The Cloaked One: Religion has been the victim all along
1. How to break Boko Haram (1) published on 29 Jan and 18 Feb 15 editions of the Desert Herald and Leadership newspapers respectively was a general advice to the Federal Government over its primary responsibility in the on-going counter insurgency operations. Delightfully, it made the front page headlines of the leadership publication of 18 Feb 15, the same day President Barack Obama of USA also aired similar views on the ideological narrations towards fighting religious extremism. The World Muslim League, picking from President Obama, hosted a sudden 3 day conference on the novel approach on 5 Mar 15. This edition is however a little digression from the first edition. Guided though, by democratic principles it seeks to reiterate the need for checks and balances without which projections and sharing of responsibilities may not be equitable.
2. Apart from the roles of the legislative bodies and the Judiciary, herein all treated as Federal Government, the Muslim community has its obligatory roles to compliment efforts to put things back to order. The Muslims were hitherto designated as the main complainants/victims of the insurgency and by extension the entire Northern Nigeria which formed the battle ground. It is therefore erroneous for the Northern establishments to rely fully on the Government or the National Assembly for all initiatives needed to prosecute the BH insurgency. They should bear in mind that no federal body is structured to either project the North, faith, regional based entity or targeted situations. The North being directly devastated by the Insurgency, as ground zero, needs to design its peculiar defense mechanisms common or suitable to its heritage. This would fill in survival gaps or at the least improve its disposition as to compel the constituted Federal structure to be alive to its responsibilities whenever its social fabrics are threatened. The attitude to wait for an election year before action would amount to accepting the kind of casualties and losses realized within the period for the democracy we have chosen for ourselves.
3. The law expects every victim, complainant, indigene, domicile or citizen to defend himself through complaint and preserving records. They are also to sustain cooperation with those assigned with responsibility to secure citizens as a public duty. Apathy and total reliance on government structures for all obligations, checks and balances turns silly a critique as to deserve no ears of a serious responder. The law itself, after all does not rise up to the indolent. It behooves on ‘the Cloaked one’ the waiting to be fed, the victim, every Muslim, group of Muslims and Christians of the North who insist that the situation must change to come out and isolate himself/themselves from the violent ideology that sets itself on war path with fellow countrymen. Just like any meaningful effort, this cannot be achieved except by harnessing concerned energies into one direction that leaves no room for the enemy to exploit. Therefore, in the search for solutions, there is the need to first identify common denominators that bind groups and heritages that held the past. Other areas to identify include primary and secondary causes of rifts that were over blown, latent and apparent dividing lines, foreign or extenuating influences and a fashion that prioritize one direction over another.
4. It is heart-warming for Muslims that the Quran dedicated a chapter for “the Cloaked one”, which respectfully composed its comment to include the people of the Book (their established neighbors) “(to) Arise and warn, And magnify your Lord, And purify your garments, And keep away from idols, And give not a thing in order to have more, And be patient for the sake of your Lord. And we have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire. And fixed their number only as trial for the disbelievers, and that the people of the book will be strengthened and the believers may increase in faith and until no doubt remains with the people of the book and the believers, even though those yet with disease in their minds and those wont to turn away will still say ‘what does Allah mean by this example’? That way Allah leads astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And none except your Lord knows the hosts of troops that belong to him” (verses 2 to 8 and 31, Chapter 74}.
5. One must at this juncture commend the leading traditional institutions, the clergy and the general public who in groups and Individual basis murdered sleep to foster peace messages across all divides in the land. The success of the last presidential and general elections is probably the greatest manifestation of the Nigerian zeal ever to overcome daunting and threatening challenges. It is no doubt the greatest beacon the North will make to the South to please join this success and save the common and inseparable destiny under very peaceful and progressive circumstances. Indeed the success story had been achieved by the crossbreed and across divide campaign mobilizations that took place long before the elections proper making the Change an unstoppable movement that knew no bounds.
6. Much has still not been done on the dogma that created the platform for recruitment of Nigerian citizens against their own Country. Some forms of system failures, ignorance, shock and corruption among others have evaded the Judicial and legislative exploits that would have defined the Nation`s position, locate and isolate the strange creed and its foreign roots. Apart from the use of force in defeating the enemy, forums that would formulate a counter narrative against the enemy was either not made or failed to involve major stakeholders for the fight to be potent. These stakeholders include the bar, bench, university academia, traditional institutions, Sharia jurists, Muslim and Christian Clergy and the victims. Rooting out a manifestation cloaked in Muslim garb without distinguishing it from majority of Muslim orthodox or traditional teachings will only leave Muslims generally hanging as accused persons.
7. The situation is worsened by the fact that many of the BH suspects had been in and out of police or prosecutor’s charges and arraignments but left off the hook for one reason or the other. The situation that will end BH without an exoneration of the majority Muslim narrations will only rest the suspicion on Muslims for another day.
Meanwhile, the license to continue taunting those who take their religion seriously as fanatics and potential terrorists will continue unabated. Many seasoned public servants and tested patriots and nationalists who try to faithfully live with their religion have found themselves labeled as BH in recent times.
8. Basic ideological and common narratives tested and known to all must therefore be rehearsed together again and as well rekindle the joints that ensured peaceful divides, tolerance and preservation of national goals in the past. These joints must have been weakened or washed away by some inadvertence to have allowed the kind of deterioration sweeping through the foundations of our century old union.
AN OVERVIEW OF NIGERIAN LOCAL CONTENT
RELEVANCE OF LOCAL ISLAMIC SCHOLARSHIP
9. It deserves to mention that local Islamic scholarship as practiced in Northern Nigeria did not bear any extreme views. It has remained the greatest asset for the Government and indeed anyone who was genuinely interested in defeating the BH group. Truly, the BH raised the extant apathy predisposition of its followers on western education to the level of abomination. The fact however that most of Muslim North that attained advancement in western education did it under difficult circumstances should have excused the hard approach on the BH group or its factions that were earlier open to dialogue. The constraint to go beyond just their ideology in order to identify the root cause of the violence and its consequent insurgent manifestation is only reasonable.
10. Furthermore, since BH grew to be branded with substantial success, discourse on the ideology in contrast to the majority position would become a starting fairness to all Nigerians. It is necessary to debunk the BH sources of authority, define its roots, diminish the multiplying effect and at the same time purify the orthodox narrations that must remain intact even when BH dogma is long gone.
LOCAL CONTENT AND THE WORLDWIDE ORTHODOX
11. Local content and the orthodox brand of Islamic theology and history must be purified by our traditional institutions as recently; Nigerians abroad are increasingly reported to be involved in extremism and terrorist groups. This is against the prevailing urge to relate same to foreign cultures that emanated in the guise of Islam. Many ideas of these foreign cultures are of doubtful origin. Many already are clearly on the run or being chased across the globe by real and phobia forces that can be blind to separation of real from the unreal or true reflection from the absurd. Suicide as indicated elsewhere is never known to traditional Islamic societies. Thus If it now turns out as an art of warfare, it must first be attributed to societies where suicide itself is a known phenomenon. It is therefore logical, in identifying the root of suicide attacks to first rule out the preponderance of self or hurriedly made scholars. They are mostly likely the new converts, drug addicts, terminally ill, ignorant, apologists and psychologically afflicted persons. These set who easily possess preponderance for suicide, seeking for martyrdom as well as premature solace in attributing it to Islamic ideology must first be ruled out. The orthodox Muslim nations and societies must be the last as their methods and disposition never comprehend it in the first place.
12. Aspects of Islamic theology could be drawn by anyone and attributed to a plausible link between seeking for martyrdom in Jihad and suicide but this can never be credible as an Islamic source unless such interpretation is known to have gained acceptance or preponderance in typical or traditional Islamic societies. When the persecution of Muslims became extreme, the Prophet SAW did not authorize fighting in built up area (Mecca) but instead opted for migrations. In Madina, the Muslims were in defense while the Meccans were in attack disposition for the battle of Badr, the first Muslim holy war. The Muslims chose the battle ground (defense) while the Meccans chose the battle time (attack). The Prophet SAW chose the plains of Badr for his defensive position instead of remaining in Madina for the Meccans to attack contrary to what the BH have done in Maiduguri. It is rather interesting to note that the Meccans were in the ratio of 3 to 1 with the Muslim force during the battle. This same ratio is being used now by our conventional forces order of battle in attack and defense dispositions inherited from the British Military, Nigeria inclusive.
13. It becomes great disservice for anyone therefore, for anyone to attribute terrorism to Islam when the same Islam sources as defined in its holy wars contributed to the standardization of the order of battle adopted worldwide, Nigeria inclusive. The Muslims will have to retrace their Islamic root above any international or universal accepted laws, orders, conventions and practices to be able to protect the image of Islam from being excommunicated by multiple terrorist activities.
SEEKING FOR MARTYRDOM IN ISLAM
14. The Prophet’s (SAW) companions have desired and sometimes prayed to be martyred but will always reserve the cause of death to other than self-help. The closest self-help established is in offering a confession to an offence the punishment of which is capital before a court or constituted authority. The Sharia too makes confessions permissible just like the practices of ‘guilty or not guilty’ obtained in the English courts. The Sharia however, left such courage as an act not to be celebrated. Indeed a woman companion (RA) who turned up with the confession for adultery before the Prophet SAW was sent off three times but compelled herself to return with the same confession before the effecting sentence. This delay tested her calm and calculated willingness to martyrdom for about three years. The Sharia accepts her as a martyr but she is not celebrated for the Muslim who is encouraged by the Quran to live longer to find better paradise by long life, more forgiveness, to be shy in revealing wrong done the while stringent burden of proof lay against any witness who comes forward to testify, and which if found to be short of the prescription, is at a heavy cost (Sahih Muslim).
