by Linda Ikeji
The Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) under the leadership of Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto has reacted to the killings recorded in Southern Kaduna in the last few weeks.
In a statement released after the Sultan of Sokoto met Governor El-Rufai on Monday August 24, JNI averred that the ”politically-driven crisis in Southern Kaduna is deliberately being turned into an ethno-religious conflict.”
The group also stated that it has “observed carefully with serious concern the unfortunate unfolding events of bloodletting and serial killings, as well as the resultant inflammatory commentaries being aired, which are utterly condemnable in their entirety.”
The statement signed by the Secretary-General of JNI, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu read;
“We strongly believe that the politically-driven crisis is being deliberately turned into ethno-religious conflict of worrisome dimension.
“Thus, we call for caution and restraint from all parties involved. It should however be noted that ethnoreligious conflict isn’t easily manageable and hence, we must all rise to the occasion to forestall its recurrence in Kaduna State, as it is often said, a stitch in time saves nine!
“It is very clear that some interest groups cried wolf than the bereaved in the present circumstance and thus, the need for government to quickly act before such interest groups exacerbate the already precarious situation that could jeopardize frantic efforts aimed at restoring law and order through dialogue and commitment for peace with all relevant stakeholders in the state.
“We have nonetheless observed with dismay the unguarded utterances of some citizens including elder statesmen, who through the print, electronic and social media, are at best should be doing everything possible to curtail the tensed situation but instead prefer to serve as conflict entrepreneurs in exasperating the already worsened situation.
“Therefore, all hopes should not be lost in tackling the matter. Government should do more and whosoever is found wanting should accordingly be brought to book, as Nigerians are tired of the lingering crises bedeviling the Southern Kaduna region and by extension the entire country.
“In addition, government must do everything possible to bring an end to the fracas and change the narrative of violence to that of peace. It is time that culprits be identified and punished, so as to serve as deterrent. It is hardly imaginable that such dastardly acts could still reoccur in Kaduna State; despite several efforts to bring peace and harmony through the good works of the Kaduna Peace Commission and the International Centre for Interfaith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH), hosted in Kaduna, Kaduna State, in collaboration with the JNI National Headquarters and the Christian Council of Nigeria, which the Executive Governor of Kaduna State personally commissioned sometimes in August, 2016.
“Hence, the JNI is seriously perturbed by such re-occurrences particularly that, the JNI National Headquarters is hosted in Kaduna State. The ICIPH, which has its head office in Kaduna with the Sultan of Sokoto co-Chairing it, is ever ready to partner with the Kaduna State government in finding lasting solutions for the restoration of peace.”