An Islamic organisation, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, yesterday rejected the removal of Commandants of Armed Forces and Staff College, Air Vice-Marshal Adullahi Kure, and the Corps of Infantry, Maj.Gen. Muhammad Isa.
The group said that their replacement by non- Muslims as heads of the military formations was suspicious.
But the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in 19 northern states and Abuja yesterday called on President Goodluck Jonathan and the military authorities to disregard JNI stand on the removal of ex-Jaji military commandants over the blasts that killed 15 Christian worshippers.
In a statement entitled, “The removal of the two Jaji officers” by JNI Secretary- General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, and made available to our correspondent yesterday, the organisation said the removal of the two officers were “rushed against the nature of military known to be careful in handling sensitive issues of national interest.”
The former commandants were removed by the Defence Headquarters following the recent Sunday’s twin-car bomb attacks at St. Andrew’s Military Protestant Church in the military base, killing at least 15 worshippers with scored of injured victims.
The Defence Headquarters had in a statement on Saturday named Maj.- Gen. K.C. Osuji as the new Commandant of the Nigerian Army Infantry Corps and Air Vice-Marshal E.E. Osim as the new Commandant of the Command and Staff College.
But JNI said the attempt to politicise the security breach along religious and ethnic divides would cripple not only the military but the nation’s security system.
The JNI statement reads: “The fact that the two officers who were swiftly removed were Muslims, and were replaced by two officers who are non-Muslims makes any discerning observer to be suspicious of the motives behind the whole exercise.
“It is our sincere concern to which we make bold to state that any attempt at politicising the issue of security in Nigeria will not only worsen our security situation but will also continue to polarise the military family and the entire security system along religious and ethnic divides, something that would not augur well for the future of our dear nation.
“While reiterating our condemnation of the blasts and emphasising the need for the immediate thorough investigations into the matter, we want to state that the immediate removal of the two officers does not speak well of the military who are hitherto known to be careful and objective in dealing with sensitive issues of national interest.
“We cannot comprehend why the use of two different approaches to addressing the same issue. Nigerians may not understand why the two Jaji officers be removed in connection to the blasts even before any proper investigation, while no immediate posting out could follow the bombings at the 1 Mechanised Division and the Police Headquarters which preceded it.
But the Northern CAN’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Sunday Oibe, blamed JNI for dragging religion into the ongoing war against terrorism.
CAN said: “If truly the respected Muslim organisation, Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, said the removal of Jaji military commandants has religious motive is unfortunate because we should not drag religion into the security situation in this country.
“When former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Charles Soludo, tenure ended who is in charge now, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi? Who is the Inspector- General of Police now? Is it not Mohammed Abubakar?”
CAN added that the JNI statement on the removal of Jaji commandants was divisionary because the same group said that Boko Haram was not a religious group.
CAN, however, called on security agencies to monitor religious leaders closely.
“Those military officers posted to Jaji are they not qualified? President Goodluck Jonathan, the military should not be distracted in their efforts to end Boko Haram.
“Christians are being killed on daily basis that does not disturb JNI. JNI should tell Nigerians if they are behind Jaji military church blast if not they should focus on their religious activities for the good of humanity rather than telling military what to do,” CAN stated.