15. Compare the Islamic concept with the rash calculation of the BH when they decide on their kind of martyrdom even with the assumption that suicide is not an innovation to Islam. The irony however is that while the BH were able to manufacture constituted authority that defined and executed their rash judicial undertakings within Nigerian territory the use of the Nigerian courts has remained at minimal throughout the long period of the counter insurgency.
TRADITIONAL APATHY TOWARDS WESTERN EDUCATION
16. The northern establishments have largely overcome the long drawn apathy towards western education. The BH menace is therefore, uncalled for being parasitic and impersonator to Islamic ideology before the glaring public view. Besides it has also trespassed on the sound carriage given to Islam by earlier Nigerian Muslim judges, scholars, leaders and opinion/policy molders over time. It is not hidden anywhere in Muslim North that apathy towards Western education was only surmounted overtime by elders and progressive leadership. They have used both subtle and rough campaigns to enable the mix and grading to secure for the North the leading role in the polity we have today. My grandfather had to explain to elders that Arabic letters were more in number and that it would not take my father one week to learn all the English letters. It was only after that they conceded on the latter to be released to schools (Where I Stand page 15).
17. How then should it elude us in the first place, that northern efforts deserve commendation within the Century that it has sacrificed its Muslim and Arabic background in order to measure up to the Nigerian realities unfolded by colonial union of Northern and Southern Protectorates? Why should it surprise anyone that some meager group or left over Muslims of the North are yet to be comfortable with western education when the entire Muslim North hesitated at various times and degrees to accept same for a way of life.
18. It is obvious pride that the Muslim North evolved through painstaking management of its cherished Islamic and Arabic heritage as to have, within the century, maintained itself and still yet attained even greater measure of an equal and equitable partner in our pre and post-colonial development. Has anyone outside the northern establishment invested so much as to be disappointed with its drive to catch up with the rest of Nigeria in terms of accepting the reality and values of western education? The views of Great Britain, Nigeria’s former colonial master will be most interesting here.
19. Why was it that condemnation more than commendation as to have denied Muslims and the North minimal tolerance under the law, discourse, the idea or even judicial management of the BH menace under the established constitutional structures and/or in conjunction with the Academia? After all, it is on record that Sheikh Jaafar Adam (of blessed memory) alerted the Government and anyone who cared to listen then that late Muhammad Yusuf was up to some dangerous games in very good time. Adam promptly expunged the local content of Nigerian Islamic
Scholarship from the BH dogma. But yet, no one will listen to him, neither strengthen nor mobilize him among others to formulate counter peaceful narratives against the group. Consequently, even when Jaafar Adam was mowed down, it could not trigger a suspicion or reaction to use the Clergy as the counter narrative solution against the BH group. Instead more and more Clergy continued to fall until fear gripped the flock as to jettison any other solution outside of waiting for the military resolve. Is the aim and resolve of the military solution properly structured against an internally based insurgency when the leader of the group is no more and neither a successor nor any of his deputies is directly engaged for upward of 6 years?
VITAL SELECTION OF FUTURE CLERGY ROLES
20. Again with more than a decade of Clergy silence induced by the Insurgency, would the environment now, not be ripe for easier BH recruitment or its diversion to another phase in waiting? Fresh worries must be assessed and reassessed before the menace can be said to be foreclosed. The foreign content should also be carefully noted as it is also doubtful if any local Islamic scholarship took part in the molding of Faruq Umar Mutallab, the Detroit Airline attempted bomber and his likes. The boy like many of his peers schooled abroad for the greater part of their adult life. It is natural that the local scholarship is sulking over what has become of one of its pupils simply because he was not well grounded before the foreign exposure. How much of our custodians of the orthodox Islamic traditions and our local content going to remain opinion molders in post BH era, remains a bigger question. How much respect do we even still have for the local scholarship when compared to foreign contents of our scholarship that are hardly vetted or debriefed on arrival? The answer would determine the road to success considering the inadequacy in its management and the damage already done to Muslims confidence and security since then.
21. The beginning of the solution for now may only start at the point in which the insurgency is defeated by the military and the new leadership is up to the light and wherewithal to build upon both the successes and manifest failures left behind. The clergy are obvious molders of opinion among the populace but a properly organized structure must be in place to put them to their calling. Apart from running mosques and churches, they could be supported or subsidized to run schools duly accredited with syllabi screened by foremost scholars from among themselves. They could also be encouraged to partake in policy formulation, juridical and arbitration roles among others to be put together by a ministry or parastatal on religious affairs.
22. The integration of general law, LLB and judicial courses in universities and tertiary institutions of advanced theology with Sharia subjects in different parts of the Country is great foresight that fills gaps between the clergy and judicial officers but a lot remains to be done in terms of their exposure to the challenges ahead. More elaborate structure must be put in place to accommodate Sharia adjudication of the local Islamic content downstream of the Muslim populace together with its integration with the traditional institutions that have remained highly respected and potent to date. Learned judges or clerics in training must acquire experience in juridical applications and appearances over time just like the English Bar and Bench marks to be up to the defense of Sharia in the manner it is constituted in Nigeria and as it were in the past that followed the regimen of the Schools of thought and their indelible records.
RELIGION`S UNIVERSALITY AND SECULAR DOMINANCE
UNIVERSALITY, RELIGION AND OTHER CREEDS
23 Christianity and Islam have both survived chequered immemorial heritage for 2015 and 1436 years respectively. This fact stands out against any modern and amateurish narration as to threaten their existence. Apart from the super religions, how many African tribes or ethnic groups will bury a corpse of one of them whose death is ascribed to suicide which has become the primary means of distinguishing the modern day terrorist operations? Yet, these Africans over the time have welcomed, lived with and converted to both super religions out of piety, passion and on their own volition. Uncountable converts are known to have lost traces of their ethnic origins, mother tongues and identities by affiliating elsewhere unperturbed simply on account of conversion to either of the two universal Religions.
24. Which other association be it religion, nation, country, state, tribe, region, company, ethnic affiliations or even extra territorial, space or cyberspace put together is so designed as to admit converts and allow them to grow and be recognized to have access to its pinnacle and alters/pulpit based on sheer performance and merit. In all probability acceptable thoughts, definitions of terms and universal usages that have knit the world and international order together were and still are borrowed from the divine scriptures and heritage of the Universal Religions. Take the Divine scriptures out and you have a world that cannot agree on simple basic terms as ‘ responsible, reasonable, good, nice, tolerable, fair or their opposites’ etc and consequently even on the principles of equity, good conscience, rule of law, freedom, equality, principles and directives of states policies. Take simply the hand shake between two persons and you will find it to have canonical and scriptural roots. Clearly however the secular world will adopt it and refuse to ascribe it to the Religions.
25. On the other hand, the austere disposition of the Religions will not object to secular theft of its brands since they promote virtues under all circumstances. Secularism stealthily then dominates the space it did not reap and then some other creed, ideology or academic personality will claim ownership of what has already been of Devine and immemorial roots. This notion goes for so many proverbs, adage and established sayings that are attributable to other than their Devine origins and yet no due or apologies are reserved or at all admitted. We can always plagiarize Devine scriptures or adopt them as our own with no provision for secular space to object and claim damages. How much do we ascribe the modern day concepts of freedom, equality, liberty and justice diligently to their religious roots even in passing as to earn the blessings of the Lord that we all seek for help. Methinks secularism seeks to sweep all universal religions to private domains and lockers without any one defining its own encroachment limits as if it is fair on it to set rights and limits for its own self. Secularism and the secular space must own up to the much it has stolen from the Religions as to be worthy of self-standing and survival in its own right? This standard should go with all other creeds and dogmas that creep in along or under the secular space shadow.
SECULARISM AND THE WINDOW FOR OBNOXIOUS PERFORMANCES
26. It is radical irony that the moment secularity attains higher grounds of moral dominance, other creeds creep in to enjoy freedom and liberty that was completely knocked out earlier by religious propagations unperturbed. The same obnoxious performances that are tribal, cultist, animist, juju and African cultural performances that could not rear their heads when religion was supreme only reappear when secularity has driven the Religions aground. The fear in the case of modern day terrorism, however, is the want of a villain to hang when no one is there to speak for religion. Religion becomes the victim when it is otherwise the ultimate solution to all vices. It is then called names and attributed to forms of behavior only known to animists in the past the while we all are expected to look on as normal.
27. The slaughtering of a human being as practice attributable to Islam is similar to suicide attributable to Jihad. Cannibalism, rape, use of civilian population for shield, infants and women as cannon fodder has only been sourced from outside of the Quran and Prophetic traditions. How unfair then, that the practices known to animists and pagans abhorrence and which endeared many to Islam and Christianity, are now attributed to Islam in official quarters unperturbed. The responsibility for the rebranding of Islam with pagan practices can only be lodged on those who refuse to allow Muslim stakeholders to have free hand in the counter narrations utilized by the operation against the BH itself. It is then understandable why both Muslims and Christians will be the main victims and yet they are accusing each other of complicity to the blossoming survival of vices such as ethnicity and tribalism. Others are cult and fetish practices that include ironically the cutting and mowing of human beings and body parts for rituals and obnoxious illicit gains. Coincidentally a caption just appeared on my ‘sms alert box “I have eaten feces for eight years”-Man confesses’ (http://news.ng.airtellive.com/)
COMMONALITY AND RESPECT: AN IMMEMORIAL HERITAGE OF ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY
28. Islam and Christianity are two of a kind that have survived and blossomed across land and oceans with ease of appeal to mankind. Thought distinct in some aspects of beliefs, the two are strange bedfellows that share the most common of values, heritage, definitions, heroes and concepts from times immemorial. They have established partnership/neighborhoods in history and territorial space around the World to the exclusion of other religions. Hardly are they concerned with each other however except in the claims for true beliefs, virtue and virtuousness. They seem to only beg to differ in terms of who is more sincere and virtuous than the other. They struggle for exclusivity against each other making parallel claims over similar shades of virtues, definitions and all charitable interpretation to realities they look forward to in either form, trace, concept or context.
