Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an Islamic group, has faulted the threat made by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that there may be war in Nigeria if Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi girl still in Boko Haram captivity, dies. 

As part of a statement it issued last week, CAN had said: “We are doing a lot of things we cannot be disclosing to the public. Our concern includes the silence of the media and the civil society organisations thinking Leah Sharibu is a CAN affair. How many editorials have been written about her plight?

“CAN will not cease the agitation for the release of all the abductees, including Leah Sharibu. Let all and sundry rise up against the failure of the security agencies and ask President Muhammadu Buhari to wake up from his slumber before the terrorists and herdsmen finish the country.

“Leah Sharibu must not die. Her death, God forbids, can spell doom for Nigeria. It can give an open invitation to religious war because Leah is being detained purely because of her religion.”

However, responding in a statement released on Friday by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC described as CAN’s threat as “irking, is irrational, infantile, and ungodly”.

“The leaders of CAN want to give cheap victory to Boko Haram. We do not need an expert in international diplomacy to interpret the scenario on ground,” read the statement.

“Boko Haram is using every available means to cause a war between Nigerian Christians and their Muslim neighbours. That was clear in the initial attacks on churches. CAN leaders swallowed the bait at that time and they started accusing Muslims of sponsoring Boko Haram. Muslim leaders were patient. 

“CAN did not stop accusing Muslim leaders of connivance until they saw that Boko Haram was actually killing more Muslims than Christians.  This Leah Sharibu incident is Boko Haram’s last card along the same mission and we expect CAN leaders to know better. But CAN cannot. CAN has its own political agenda. Or does it really make sense? The hoodlums abducted girls and released all except the only Christian in their midst. It is part of the terrorists’ propaganda. They are anarchists seeking to throw the nation into higgledy-piggledy.  Can’t CAN get it?

“We strongly suspect that CAN is deliberately creating a conundrum. Leah Sharibu was abducted. Who abducted her? Boko Haram. Muslim leaders have rejected Boko Haram. Muslims are also victims of Boko Haram. CAN now wants war. Against who? Against Muslims. Is it logical? Does it make sense at all? CAN is playing into the hands of Boko Haram. It would have made a little sense if CAN had said, ‘Boko Haram refused to release Leah Sharibu. Therefore we are going after Boko Haram insurgents. Sambisa Forest here we come.’ 

“The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar, said ab initio that Boko Haram and all terrorists are evil. He called on all Nigerians to join hands with him to fight this evil. But now instead of fighting the transparent evil, CAN wants to fight the Muslims. We assure CAN that millions of Muslims will join if it makes a more responsible statement like asking Muslims to join Christians in invading Boko Haram hideouts in Sambisa. MURIC is ready for that. We are constrained to ask what kind of neighbours are CAN leaders? Why are they always threatening fire and brimstone? Is this bully complex compatible with the pastoral profession? Is it acceptable as a quality among religionists? We call the attention of the whole world to the belligerent attitude of Nigeria’s Christian leaders. The rest of the world should take note now so that it will be clear who is stoking the fire of war.”   

The group queried CAN’s adherence to its mission and vision, saying that “religious leaders are not expected to behave like young students seeking attention”. It also accused the Christian association of being partial in its activities. 

It said: “Come to think of it, where was CAN when General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd) as head of state ordered the killing of Odi people in Benue State? Where was CAN during the tenure of ex-president Jonathan when Boko Haram killed hundreds of Muslims and displaced thousands in the North East? Was CAN on sabbatical when hundreds were killed in the recurring Plateau communal killings before 2015? Were those thousands of lives lost during those periods not worth protesting for? So CAN can make noise now because a Muslim is in power? But CAN could look the other way when Christians were in power, particularly when the billions were flowing in the immediate past regime and Jerusalem trips were shorter than walks from home to church? We can understand this particularly now that the pecuniary tap in Aso Rock is dry.”

The Islamic group called on world leaders, the US, Britain, etc, to note the excesses of Nigerian Christian leaders and intervene in the security issues in Nigeria.  It also urged everyone to pray for the innocent girl, Leah Sharibu. 

“Let us pray that Allah will veer the terrorists’ minds towards setting her free within a very short time. Let us pray for her safety. Let us also pray for the safe return of the remaining Chibok girls,” it said. 

MURIC then pleaded with Christians from all walks of life to make the CAN leadership see reason, stop all these “attention-seeking gimmicks”, and to wage its war against Boko Haram ‘the evil’ and not against innocent, law-abiding and peace-loving Muslims.

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