The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has issued strong warning to the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, over his call that the Department of State Services (DSS) should probe alleged link of embattled Minister of Communications and Digital, Isa Pantami, to terrorism.
The group, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, said this in a statement by Prof. Salisu Shehu, its Deputy Secretary General, late Sunday.
The group also put up a strong support for the Minister, describing criticism against his alleged link to terrorism as attempt to tarnish the image of Islam.
NSCIA accused the CAN President of jumping into the ‘frontline of the unreasonable’ ones who have been criticising Pantami since controversies over the Minister’s alleged endorsement of terrorist activities became public.
The apex Islamic group in Nigeria added that the CAN President was ‘obviously driven by prejudice’ in asking the DSS to go after Pantami and ‘did not take into consideration the Minister’s very clear achievements on contributing to the development of Nigeria and indeed to nation-building and peace-making’ in making the call.
It also accused Ayokunle of neglecting the cordial relationship and mutual understanding and trust that exist between Christian and Muslim leaders in the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) to join in what it described as barrages and deluge of lies, fabrications and smear campaigns being churned out against Pantami.
NSCIA also claimed in the statement that because of such relationship, it did not ask for the arrest of “a one time prominent , active and vocal Christian Minister who at three different instances bailed the late leader of Boko Haram when the latter was arrested by the Nigerian Security agents.”
It becomes really appalling that the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria would join the ignoble band-wagon of the architects of mischief who peddle lies and fabrications against the Honourable Minister.
Forgetting the cordial relationship and mutual understanding and trust that exist between Christian and Muslim leaders in the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and the painstaking efforts we are making to engender peaceful and harmonious co-existence amongst our followers, the President of CAN, obviously driven by prejudice, jumped into the frontline of the unreasonable ones, asking the DSS to go after Pantami.
The National President of CAN needs to be reminded that the NSCIA has always exercised restraints on issues involving individual political office holders except when it becomes ultimately necessary like in the present case.
If the NSCIA has been as prejudicious and as pathologically hateful, it would have asked Nigerian Government in 2008 and 2009 to arrest and investigate a one time prominent , active and vocal Christian Minister who at three different instances bailed the late leader of Boko Haram when the latter was arrested by the Nigerian Security agents.
In fact, it is pertinent here to ask the CAN National President that between Honourable Minister Pantami who engaged the leader of Boko Haram in debates against his wrong and misguided ideologies and that Christian Minister who bailed Muhammad Yusuf three times who is it the country should rightly accuse of being a friend, supporter or member of the extremist group -Boko Haram?
At this point, the NSCIA wishes to commend the courage, brevity, rightful intervention and patriotism of the Kaduna State Branch of CAN for standing up for truth and saying it as it is through their statement which unequivocally distanced Dr. Pantami from the mischievous allegations peddled by purveyors of hatred with vilifying vituperation of venom as news causing confusion in the land. It certainly takes brevity to say the truth and stand by it and on its side. This shows that the CAN President did not consult widely and it also shows that there are well-meaning Nigerians across all the divides.
The NSCIA calls on Muslims and other well-meaning Nigerians to shun those trying to use any slightest opportunity to create disaffection among Nigerians.