29. Islam and Christianity beg to be more austere than the other and compete in denial of spine to the world while adhering to the fact that the end of matters reside not in this world but in the hereafter. They differ on the personality of Jesus for example but struggle over who reveres him more. Same struggle exist for Mother Mary, the heavens, the same set of prophets, their history and exalted life patterns etc. The axis of deliverance is also along similar direction until no other religion can claim to be closer and tolerant to any of the two beyond what they stand for to each other. They naturally also compete as to who has more appeal and accessibility to pagans, other tribal, regions, nations and sentimental attachments that will dare not claim such capacity to reciprocate the gesture.
CONCEPT OF IDENTITY OF THE COMMON ENEMY
30. Islam and Christianity both concur in the belief of a common enemy. The irony is that they hardly have a dividing line in their concept of this common enemy, the Devil. Their entire struggle is on how to defeat, overcome, evade or surmount the Devil and his illusiveness. Their capacity and the zeal to make a turnabout any time the Devil is seen or realized to be on the lead is near equal. This zeal defines the painstaking character of their followers to any course of action, no matter the cost or sacrifice toward the self-purification from perceived Devil and his deceptions. This asset underscores their ability to recognize and tolerate each other as an asset in spite of their differences.
31. The Devil himself of course, can only be illusive to both Islam and Christianity at the same time because they concur on the concept of his identity and method. He is therefore at his most elusive moment when the two Religions are on physical combat with each other instead of climbing over each other to locate and diminish him. The duos are therefore reliably unpredictable whenever they are glaring on a wrong, doubtful or fraudulent path. They are the most unreliable as accomplices to, abettors, accessories before or after to a wrong let along a crime.
WORLD ORDER A PRODUCT OF RELIGIOUS VALUES
32. Islam and Christianity define most of the present world order, laws, conventions, court processes and procedures, universal administrative standards, basic human relations and reasonably acceptable conducts. It would seem that the same austere disposition of no self-praise is responsible to the theft of their indelible concepts by secularism and other dogmas unperturbed. Additionally, together with the outright refusal to acknowledge that the sources of all good are from the Devine scriptures we should at the least be able to own up to the Religious roots of all sound universal principles that have been accepted as the World Order today. These range from international conventions, accepted cultural practices, Laws and treaties, principles and best practices of diplomacy to neighborhood interrelationships etc. I bet it is this minimal recognition that what we beg to foretell by our opening and closing prayers to events and occasions but with little show of realism though.
33. We should then also own up to our laws and the British common law as basically Canon that it is by and largely accept its comparability and complimentary roles to the Sharia law as it exists in Nigeria, Pakistan and the Sudan etc. It is believed that such recognition will enable the right atmosphere for religious security, national harmony and appropriate dues to secularity as well, whatever/ wherever it means. The prayers we also resort to in our times of adversity will also have greater meaning and deliverance having given Religion its communal dues. Strange dogmas, their sources and realism especially where they adopt and claim or copy sources rooted in the universal religions must be isolated to deny them except where they reaped for peace and the world order to reign. On the aggregate also, if the Religions have survived for immemorial past, nothing else, of a grouping or association, should compete with them in terms of space and value as to deny it its own existence.
NATURAL ANTIDOTE TOWARDS EACH OTHER
34. The duo of Christianity and Islam have not only come a long way but would seem to have evolved as natural anti dote for the survival of each other in times of distress. This conclusion may not be farfetched from their identical definition and outlook on the Devil called Shaitan or Lucipher and his descendants from among the humans and Jins. The Prophet Muhammad SAW asked Muslims who could not bear the Meccan Pagan persecutions as an interim measure to first migrate to Habasha (now in Ethiopia) and to seek for protection from a sincere Christian King Najjashi and this turned out successfully. Again a tradition related that when the Jews (also people of the Book) fasted on the 10 of Month of Muharram to mark the day God saved them and drowned Pharoah, Prophet Muhammad SAW said the Muslims were the most deserving of fasting on that day but that they should add another day of fasting in order to contrast with the Jewish way (Sahih Bukhari). The choice of Christianity and indeed Judaism as a responsible neighbor to Islam and Muslims is therefore, by Divine decrees.
35. The Quran has distinguished Christianity as most (Surah 5.82) sympathetic and devoid of arrogance thereby being closest to Islam no matter the challenge of one against the other and in many verses described Christians in the best of light. The Quran concedes that there are good and bad of either, just as the good in either are also hard to come by. The Muslim is enjoined to fulfill all rightful obligations towards the Christian the same way the Christian is expected to fulfill all righteousness towards the Muslim. Chapter 5 verse 47 enjoins Muslims in their day to day relationships” to ensure that ‘the people of Injeel (the holy Bible) live and judge according to what has been enjoined there in” as a foundation for mutual coexistence. ”Chapter 5 Verse 5 made lawful to Muslims the Christian food which he has prepared for himself. It has also decreed marriage to Christian women provided the marriage fulfils all righteousness, dowry is paid, the relationship is not built upon extra marital intimacy or taking of advantage without due recognition and acceptance of her parents. The venue for the marriage to Christian women can only therefore be at her parents abode. Thus by divine revelations, the Christian is there for a Muslim and vice versa. It is also natural and conventional that when a Muslim picks the Quran the Christian will not pick some other than the Bible for counterpart relationship and vice versa. The space for their common enemy or any other intruder will naturally also close in.
PAGAN COMMUNITIES AS MUTUAL GRAZING GROUND
36. The Northern Nigerian experience is a clear testimony that Islam and Christianity had a latent understanding that pagan conversion to either of the two Religions was the acceptable minimum. They seemed soft with each other on conversion space over time to the extent that each feels as good with the conversion of an outsider or a pagan to either. Muslims and Christians seemed to have peacefully succeeded in turning the pagan areas as grazing grounds for converts and any conversion to one is bringing home a faithful closer to either. Together, the relationship transmuted to what became Indirect Rule with the Bayiah (Islamic allegiances) to rulers residing in the traditional institutions while mundane loyalty, also distinguishable under the Sharia, went to the British colonialists. To date the Bayiah remains a formal allegiance to the traditional institutions, district and emirate by emirate, while citizen allegiance constitutionally rests with the Government of the day discharged through voting, polls and election rights. Therein lay the invaluable roles of the traditional institutions with or without constitutional recognition of their existence.
37. The British clearly could not tolerate animist and pagan attributes and for that they employed direct rule for Christianity to occupy all administrative and mundane space in the Southern Nigeria. The British had no moral authority then to deny Islam flourishing in the North being equally a universal religion with the two coming a long way from time immemorial. It therefore adopted the indirect rule in the North in order that it could peacefully share space with Islam and also have the leverage for its economic and commercial pursuits unhindered.
MUTUAL BENEFITS FROM CONVERSION
38. Conversion of one to either consequently brings a pagan and any third party closer to either Islam or Christianity. This has by congruity made grazing for converts within the same location mutually beneficial, acceptable and to the chagrin pleasure and understanding of both. This was, as earlier said, the spirit that kept the duo going in complimentary roles until they merged in places that included the pre-colonial Northern Nigeria. Similarly, they did same in Sudan and other parts of Africa, the Middle East etc within civility, mutual understanding and minimal combat. I ones asked an Islamic clergy how he felt whenever his style of preaching on radio question and answer sessions was copied or imitated by Christian preachers. He simply smiled in approval, and that it meant no harm and is for common good. It is also in that light around 1987, Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, when asked on Nigerian politics said that he (a Muslim Clergy) will vote or vouch only for a Muslim candidate but that
Christianity ‘was nothing’ ie not a hindrance. The import in the context of his comment using his infrequent English tongue was that, as a Muslim clergy, he will vote/promote a Muslim candidate in principle but that Christianity and by extension its candidates are harmless. They can have their way, are neither a problem nor a hindrance, if so conceived by the situation on the ground.
39. Sheikh Abubakar Gumi`s statement was in utter comparison to paganism and other objectionable traits that he considered as ‘something’ objectionable, worth resisting or to have to challenge among the Nigerian elites. That was why some of his senior off springs attended missionary schools unperturbed. But the media then quoted him then out of context and the hype it triggered never allowed a clear explanation until in 1992, when now Prof Ismaila Tsiga took the matter up with Malam in his book ‘Where I Stand’. He then explained his position before his demise (pages 184). In the same tone also Malam, as we fondly call him would always assess any Christian or Muslim leader, not by his physical achievements but by religious affinity and disposition. His impression of Gowon for example was positive and considered his reign as that of a benevolent Christian. He would praise the Gowon regime for its respect for Religion and was proud that the Armed Forces Chaplaincy was consulted in decision making at the highest levels of the military Government.
40. Malam, on the other hand sounded care free towards the Gen O Obasanjo military Regime because he could not place his religious inclinations (pages 205 of Where I Stand). Even among Muslims and to his disciples, Malam maintained impressions, positive or negative, mostly, only towards his pupils and those he considered religiously inclined and remained mostly blank and uncommitted towards anyone whose religious disposition was not forthcoming. This singular attribute is believed to be a propagation attitude that kept him concerned with his own business while allowing others to keep their own concerns.
