grieved by the gruesome murder of Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Goni Aisami by soldiers recently, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, (NSCIA) has appealed for calm, urging Muslims not to read religious motives into the incident as other religious body would do.
Also, the Jamatul Nasril Islam, JNI condemned the murder describing it as dastardly and reprehensible, adding that if this had happened to a Christian Clergy, CAN would have been vociferous on it while the media would have been awash with subjective headlines.
This is just as Islamic Scholars in the country reacted, seeking open trial of the culprits and dispense justice so as to serve as a deterrent to others.
Sheikh Goni Aisami Gashua last Friday was murdered by two suspected soldiers, Lance Corporals John Gabriel and Adamu Gideon of the 241Recce Battalion, Nguru, Yobe State.
According to reports, Sheikh Aisami was driving back to Gashua from Nguru, when in adherence to the Islamic code of assisting the needy, he offered to give a soldier a ride in his car from where he met him at the military check-point to Jaji-Maji in Karasuwa Local Government Area of Yobe State. However, he reportedly shot him dead in cold blood some kilometers away, and called his colleague to assist in fleeing with the deceased vehicle.
Reacting to the sad development, the NSCIA in a statement signed by Prof. Salisu Shehu, Deputy Secretary General, said: “Following the arrest of the criminals in army uniform, we call for calm among the Muslim ummah especially in Yobe State and immediate action from the authorities starting with the prosecution of the perpetrators in order to serve as a deterrent to others who use their positions to kill innocent Nigerians.
Also, alluding to the Pastor Erinmole Adetokunbo and another Christian, Adedoyin Oyekanmi, for beheading a seven-year old Muslim boy, Kazeem Rafiu, and using his head for rituals in a church on August 9, 2022, on which judgement was delivered recently by the court, the Council commended the Judiciary, adding “if the Council had chosen to be cantankerous like others, innocent Christians would have been unduly tormented, the church would have been maligned and the polity would have been overheated on the sensationalisation of a pastor murdering a Muslim and burying his head in his church.
”For the avoidance of doubt, the penchant for weaponising religion for political expediency and constantly harassing Muslims in general for the misdemeanor of every criminal that is nominally associated with Islam is detestable to every conscionable Nigerian, not just Muslims. Religious leaders should rather be circumspect in their utterances and pronouncements as true people of God, not politicians in cassocks. They should resist the temptation of inflaming passions through the baseless allegations of the so-called Fulanisation and Islamisation, which are actually a smokescreen for their discreet atrocities and undisguised bigotry against Muslims in Nigeria. This is just a piece of advice and religion is essentially about giving advice.
“While appealing to Muslims to have faith in the military authorities and the judiciary in thoroughly investigating the murder and bringing the perpetrators to justice, we urge them not to read religious motives into the incident as others would do. We are not like them. Since we come from Allah and we shall all return to Him and no soul would taste death except with His leave, the Ummah should rest assured that the perpetrators will come to judgment. Muslims should therefore remain calm as they join us in praying that Allah grant him and others like him Aljannah Firdaos.
“Meanwhile, we wish to express our disappointment in the Federal Government on the way and manner in which the murder of Gen. Alkali was handled. Up till this moment, we have not heard what became of his killers. While we sue for justice in the case of Sheikh Aisami, we charge the Federal Government to ensure that the killers of Gen. Alkali are brought to face the wrath of the law.
“Once again, the Council commends the judiciary, condemns those who use every available instance to cast aspersion on Muslims and Islam in Nigeria and charges the authorities to expeditiously bring the murderers of Sheikh Aisami to book.
JNI, in its own statement signed by the Secretary-General, Dr Khalid A. Aliyu, said the Sheikh’s murder was dastardly, reprehensible, and stands condemned, given the kind hearted nature of the Sheikh, who in his own volition offered the assailants a ride in the same car.
JNI said despite the development, the Muslim Ummah did not in any way declare that it was an attack by Christian terrorists in military garb, adding that if this had happened to a Christian clergy, “CAN and its cronies would have been on top of their voices that Muslim terrorists have killed a Pastor or Reverend and the media would also have been awash with such information.
The group called on the federal government and the leadership of the Nigerian Army to as a matter of fairness and justice, hasten the prosecution of the culprits responsible for Sheikh Aisami’s death, and execute the judgement, adding that judgement must not only be done but seen to be done.
“These repeated tragedies should not be swept under the carpet; as we have a firm conviction that these unwarranted killings are usually well thought-out. As we have always said, no life, we repeat no life is worth taking except as stipulated by law,” JNI said.
There should be open trial of the culprits — Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya
A Special Adviser on Islamic and Hajj Matters to two former governors of Kaduna State, Sheikh Halliru Abdullahi Maraya also said the trial of the prime suspects should be open, while also calling for adequate compensation to be given to the Goni’s family whose bread winner was gruesomely murdered.
“What should be done by the authorities is to make sure that the prime suspects are brought to book and the trial should be an open one. This will serve as a deterrent to others. It was a very gruesome murder, and very unfortunate for an innocent man who offered help to a soldier, and afterwards, he was killed by that soldier. Very unfortunate!”
He stated that an open trial will convince Nigerians that a true trial is done and under the umbrella of justice.
He also advised that the government should immediately grant scholarships to all the children of the late Islamic scholar and compensate the family substantially.
“Adequate compensation should be given to the family of the deceased Islamic Scholar with substantial amount of money for the sustenance of all members of the family whose bread winner has been gruesomely murdered and grant scholarships to his children,” Sheikh Maraya said.
MURIC calls for full investigation
Also, the Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Prof. Ishaq Akintola, has called for full investigation into the crime, adding that there might be other accomplices apart from the soldier who came to assist him. “We are interested in knowing how a soldier who is not on duty traveled from Nguru to Jajimaji with a rifle.
“Who gave him a ‘pass’ or was he on AWOL (Absence without Official Leave)? Who released a rifle to him and for what purpose? We may be dealing with a criminal syndicate within the army barracks in Nguru or beyond. This case has offered more questions than answers and Nigerians are waiting for responses particularly from the Nigerian Army.”
“While we commend the Yobe Police Command for arresting the suspects, we call for swift justice in this matter. The killing is brutal, callous and cold-blooded. The suspects must be arraigned in a court of competent jurisdiction as soon as the police completes its investigations. We warn against any hanky-panky.”