Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, The umbrella body for all Nigerian Muslims, said it was absurd to blame Fulani herdsmen for the brutal slaughter of innocent villagers in Agatu, Benue State, Nimbo, Enugu State and some parts of Nasarawa State.
It, however, condemned in strong terms the repeated attacks on the innocent citizens, thereby calling on relevant security agencies to arrest the trend.
The Northern State Governors Forum, NSGF had in their communiqué read by its Chairman, Kashim Shettima declared that it was an insult to regard Fulani herdsmen as criminals and falsely argued that “kidnapping originated from South-east does not make us call it Igbo kidnappers.”
But JNI, which expressed concern over the incessant attacks in a statement issued yesterday by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, observed that taking up of arms against other citizens “portends grave danger to Nigeria.”
The group said it received with great shock and deep concern the news of incessant killings and maiming of innocent lives and the destruction of public and private property.
JNI categorically rejected sectional views across the country that blamed Fulani herdsmen for the brutal killing of people in Agatu, Nimbo and some parts of Nasarawa State.
The statement noted that it “is indeed absurd and most unfortunate that certain groups or people ascribe the incidence on ethnic and/or religious premise and to whimsically apportion blame in order to batter the gradual restoration of peace and security in Nigeria.”
It pointed out that the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State “has debunked the rumours. Likewise, the Inspector General of Police (IG) has also debunked the insinuations over those being blamed.”
It, therefore, cautioned against packaging crimes in religious and ethnic garments, noting that crimes “are abominable and whoever commits them is criminal. Security agencies should brace up in being proactive and utilise maximally intelligence reports in order to nip in the bud possible eruptions of security problems within and around communities.”
While condemning the repeated heinous attacks, it called on security agencies “to brace up to the trends in order to put a stop to this ugly tide, as human lives are sacred and must be seen to be treated as so.”
The statement said the group, indeed all Nigerians, viewed the fall out of these repeated attacks, particularly the taking up of arms against other citizens as another trend of insecurity, which it said, portended grave danger to the nation.
The statement reads: “We must not forget so soon the adverse effect of the so-called Boko Haram group that claimed the lives of many innocent lives. Hundreds have been abducted, the male forced into insurgency and the females into slavery.
“Millions more are wallowing in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Nigeria and in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. public and private properties worth trillions of Naira have been destroyed.”