41. This is the background within which Sheikh Abubakar Gumi, with penchant for conversion of his neighborhood to Islam became legendary. Times without number he allowed the media to broad cast the conversions mainly to teach the simplicity of non-Muslim access to Islam. It was common then that pagans were mainly discouraged by our traditional and cultural settings as to be heavily indebted before they are accepted as converts to Islam. Sometimes ram or other offerings were demanded on them as primary conditions for conversion and this is not required anywhere in Islam. The publicity attached to the congregational conversions during his Tafsir (commentary of the Quran)at the Sultan Bello Mosque were never meant to show case Islam ahead of Christianity as many would want to insinuate but to reaffirm the simplistic nature of conversion to Islam in order to nip unnecessary traditional servitude placed on voluntary Muslim converts. It was meant to further facilitate their integration into the Muslim community at the cheapest convenience prescribed by the Sharia and for the society to also benefit from them.
42. I dove my heart for Prof I Tsiga with the words salam alaikum (peace be unto you) for the novel compilation in the book ‘Where I Stand’. The more I read it the more I realize that it has documented the foundation for the containment of Boko Haram about 23 years ago and yet gave in to its occurrence with explicit manifestations that the book has so profoundly predicted. It was Incident delight one day that Col USA Giwa-Amu (of blessed memory), a learned colleague, who was then President O Obasanjo’s aide de camp , called me up to appreciate ‘Where I Stand’ and how the book improved his perception of life like no other in the past. Accordingly he claimed to have been indisposed to his official engagement for 3 days to be able to have uninterrupted reading of the book ‘Where I Stand’ from start to finish.
MORE ON THE INDIRECT RULE IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
43. The Indirect rule produced more deliberate Christians in the Northern Nigeria because the conversions also gave equal space for Islam as an alternative. The opposite existed in the South where everyone including Muslims had to conform to colonial identity to be integrated. Thus, while the Indirect rule left clear pagan communities in identified zones and with time and option to go either way, the direct rule in the South cloaked the pagan communities with the Christian garb whether or not they actually converted and lumped them all as Christians. Those yet to convert on their own volition were compelled to identify with Christianity as no other option was available for integration. The pagan communities till today are therefore believed to be more distinguishable in the North. Although the situation has created very deliberate and identifiable Christian North who are as amiable and peaceful like their Muslim brethrens, it has on the other hand also become a source of major friction when Muslims, in their usually casual disposition fail to distinguish between Christians and their pagan kith and kin since they normally would be living together in their mist.
44. The truth is that the Christian mix with pagan communities in terms of cohabitation is more out of evangelical than tolerant disposition towards paganism. Muslim evangelism keeps the pagan at a further distance because the Islamic admission processes and recognition of converts, simple as it is, seems yet more formal than that of Christianity. And it is in this regard that the Muslims have to be more stringent and careful in reciprocating mutual recognition to their Northern Christian brothers who live amidst the Northern pagan communities. References and propagations to pagans are easily misunderstood by Christians to feel derogated or despised when no effort is made to distinguish that the message was not primarily directed or referred at Christians and vice versa. And how much training do our clergy receive to be able to make particular preaching while distinguishing pagan from the Christian communities. The recognition of pagan as against the Christian North and its shades of character presentation may elude some Southern Christians who live or visit the North for the fact that the South was constructed differently. A reference to pagan in the North, most cases will not be understood by a southern Christian and care must be employed to protect him from taking offence, in obvious show of affinity to his Northern Christian brother. These are areas of emphasis for interfaith dialogue because the desire to continue to propagate on the pagan communities is still as urgent as it has ever been in the past.
THE RESILIENCE OF NORTHERN COMMUNITIES TO FORGE ON TOGETHER
45. The long history of unblemished togetherness and mutual trust built earlier by the way the North was carefully constituted and reconstructed by forefathers is what has kept the fragile peace in the North unshaken. The heritage and trust built in are very formidable to break by transient mischief. It is marvelous and until recently that, the Gwari or the Fulani for instance will out of sheer instinct to accommodate others, move further away from an established habitat or domain to give way unnoticed. This could even be giving way to some developers who encroach discourteously to take over their homes. Sometimes this is done in their very consciousness but they readily offer the benefit of doubt presumably because of past indelible mutual trust that was unparalleled. Again how many times throughout the North that a passerby, would by over speeding kill a child with his car, carry the corpse to the parents inside villages and the parents will simply collect and bury their loved ones. This they do without any charge on the passerby and instantly let it go as an act of God and destiny to the admiration of all. This unequalled quality cuts across both the Muslim and Christian communities of Northern extraction having come a long way appreciating each other and their peaceful coexistence. What could have gone wrong to reverse such an old time harmony in just a short while of our recent history beats all imaginations. Raising material pedestals over and above a populace that were hitherto molded with deliberate religious leanings and propagations, in quantum never seen in recent history is one area to look at for solution.
ARMED FORCES AS THE BEST EXAMPLE OF NIGERIAN RELIGIOUS HERITAGE
46. The Nigerian Army and later Armed Forces probably remains the best example of Christian and Muslim convergence at creating and recreating Nigeria with a unique federal character comprising only the Muslim, Catholic and Protestant religious space. The model is designed in such a way that it occupies all the useful space for Muslim, Catholic or protestant in the barracks and in its tight regimental setting. The pagan or any other space seemed unintended and no personnel at the same time could be trusted without a Religion. Even conversion from one to another of the approved Religions must be subjected to scrutiny to ensure that God is not taken for mundane advantage.
47. Just like the Nigerian adopted law and legal system avoided recognition then for African traditional laws at Independence, the Nigerian Armed Forces also evaded any space for pagan and traditionalists for enlistment and commission purposes. A pagan therefore must belong to or adopt one of either to be admitted until recently when Religion started to be a weapon of hate and division among personnel. If our growth were healthy some criteria would by now have been put in place for any new religion, sect or denomination, having satisfied some set down universal standards to be admitted into the barracks formally and for the benefit of regimentation, equality, predictability and due process. Why not for paganism or animism if someone with locus can make presentation acceptable to set standards. But still at that one recalls how Islam has or Christianity in the Nigerian setting discovered useful neighbor and antidote for the lapses in one another as they beautifully occupied the space that left no room for conflict, the Devil and other incongruities at least until recently.
MODEL EXAMPLE OF EXCELLENT RELIGIOUS HARMONY AMONG SOLDIERS
48. A few examples formed thresholds in our experiences. In 1998, dispute as to who owned the Arakan Barrack Central Mosque arose in order to resolve whether an apartment attached to the Mosque should be given to the Imam or to the Nigeria Army Officers Wife Association (NAOWA) chapter for their skills acquisition Centre.
The Imam was favored by the Provost Marshal (PM) being attached to HQ Nigeria Army Military Police (NAMP) and the NAOWA chapter was favored by the Cantonment under then Col JO Arogbofa the Signal Commander. Although the Provost Marshal heading the NAMP Corp was senior to the Cantonment Commander yet the latter owned the Barracks because he commanded greater number of troops. HQ NAMP was only one unit out of so many in the Cantonment and that, in the absence of records to the contrary, gave away the Mosque to the Cantonment Commander. Suddenly Col AA Ochefu, the first indigenous PM was reported killed by armed robbers and an old RSM was invited for additional oral citation of the late senior officer (of blessed memory). His deposition unknowingly altered the decision when he said the deceased then as PM built the Barrack Mosque by direct labor in his short knickers. Col AA Ochefu was a Christian of repute but records will not claim his religious disposition towards promotion of Islamic worship because the society has turned adversaries as the common denominator between the two Religions.
49. Even at intangible limits for example the antidote relationship between Islam and Christianity is reality. The only person who dreamt that I was going to marry my second wife was late Col AS Shinga (of blessed memory), a good Christian colleague but by no means of any prophetic personality and yet it turned out true. What were common to us were sheer friendship, sincere loyalty and camaraderie while we served together for our fatherland.
SHEIKH DR AHMAD GUMI AND REV FR EJIKE MBAKA CONTRAST OF CAMPAIGN ANTI DOTES
50. The struggle for virtue and sincerity of purpose seemed to have tested the antidote disposition between Muslim and Christian coexistence in the last Presidential campaign and poll exercise. In the first place no one would ever have expected the Clergy to be so personally involved with candidate’s credentials for election. The passion with which Sheikh Dr A Gumi entered into the arena to advise both leading Presidential candidates to step down was unprecedented even against the back drop of his declared intention to play leading role as an umpire to free and fair elections. Rev Fr Mbaka had remained quiet and uninvolved even when he was apparently disappointed by the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s performance all the while. He seemed to have reserved his impressions of President Buhari, for some reasons only known to him. But the moment Islamic Cleric Dr Gumi in 0ct 14 distanced himself from the Buhari Personality, an otherwise untouchable Northern Muslim candidate, the impulse of Rev Fr Mbaka was set to claim the main attraction in the Buhari personality; ‘truth and virtue’. It was as if everything else about Buhari could fall except the personification with the truthful virtue of the President. Rev Fr Mbaka obviously demonstrated passion beyond what could ordinarily be promotion of one candidate against the other as neither of the candidates deserved praise or condemnations of a Christian clergy in that form.
51. The only equivalent of Mbaka’s promotion of change against condemnation of continuity by a clergy was in Dr Gumi’s condemnation of both which by proximity was only hard on President Buhari that was his kith and kin and at the same time branded Muslim fundamentalist before then. It seems obvious that what had kept Rev Fr Mbaka to his neutral position all the while was his ethnic, religious and regional affiliation to President Jonathan against the back drop of his difference with President Buhari. He waited too long for the electorates to make the difference but they were not forth coming until Dr Gumi, a fellow clergy shocked his nerves over the Buhari personality to invite puritanical display of Christian claim to truth and virtue instantly at play. Rev Fr Mbaka who could not hold himself any more, after the Parties primaries, to allow truth and virtue to be taken or claimed elsewhere, came out into the political arena in an equivalent manner Dr Gumi had jumped into the arena earlier on. Indeed it would seem coincidental but the Christian and Southern Nigerian support for President Buhari inadvertently sky rocketed from the time Dr Gumi attempted his caution against his candidature and upon its counter by our Rv Fr Mbaka.
