of the Muslim north as the ultimate arbiter of the course of the nation’s political leadership, the north has been the leading promoter of “one Nigeria’ being the undisputed chief beneficiary of the Nigerian project. The call for the dismemberment of Nigeria has come from the South of the country and the north is so averse to such a move that they condemn even the innocuous call for a national conference as a move to break up Nigeria.
In other words, the north of Nigeria will lose the most should Nigeria break up because of the Boko-Haram-inspired religious upheaval as some sections of the country have been agitating for such directly or indirectly.
Northern Muslim leaders must now resolve to sincerely join in the fight to eliminate the boko haram evil and their sponsors. This could bring about threats to the lives of these muslim leaders or even the supreme sacrifice.
But the sacrifice is worth it to save Nigeria from disintegration.