For the umpteenth time, the umbrella body of Muslims in the North, the Jamma’tu Nasril Islam (JNI), Tuesday traded blame with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as the former asked the latter to explain why Christians disguise as Muslims to perpetrate crime against the state.
The Islamic body in a statement reacting to the arrest of a terror suspect, John Alaku Akpanvan, at the Radio House Abuja, on Monday, said the arrest had further vindicated Muslims.
But in a sharp reaction, the Media Assistant to the CAN President, Mr. Kenny Ashaka, described JNI’s statement as sad and unfortunate, accusing it of being too desperate and hasty to cover up members of Boko Haram who had been terrorising and killing innocent Nigerians and destroying their property in the name of Islam.
JNI in the statement signed by its Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, noted with bewilderment, the “usual way serious security issues are being cajoled with at the expense of our state”.
The statement read: “All thanks are due to Allah, the most high, for vindicating the JNI, because some times in February 2012, we made a press release demanding explanations from the CAN president on why some Christians are arrested in Muslim attires while attempting to bomb or commit acts of terrorism. Few of such were the cases of one Lydia Joseph (the failed bomber of St. John Catholic Cathedral) in Bauchi State who attempted to bomb a church; the man arrested in Bayelsa State was also in turban and the Gombe case.
“Again we were astonished to hear of one Augustine Effiong in connection with BUK bomb attacks. Moreso, eight Christians were arrested at the COCIN Church of Miyabarkatai, Bauchi State. It therefore suffices to state in unequivocal terms that Christians are also involved in sophisticated terrorism in Nigeria.
“Once more we demand explanations from CAN president, why are Christians disguising in Muslim dress as they carry out their heinous crime against the state. He should stop chasing the shadows by giving the federal government what he calls ‘the Final call’.”
Besides, the “JNI reiterates that had Mr. John Alaku Akpanvan (the man arrested at the Radio House on Monday) were to be a Muslim; the story will have been different. But it is evidently manifest that once he is a Christian, he is either insane, incapacitated or they belong to my brother but if the suspected or arrested person is to be a Muslim he is a terrorist, Boko Haram or a fundamentalist”.
However, in his reaction, Ashaka wondered why the JNI rather than condemning every act of evil, is justifying the activities of the Boko Haram.
“Why should JNI demand an explanation from the CAN President over the arrest of criminals? Of all the bombings, killings and destructions by the Boko Haram, who claim to be fighting the cause of Islam, has anybody ever come to demand for an explanation from the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III?
“Let me state very categorically that Christians will never harbour or defend criminals in the name of religion, because it is ungodly to do that. Christians will ever be ready to hand over any of their members known to be involved in murderous activities to the security agents.
“No Christian will condone terrorism and the mindless killing of people; Christians are ready to give full support to security agents to fish out any of their members known to be a terrorist.
“We urge the JNI to call Boko Haram to order to put an end to this mindless killing of innocent people. Is the JNI now saying that all members of Boko Haram, arrested in Borno, Yobe, Kano, Plateau, and Kaduna States are all Christians?
“In the case of the man arrested in Abuja on Monday, let the security agencies investigate the matter and whoever the person is, should be brought to justice if a case is established against him,” he said.
He further asked: “Is Kabiru Sokoto, Abu Qaga, Abubakar Shekau, or those men that kidnapped and murdered the Italian and the Briton in Sokoto Christians? Let us do away with these sentiments and join hands with security agencies in addressing the Boko Haram issue.”