52. What God has decreed no man can make asunder. He will see through it by any means and for the last Presidential election He (SWT) took charge of both the supporters and the opposition as to put both opposing hands on the deck for His purpose. God’s disposal hand also used all of the performance of the incumbent who at the same time refused to allow any other rival to step out except his own very transparent low rating. A ‘rub dubu’ situation in Hausa that means all hands was on the deck kind of win, of both pro and against. But the antidote lesson in the complimentary roles played by Rev Fr Mbaka and Dr Gumi and their followers transcends mere Devine design to install the APC. It demonstrated the subject of the discourse that recalls many prototypes of such incidents that both Islam and Christianity struggle to keep purity within them and are jealous to have it elsewhere apart from them.
NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE NOT COMPARABLE TO NON MUSLIM WESTERN STATES
53. On the other hand Islam seem to be relatively unknown in Europe and the Americas in terms of evangelism and culture spread and its fear/ phobia may have struck a negative impression only out of the large modern day migrations with negative consequences that threaten the true reality of Islamic heritage itself. It is suspected however that the truth may be known to Western and European Countries that there is more origin of modern day terrorism attributable to Islam from the West itself than from Muslim Countries simply because the methods of operations are more Western than Middle Eastern. Again Western converts are less likely to format their understanding of Islam in accordance with Orthodox Muslim scholarship and practices simply because they may yet still believe in the supremacy of their own literacy and educational background that promoted self made scholarship, Independent learning dispositions with or without the traditional Islamic tutelage. Traditional Muslim migrations that could have assisted Western elitist converts to form up behind Orthodox Muslim scholarship is no more in vogue as to alleviate the anxiety of the large Muslim Western converts from late Islamic discovery and desire to catch up. But are the Western Countries who consider their national and strategic interest’s first ready to accept to blame western Muslim converts ahead of Islam itself?
54. It is certainly too much of expectation for Muslims to believe that Western Countries will apportion such blame appropriately as to purify the orthodox Islam from terror concepts. The job has to be done by Muslims and Muslim nations themselves. Countries in which Islam is relatively new in terms of preponderance should however be fair, or be obliged to first listen and prepare to support local contents of the Orthodox teachings as developed by different Islamic jurisdictions before making conclusions on the subject of terrorism and its international outlook. Often also indigenous factors and the local content of Islamic scholarship may be exported to simplify what Western countries could interpret wrongly as to save them from otherwise burgoos plan and strategy of activities, attitudes or problems anticipated.
COMMON LAW HERITAGE AND ITS CONVERGENCE WITH THE SHARIA LAW AS BASIS OF THE NIGERIAN LEGAL SYSTEM
SHARIA DEBATE LEFT IN THE HANDS OF CLERICS.
55. It is a great pity that lawyers and jurists have allowed the Sharia debate to be taken away from their domain even as they cling unto being learned in the matters of Nigerian law and its legal system. Who is there to deny that Nigerian law is based on the British law which is full blown Canon law in origin and conception? It only evolved as Gods law on earth following legal development built upon canonical and Biblical roots, interpretations and intendments in a way similar to how the Sharia developed along the accepted Schools of thought that till today more tied to jurisdictions. The English judges were on a higher moral pedestal than Clerics and the situation should not be different under the Sharia or the Nigerian legal and theological setting. Canon law was never smuggled into Northern Nigeria as to cajole or force it on Muslims to adopt in the direct manner it was imposed on the Southern Nigeria.
56. Jurists should seize the initiative from Clerics to please explain that the merger and convergence of Canon/Common law with the Sharia law as to form what became of Northern and eventually Nigerian law was a sequence of deliberate efforts to accommodate each other with a workable system that has the confidence of all. It was a union or merger of the Common/Canon law with Sharia law to arrive at what is now referred to as Nigerian law and legal system with less emphasis on which of the two prevailed over the other to arrive at the Nigerian statutory content. Clearly omitted however, especially in our criminal laws are the traditional African and animist customs, laws and traditions from general application. There would have indeed been no starting point for those and especially their methods and operandi. At the same time however the National structures on the ground are adequate and enough to revisit what was earlier left out by our chequered history but let everyone also call a spade by its own name.
57. The Nigerian legislature was designed in such a way that it will pick up the Nigerian laws from where the past rested as to form a home grown hybrid that would have taken care of all Nigerians according to their faith, convictions and domicile anywhere in the Country. This is the spirit of the earliest unification of Nigeria and the same for the subsequent constitutional growth and development that saw through the enactment of the Northern Nigerian Penal Code at Independence. My grandfather for example like many locality judges in Muslim North sat with the British lords over cases as they arose for mutual benefit of the local laws and development just as he was also screened by them for elevation at a time.
58. Again Sheikh Abubakar Gumi only remained Clergy after having duly retired as the Grand Qadi of Northern Nigeria. He replaced a Sudanese Judge Sheikh Awad who was earlier brought in by the Colonial British to serve like many others in the promotion of their indirect rule. Thus when Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi was brought in from Bauchi specifically to counter the Clerical role of Abubakar Gumi in Kaduna, little did he appreciate that he was set up against a defined character of a reputable judge the consequence of which was to diminish juridical aptitude and eventually the Sharia pedestal from juridical to clergy plat form. And with it the moral high ground Sharia judges had over and above the clerics in the counterpart defense of Sharia as an equivalent source of the Nigerian legal system. Sheikh Bauchi may not have averted his mind to it to have fallen victim of higher mischief and we all joked about it as a mere competition among clerics in our own delusion; democracy in action.
59. Second Republic President Shehu Shagari too seemed to have inadvertently given in to this development. While believing that nothing could whittle down Malam’s quality, President Shagari may not have averted his mind to the sharp contrast the then newly adopted Presidential System could have over the Parliamentary System (discarded) with regard to the local content of Sharia status, its strength, prospects or demobilization. While being only courteous and magnanimous, he conceded to the complaint brought before him, that Malam should be withdrawn from “all Islamic bodies and to put a distance between us”. The President replied (page 170 Where I Stand page) “It is true that …..I have known Malam Abubakar Gumi since child hood” but “I do not consider it desirable to down grade his position so drastically at this late hour, but I consider it necessary to raise the position of others to be at par with him in the eyes of Government and the world..We will also choose two or three Malams to be introduced to Muslim countries so that they will be known and recognized as Nigerian representatives”. Unknown to him the concession was to non judicial clergy, to escort Malam to find fortune in international adventures that were otherwise mainly tied to his personal judicial recognition. This irritation became additional distraction to genuine platform necessary for the survival of Sharia legal system. Consequently the emphasis hitherto put in the promotion of the national Sharia debate became over shadowed by the Izala- Dariqa tussle for cleric supremacy, educational endowments, fund raising and clamor for Hajj and Umra delegations. Meanwhile as young participants then, we continued to wonder whether or not a clear cut position was planned for especially as to the effect of National political transformation from the Parliamentary to Presidential forms of government with regard to our local content and the status of Sharia known only to the British system then. With the benefit of recent hind sight however, threat to the security of and value of vote and its casting residing directly in the citizen as against proxy pattern common to the parliamentary system may be due for review.
60. Sheikh Bauchi is quite learned and can even see eye to eye with the Izala perception of Ahlus Sunna given positive encouragement. Just few days ago he was on BBC Hausa service distancing himself from an exuberant dariqa youth leader who was said to have gone over the board in outrageous dariqa claims (http://audioboom.com/boos/320365-ba-ma-tare-da-masu-batanci-ga-ann abi-dahiru-bauchi). For dariqa, Sheikh Dahiru said that they imposed it on themselves as to have no requirement for Muslim general application. Sheikh Bauchi would certainly have fared better if he had remained in Bauchi to focus propagation in the North east and Cameroons to have made BH unattainable in those places. The foundation of aggravated differences within the extended period of rivalry between izala and dariqa, simply gave in to new shades of dogmas just as the secular space widened the outrageous differences inter and intra sects and, attendant with backlash exemplified by the type recently denied by Sheikh Bauchi. Meanwhile, the juridical superintendence of qadis over the clergy in the growth and development of the Sharia legal system was left bare to our lives except of course what we decide to take to the available Sharia courts at individual levels.
61. Does the cleric who never had juridical exposure either in training or practical experience knows where it hurts and can they really prosecute the Sharia or improve on the hybrid performance of the Nigerian legal system the way it was designed? A situation where clerics will be rated based on their juridical and similar outings before they are accorded with pedestal for fatwa at various levels of national exposure is certain to help the situation. Sheikh Abubakar Gumi was quick to query the Supreme Military Council’s (SMC) decision to sentence drug offenders who were caught before the promulgation of the enabling Decree then to death. He was able to distinguish between the SMC in judicial capacity as against its executive or administrative roles because of his background as Grand Qadi. He stood out odd to criticize, in spite of his love and respect for the then Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhari, who symbolized the Council leadership, and yet the victims were Christians who were meant to believe that Sharia and its judges are only for Muslims. Most clergy would not see the urgency of this intervention but it is now vindicated by the aggravated situation the Nation has found itself. I am not aware of any other Nigerian judge who felt so obliged to speak out then on the potential danger evident in the judicial slip as to go unquestioned.
62. Ironically the opposition during the last Presidential election campaigns used the same Incident that happened about 31 years ago though unsuccessfully, to label the new President with a brand of calumny. The release of the Amnesty International Report (AIR) on Nigeria few days ago has however indicated that we are now far from judicial inadvertence to probable non judicial order. Who is best poised for the Nigerian situation better than our new President and C in C that has seen it from the beginning and until he gave it all chase to be able to arrest it. The opposition is certain to take him up on the action that he does not take over the AIR having tried unsuccessfully to earlier impute that he had no respect for due process. Letting the Nigerian law to take its course for all and sundry is probably the only viable option in the hands of the President.
THE PENAL CODE AND NORTHERN JURISDICTION.
63. Many forget the intimacy between Islam and Christianity as to be averse to the Sharia or erroneously compare the Sharia with customary law that came to be recognized by Nigerian constitution virtually only in the post independence period. The Islamic attitude towards paganism is similar to that of Christianity and that is total abhorrence. The Nigerian criminal as inherited from the British did not recognize or take into account traditional African or pagan law with regard to offences, their mode of prosecution and proof or their shades of punishments. But Sharia law was a counterpart combination. It is erroneous to take it that the Penal code of Northern Nigeria is more of common than Sharia law simply because English is the medium and that the Sharia roots were evaded to give it conveyance that sounds more English and Nigerian than Arabic. Compare it with the Sudan or Pakistan Criminal codes and it may be argued that it is even more Sharia than common law in contents. Apart from bigamy which is exclusively common law in origin all the offences can be traced more from Quran than the 10 commandments laid and prescribed in the holy Bible. Of course the Old Testament even has heavier regimen and injunctions than the Sharia for anyone to take Nigerian criminal law as more Canon.
64. The Sharia debate however left in the hands of non jurists has deluded the public into looking at Sharia criminal law only in terms of concessions made on punishments that were made common and universal for all Nigerians. Thus instead of the prescribed offences to be regarded more as the substantive law, emphasis is laid on the mode of punishments by unfair campaigns of calumny. It is the offences, after all that concern majority of citizens who are the conformist, while the minorities who are the criminals are concerned with the punishments. Indeed the less emphasis on prescribed Sharia punishments in our Criminal law was in the first place meant to mellow down on Muslims from facing stricter disciplinary code when other Nigerians can only be punished with lighter sentences.
65. The same Islam that outlined the Hudud punishments will not have a more severe sentence on Muslims if they are constituted together with non Muslims under an agreement that is put in place, under equity to treat like for a likes in constitutional law. Gods bounty, grace and abundance allow the same Sharia in times of ‘maslaha’, (compromise) and coexistence to be moderated in such a way that the Muslim drops from an alter to even up and build into the spirit of the compromise itself as depicted by the Prophet SAW in the treaty of Hudaibiyya.To raise Islamic criminal law on Muslims alone in the Nigerian context would mean putting Muslims on a higher pedestal of punishments when others are freer to take on the World. Such will only consolidate on the parasitic secular World to hold Religion to ransom and further with hold its appeal for piety, deliberate submission to the Almighty and its germination to spread His worship on earth. Moreover there is no where under the Sharia that maslaha is employed as much as in the award of punishments generally and the Quranic spirit will tell a criminal, not appropriately punished on earth to not to celebrate but to wait for his time at a later date the while forgiveness remains open provided the soul is breathing.
THE 1999/2000 ZAMFARA BRAND OF SHARIA CRIMINAL LAW.
66. Zamfara State Government introduction of what it called Sharia criminal law was not only being hard on Muslims in ‘uquba’, but amateurish and narrow in perception. It sent dangerous signal to the public that the Nigeria project had side lined Sharia criminal law and that Muslims had been marginalized before then, not minding the modest achievements yet in place. Ideally the entire Northern States should have been involved in the amendment and/or improvement of the Penal code operational in the North to have built upon the established Sharia content as it were for political purposes.
67. The Sudden Zamfara Sharia criminal law, rudely begged to excommunicate the traces of the same Sharia begging for attention from within the then extant Nigerian Legal system instead of fortifying it with measures from within. The transmutation of Boko from apathy perception to Haram may not have been unconnected with Muslim feeling that Sharia under the Nigerian legal system has no developmental space. This could have been compounded by circumstances to have encouraged some lay abouts to exploit other means as to take up arms to drive it down the Nigerian throat. The most potent of countering such feelings of Muslim marginalization and over blown disgruntlement is for jurists and people of learning cutting across all divides to be sincere about our chequered history and drive in the Sharia debate or issues back to their appropriate place, space and context. And for all and sundry to be patient and accommodative of Sharia law the same way the colonial masters accommodated it at the least.
68. Let it be known either that Muslim acceptance of Canon/Common law is not because it was smuggled into or driven down the throat of Northern Nigeria by the British but that Sharia itself and the Quran prescribed it on Muslims not to discriminate or make outcaste the law of Abraham, Moses and of course the life and times of Jesus (on all be praises and abundant blessings).
APOLOGY AND ARROW OF THE BURDEN OF BLAME
69. If there is any body to apologize for the situation Muslims and the North have found themselves however, the arrow will point at former President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR. He has been on the scene for too long to claim innocence and for his own quality and experience. He has danced along the fault lines of secular and Religious Nigeria since 1975 when, as Head of State he collected missionary schools from the churches and Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI) and simultaneously recruited retired soldiers to government schools to impose corporal discipline in place of clergy and moral dominance in our schools. He again supervised and restored the first walk out of Muslim representatives to the constitution drafting committee 1979 and was again to benefit from another similar walk out in 1999 after which he became the next Civilian President of the FRN.
70. The greatest disservice however was the decision to handle the seeming reckless Zamfara Sharia crisis other than by due process while calling it ‘political Sharia’ and then worse still decided to handle it extra judicially. His Government denied the Federal courts an adjudicative opportunity that could assuage on the situation to probably fill in the gaps that Sharia needed to have natural growth and level playing field like any other sensitive aspect of our lives. The various legislative houses at different levels were consequently also denied the opportunity to pick up better initiatives from the judiciary to carry on together with the executive arm the Sharia discourse and development across those places it needed to make positive inroad like all other matters of common concerns.
71. Incidentally President Obasanjo was very privy to the robust role of the judiciary in all matters that included politics like in the interpretation of two thirds of 19 states and many more pursued by Nigerian courts which mainly also upheld public policy to the wide acclaim of Nigerians. Methinks Obasanjo knew the greater implications to the polity and that was why he was bent on a third term to manage it fair enough. When the third term bid failed Baba Obasanjo could only be scanty to the incoming Yaradua /Jonathan‘s regimes over the full brief to the Sharia crisis and its logical link with the BH for them to remain clue less in its management. The guilt may explain why Obasanjo remained too interested as to seek compensation to the BH leader’s family even ahead of the Government initiative while prescribing a carrot and stick approach to the counter Insurgency effort. On the sight of a free and fair election Obasanjo was again quick to shift ground, dance and arrive at the Change pulpit even before the imam’s arrival in order to assure himself credible role thereafter.
72. Similarly, President Obasanjo it was who introduced so many laudable national projects that could have nipped the entire security situation at earliest convenience but his Government would down play on diligence required to implement them with dire consequences. Other times they were overtaken by ill motivated forces. The delay in the managing the effectiveness of the National ID card and the registration of mobile phone lines are very handy examples that resemble the slow pace of managing the BH crisis itself because they both could nip criminality in the bud. The sales of Federal Government landed properties, another sensitive item within crisis ridden period of indigene or no indigene, is another example of a project apparently implemented well in some areas while it took years to achieve same in other parts of the Country. The attitude gave the room for system arbitrariness, adjustments, corruption and impugned consequences.
DISTINGUISHING PAGAN IDENTITIES AND THE USE OF THE WORD ‘ARNE’ UNPERTURBED.
73. The above background brings to bear on the general conflict situation getting out of control between Muslims and Christians in Northern Nigeria. A contest between the duo as to who owns more virtuous and model qualities ahead of the other transmuted to competition of who survives the treachery of the other unperturbed. Unperturbed because other Muslims see their fellows on the wrong path of the treachery and yet allow it as if their divine claims of holy sources have now been updated to accommodate their new found ways and approaches against their Christian brethrens. How can a learned Muslim refer to a Christian as ‘arne’ when it literally means ‘infidel’ and that the Quran has distinguished the Christian brethren with good and respectful titles not the least in such forms. The word ‘arne
‘Hausa’ word was originally used on pagan communities before their conversion to
74. It behooves on Muslim clergy, knowing full well that use of the word on Christians is a cause of friction and conflict to correct the impression mainly because it is wrong and also in order not to allow mischievous people from exploiting such gaps to achieve different negative objectives. Other tribes and ethnic groups have similar derogatory words for non members but the Muslims must appreciate that Hausa magnanimity brought other tribes to also largely communicate in Hausa to its greater advantage but should not allow a mix up with faulty religious perceptions. The root cause of friction between Muslims and Christians may have been the mischief exploited around the use of the word on Christians by careless Muslim preachers and lay about.
SALE AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE BOOK ‘WHO IS THIS ALLAH’ UNPERTURBED.
75. The seeming reaction to the provocation posed by Muslims calling Christian infidels, may have elicited a counter reaction for the latter to lose patience as to paint Muslims in unpalatable ways. The Book print ‘Who is This Allah’ referred to was dedicated to the creation of Christian hate on Islam. The first impression I had after reading the book ‘Who is this Allah’ is that it is not a Christian book to have dwelt into details of Islamic concepts with a view to demonizing them. This is because Christianity predates Islam and cannot therefore gain by demonization of Islam. Christian wellbeing does not at all depend on Islam just as it’s crave for virtue cannot accommodate wild accusations of in dignity. Islam that came much later is the religion that must look for space within Christianity to make a meaning to the latter.
76. The dedication paragraph of the edition in question quickly added up the story meant to settle scores with purported Muslim violence against Christians of Northern Nigeria as well as the 911 US twin tower terrorist Attack of 2001. The author, GJO Moshe is clearly stingy with his own religious identity or background to be credible.
He left out the link between the terrorist acts and their factual conducts or blame on persons, as to heap the cause of their actions on Islam itself, its Quran, and in the life and teachings of its Prophet albeit out of anger and context. The worry is that this book is receiving high sales in Christian bookshops unperturbed. Much of the impressions on the BH character may have been made up in official quarters by circulation of the same book as to make reorientation within Government circle and change difficult. Christian clergy who are experts in the assessment of true Christian teachings should not remain silent in the event someone is using their exalted forum to impersonate and promote hatred especially when the basis is false and the roots are from non Christian authors.
ATONEMENT FOR THE LOSSES OF THE LIVES OF THE INNOCENT; THE 60 DAYS PRESCRIPTIVE FASTING
77. In spite of the general defenses of accident or mistake in criminal liability, the Quran yet prescribed atonement worship for any Muslim who kills another under the circumstance. Chapter 4:92 prescribes 60 days consecutive fasting on the person affected based on stringent Quranic ruling that one life is as good as the entire mankind and so it is for its loss. The collateral damage known to the BH operations, especially in civilian and in built up areas is attendant with high innocent casualties. While members of the armed forces are assumed to be doing their best, Muslim cooperation to the military efforts, in the earlier days were not as encouraging as to help minimize innocent casualties. There is the need for the Clergy to determine circumstances under which those who could have given in to mistaken acts or omissions that led to deaths of persons not known to have been complicit to be advised to atone by the kaffara fasting. And should this be difficult to determine, the Ulama should probably advise on general multiplication of 60 days supererogatory fasting to be encouraged along with the routine prayers for return of peace to the Country at large. It is beneficent that under the Sharia a person obliged to attone with the 60 days fasting is not required to multiply same by the number of persons who died as a result of his mistaken actions within the same circumstances.
DRAWING A LINE ON EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS GENERALLY
78. The trial or non trial of those policemen alleged to have killed BH leader Muh Yusuf is not at all a priority when extra judicial killings are in numbers. Taking laws into hands without due process is noticeably rampant and this was precipitated by frustrations within the criminal and judicial processes. Without any lawful excuse ever, we give in to the fact that the system has been overwhelmed by too slow pace of the justice system and the reluctance of criminals to give into or be subdued by justice. My first encounter with extra judicial killings was about the year 2002 when I had to advise against giving permission to a sister security outfit, the use of a military range for ‘some activity’. Extra judicial treatment of criminality is an aberration and especially when it spreads to point of notoriety, as in when aired by credible media sources. Even the judiciary cannot stand aloof to issues of notoriety to wait until cases are brought in for determination. Everyone must be seen to condemn and/or frown at it even for respect of citizenship status, law and order principles and desire to be counted with the civilized.
79. At no time therefore, should we allow any one member of the society, not the least a public servant to go about bragging over his extra judicial undertakings. And consequently no one should be made to feel secure from the law for obeying illegal orders related to extra judicial sentences. Efforts must discourage the pardon of affected persons or using the pardon in such a way as to promote the condo nation of such an act. The case of late Muh Yusuf need not be given any particular relevance or isolated treatment for what he has turned out to be but a general line must be drawn by the Government, after due consideration of public policy and this should be seen by all to foreclose any such future occurrence.
TRIBUTE TO OUR NEW PRESIDENT
80. I wish to join all and sundry to welcome in the President and Commander in Chief of the FRN, Muhammadu Bukhari GCFR, by no means the most recognized people’s choice ever to be so passionately acclaimed in recent history. Methinks he is from outer space to maintain the brand of the Truthful for so Nigerian long. He is much like his grandfather, the proverbial Bayajidda said to be an Arab from Bagdad who defied all difficulties to kill the snake that would not let Daura be. A journey accurately calculated by him, when those that started with or joined him midway miscalculated it as shorter and along the line became impatient to call him weak, overbearing, under bearing, snobbish, soft, old, uncertified etc and yet they had to follow. They were eventually crawling until the game was up without them realizing that it had been won and over.
81. Pretty much like the long journey between Musa (AS) and Khadir (AS) with each of them endowed with a shade of wisdom not known to the other. Musa AS was looking for that person who surpassed him and was to test himself whether or not he could humble himself to withstand following superior specialized wisdom-to train and pass exams of teacher of a kind- much like to run a course of study within a particular time frame. Quran verse 81.67 (Khidir said)“Verily you will not be able to have patience with me,( again and again)and Musa kept on saying ’If Allah wills you will find me patient and I will not disobey you in aught’ ..(18.69). He (Khidir) said ‘then if you follow me, ask me not about something until I myself mention of it to you’ (18.70) Khidir said ‘Did I not tell you that you can have no patience with me?’ (18.76) Moses said ‘ ‘If I ask you any further question after this, keep me not in your company anymore for I would then give you an excuse’(18.78) Khidir said ‘ This is the parting between me and you (as in Musa failed to qualify, took excuse and Khidir granted it). But (Khidir said) ‘I will now tell you the interpretation of those things over which you were unable to hold patience’”.
82. For long I saw Baba Buhari with personality akin to the lessons learnt in Suratul (chapter) Kahf and I bet you must read it every Friday as recommended, to get the analogy. It is about a contest of virtue between candidates“ Verily We have made that which is on earth as an adornment for it, in order that We may test them as to which of them are best in deeds.” And “it is an example for us to ponder about:”And “indeed we have put forth every kind of example in this Quran, for mankind but man is ever more quarrelsome than anything to understand it“(18.54). The President was first invited by people as that Man with the Wisdom to wrestle Nigeria from PDP and take it to great heights. Yet these same people will not pass the test of following him. They were impatient and like the example of Musa AS. Everyone can only pass his own test but everyone before a teacher or a particular course of study has a capacity in following or passing specialized field of study. Again Verse 109 said “Say if the sea were ink for(writing)the words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the words of my Lord would be finished, even if We brought (another sea) like it for its aid ”.It means every one must submit to his limit of comprehension as knowledge is unquantifiable. To have a lot of knowledge is therefore not the essence but for it to be useful and to be able to give in to ones limitations, submit to superior wisdom and be patient to the more endowed (the specialist in his own field) until opportunity to ask questions avail itself.
83. In the ANPP, CPC APC Trip of about 15 years, we hardly see someone who started with President M Buhari and remained to date without retraction no matter how slight. Indeed we saw some that started with him and those who became elected simply by tagging with him yet moving in and out of his cloak until the game is up and they are caught up on the other side. The President has remained benevolent with carpet movements until almost every one moved to his Party to clearly define the win much akin to the example of Zhul Qarnain (AS):”They ask you about Zhul Qarnain” (apparently also like from outer space). “ Say I shall recite to you something of his story…He followed cause and effect” and met three set of communities one after the other and each will after encounter, it would seem, follow him to the next in the search for solution to a common problem. First at the ‘setting place of the sun’, he met a community which were though corrupt but remained quiet for him to discover whatever they feared that made them to hang on to the state of corruption they found themselves in (compare with the 2003 Buhari appearance before his investigation to free and fair elections).
84. Then the second at the ‘rising place of the sun’, another community who have no privacy and at this juncture, (even when they refused to talk) he could discern loss of privacy in them and fright as their main reason to hang on to the corrupt state (2007 encounter). They again all followed him to the third group, the most frightened and in whom keeping quite was no more feasible because the intense lack of privacy had made survival itself improbable through silence. They now spoke to untie the knot in front of the very terror that had engulfed their freedom thereby daring corruption to do its worst (2011 encounter)“Oh ZhulQarnain (verse 94)Verily the Gog and Magog are doing great mischief in the land. Shall we then pay you a tribute in order that you might erect a barrier between us and them (New party and alliances culminating into the proverbial ‘tsintsiya Sak’). (Versus 96)” Go get me pieces of iron(anti rigging structures and campaigns); when he had filled up the gap between the two mountains cliff(two political parties)he said (2015)Blow then(cast your thumb print) until he made them (red as)fire, he said bring the molten copper to pour upon them then until he made them (red as)fire, he said bring the molten copper to pour upon them(like a tare a raka a tsare) (97) so they could not scale it or dig through it..’( aluta continua into 2015-2019)
LESSONS LEARNT FROM CHAPTER KAHF
85. Knowledge has no Limit. The story of learned Musa and more learned Khidr seemed to also indicate the distance of learning and its quantum between the North and South poles of the earth. Since Allahs’ knowledge has no end, it required every soul learned in something to give in to the other endowed with another degree of expertise and that impatience and quarrel is the bane of understanding. It teaches respect and obedience to a teacher in his own specialty and the difficulty on comprehension of knowledge when the time for it is not due. The parting of ways between Musa AS and Khidir is significant to show that a pupil cannot even exhaust the knowledge of his teacher let alone that of Allah who created both of them. The undertaker should only take as much to move on after due recognition and appreciation of the teacher.
86. Solution to ones problems belies in self help. A combination of these lessons altogether also made up the story of ZhulQarnain who travelled and used no other than the same people, engulfed by their own corruption, and who did not believe in themselves to free themselves from an intractable shackle of their time. They probably never thought that Zhul Qarnain was going to use them as foot soldiers for their own problem but that was it. The chapter brought the story of Zhul Qarnain in succession after the Musa AS and Khidir encounter as a build up to the phase in which premature questions and argument between a leader and a pupil had been overcome. The success in the Zhul Qarnain episodes are largely therefore as a result of following a leader in submission to his dictates, patience and belief in his abilities. This group followed him with silence as he unraveled the situation by himself and he went on until they too attained similar level of self discovery as to identify their main terror and, out of impulse they called out (verse 94) “Behold oh Zhul Qarnain, the Gog and Maggog are committing atrocities on earth and can we get a way out from you as to keep, between us and them, at bay?” They said it as if they were not part of the problem in the first instance. They are the same lot which, in preceding verse the Quran advised Zhul Qarnain to (verse 86)“either punish them or give them reprieve for some goodness that still resided in them”. It is clear that just as the Gog and Maggog used the same people who were the victims in committing atrocities, Zhul Qarnain also used the same victims for the solution.
87. Concept of Drawing a Line.Thus Zhul Qarnain while considering the options (as above given) said (verse 87) “whoever continued in atrocities I will surely punish him and then return him to his Lord for a greater punishment in due course”. I guess that is where the concept of drawing a line also comes in if I did hear something like that from our President and C in C. Persistence on the wrong even when it is outright is what impunity means. If impunity is alleged and proven, Zhul Qarnain insisted that he will surely punish and still return same to the Lord for even greater punishment. For that, another guess, the law and the courts have adequate provisions for admissions, confessions, conndonnation and pardon or as the case may be retribution, restitution, compensation etc. Zhul Qarnain could only achieve the feat by investigation, record compilation and screening. Allah is best endowed with knowledge.
88. Elimination of Corruption takes Time. The Central theme of Suratul Kahf seem to be that elimination of corruption takes time and is a natural test for believers over their patience, belief and reliance that Allah SWT is there to worship. Devine sources indicate that test of one person against another or against worship of the Lord is mostly intense and it will not abate until those with doubtful beliefs are separated from genuine, the patient from the impatient, the good and the bad and until people will frequently ask ‘when is the promised reprieve of Allah going to come’ (32.28) and at that time the weak in faith would have long given up.
89. Responsibility for success is on the Leader. The most valuable lesson learnt here however is in the fact that it is the follower Sayyidina Musa AS that excused Sayyidina Khidir by declaring that he had faulted his warning three times and had therefore excused the teacher from the obligation to continue to tutelage. Presumably had Musa returned to request to yet follow in the adventure that was strange to him, Khidr would have accepted him as he had done in the past. Indeed even before they set out he had remarked (verse 68) ‘How can you even have the patience to follow me when you don’t have the complete story’. It confirms that the leader or the specialist always anticipates ineptitude in the follower, pupil and undertaker. The endowed leader can therefore never be tired of his followers. He sees beyond the common that eyes can see and it behooves on the undertaker to always give breathing space and not to argue if he is to learn successfully. This is a lesson we often take for granted to encroach on others and deny them their endowed expertise and reign. May Allah SWT guide our leader’s right Amin.
ON DR AHMAD A GUMI
90. Mr President Sir, although you came along way with Dr Ahmad A Gumi, he seemed lately to be one other example of your impatient disciples. From what I gathered mainly, he believed in the Yaradua Presidency when you insisted that, personality apart, PDP was the problem. He has now realized the true meaning of ‘Sak’ a political as against a religious concept, and the deficiency of an anointed Yaradua being more or less like the anointed Goodluck Jonathan. Suratul Kahf would still teach that being the big brother whose field we all encroached upon to make contribution, without the least claiming any expertise, that you will during your tenure also look back to say to us, “I will now tell you the interpretation of those things over which you were unable to hold patience”. Should Dr Gumi still ask more questions it will still behold on you to either tell him it is premature, timely or to simply say follow me and keep quiet? I am sure again that the day he excuses you as having tried enough to accept him in your journey, you will, like ZhulQarnain AS pause a little to let him know where he aired and the interpretations of his difficult subjects.
91. You may also wish to yet again console him over an attempted suicide attack aimed at his person on a last day of Ramadan, the subsequent day of the year in which you also faced near identical challenge. Could that have been two lailatul qadrs of near equal in character? Could there have been some 83.3 years gap multiplied in fold, separating the common struggle between you and Dr Ahmad that creates the inability to see that you have so much in common as to blur our vision to one and the same struggle? I thought also that if someone met his luck with Lailatul Qadri, he must appreciate it to again stoop low as be able to relate with commoners 80 yrs down the line. The depth of our struggle to untie the general impression created by your adversaries, that you were a fundamentalist, may provide the insight as to how Dr Gumi would have failed to be patient with you. He is not from outer space any way to have withstood what you could go through unperturbed. He only went for a surgeon in Saudi Arabia to improve on the local content he really is. He remains an asset for you to tap any day and time. Being the People’s choice however, we shall continue to take you up on issues.
92. In addition, Sheikh Ahmad also suffered detention and incarceration for two years in Saudi Arabia some time back purportedly for his own safe custody confirming the fact that he could be misunderstood often. The matter of his compensation and restitution to his family again rests now with his Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To the clergy their endowed knowledge and to Mr. President his authority and expertise, exemplary politics and voyage, general ship, calm benevolence and all the fatherly dues he deserves. We are also constrained to ask much more from you like the rest of Nigerians. Having ones stumbled on a document that purportedly projected for the building of two appendages to the National Library, in dear memories of the late Waziri Junaid of Sokoto and Sheikh Abubakar Gumi of Kaduna, I cannot conclude without requesting you to please look into it with a view to making amends. The one in Sokoto has been sited on ground while that of Kaduna is yet to be brought to our notice.
THE NORTH BEACONS TO THE SOUTH ONES AGAIN
93. Incidentally too the outcome of the elections played out an alliance the plat form of which is similar to continual repeat of Northern beacon to the South to save Nigeria from decline. While some parts will see reason some others will not be comfortable. The North South alliances are efforts of great compatriots and as always it turns out as the saving grace. The last 15 years is replete with agitations from various ethnic, tribal, regional and sectional groups for terms coined relative to desires for self rule, autonomy, true federalism, resource control etc. National conferences and similar groupings were also put in place to look at some of these agitations. What is evident is the preponderance of alliances that emerge to always make civil what has been contrived to look like emergency situations. In the long run Nigeria has been the better for it. The North however seem to have been most stable in terms of these agitations but this record has now been dented by the BH menace.
94. It is another delight however, that those who decided to show case MKO Abiola in the North as to turn him into a veritable presidential candidate loved by all have also, by it succeeded in laying the foundation for the alliance with the South West in the recent Presidential elections. The fortunes to the Nigeria project in the trying times not witnessed before can only be imagined. MKO Abiola it was who single handedly partnered with the Federal Government to sponsor Malam and entourage to Saudi Arabia to receive the King Faisal Award out of gratitude to the reception Malam always gave him as a philanthropist of repute and a bridge builder across the Country. Late Alh A Folawiyo and Chief Lateef Jakonde were some of Malam’s finest pupils who were political juggernauts from the South West promoted in the North along with MKO Abiola (may the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace).
95. All parts of the Country should make do more with Religion as the most veritable bond to forge genuine relationships that are capable of withstanding all manners of rigor or minimize them to the barest minimum whenever they have to strike. Only Religion has the where withal to reduce wealth and materialism to infinitesimal that is not after all worth dying for. Our love for material being apart, how many people share or care to bequeath their property to loved ones at the point of death to ensure the continuity of their material household the way they do with the Religious disposition of wives and children. Hardly do lawyers survive on wills and its management in Nigeria as to imagine that we are ready to turn resources into chattel of major jealousy that translates to main reason behind self alienation. Most people simply die off to allow whatever interstate administration debut. It is absurd for materialism to stand as a worthwhile dogma.
96. More people will even take tribal, ethnic and regional sentiments on higher pedestal than simple ownership of resources buried on earth. The ones untapped and undiscovered are by far more than the ones available. The ones available can never finish on account of our numbers. The Quran would rather raise Religious bonds and pedestal the while it boasts yet again only on the resource of reckon if any should exist as a weapon. Last verse of chapter Mulk (power) “Say have you considered: if your water was to become sunken (into the earth), then who could bring you flowing water”. Yet again you find volumes of people living in the desert area with no urge to run to water bound places or to grab it from others simply because it has high material value. It remains a means and should not stand as an end in itself.
NEED FOR MUSLIM SUMMIT.
97. In all there is need for Muslims of Northern extraction and indeed nationwide to hold a summit of all the known Islamic groups in order to achieve common declarations on the BH phenomenon, reaffirm respect and mutual confidence in Christians across and reiterate the universality of and commonality of the local and orthodox content of Islam to fellow countrymen.
98. Above discourse is a humble contribution towards breaking the BH menace. Phase 1 concentrated on what the Federal Government may do in addition to the measures already in place to bring the Insurgency to book. Phase 11 shifted attention from the Government to discuss the role of the victim and complainant who also has been up and about to promote the necessary atmosphere to restore mutual coexistence and past glories back. It is believed that an agenda for the North, Muslims and Christians can be set from the discourse required to harness efforts of all and sundry into the project.
99. It stands out that there is urgent need for a Muslim summit to discuss the items of the agenda and to re-establish gaps that have eroded in the past to have paved way for the current unfortunate situation. The aegis of the Jamatu Nasril Islam is suggested as the umbrella body under which all Muslim organizations will come in to marshal the communiqué required for Government support and other parallel action. Firm declarations need to be made that will re-establish the confidence of Christians and the international communities in the Muslims of Nigeria that they are peaceful and law abiding like they have always been in the past. The summit may also wish to conclude by a recap of the universality and inmemorability of Islamic heritage and its contribution to the making of the modern World.
100. Allahu Aalam and May Allah forgive us our mistakes and wrongs. Aminmmended by the Sunna of the Prophet SAW.
- AbdulQadir Abubakar Gumi, Brigadier General (rtd), is former Director, Army Legal Services.