By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
The Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN) has condemned the shooting in Lagos which resulted to the death of protesters who were agitating for #EndSARS.
SCSN described the development as a violation of fundamental rights of the citizens, urging government at all level to live up to their responsibility.
Secretary General of SCSN, Nafi’u Baba-Ahmed, while briefing reporters in Abuja on Thursday said: “while it is clearly condemnable for the security outfit of a State to engage in brutal violation of fundamental rights of its citizens, the Council as an Islamic organization does not agree with violent protests that have the potential impact of destabilisation of the polity, and creating civil strife as the best approach in seeking an end to the incessant violation and breach of fundamental rights”.
The religious body said its unfortunate and disheartening that: “some individuals, including notable Christian clerics, rather than cautioning their followers and help contain the escalating violence, they instead aggravated it through their unguarded utterances. We strongly believe that those utterances, sometimes from the pulpit, helped in turning what was presented as a patriotic undertaking Into a religious and regional conflict as we are witnessing now”.
Baba-Ahmed lamented that armed mobs also attacked Muslims and their places of worship and businesses around the country in the name of #EndSARS protest.
He said: “This was clearly seen in places such as Apo and Dutsen Alhaji in Abuja; Port Harcourt in Rivers State; Sabon Gari in Kano; Aba in Abia State and various locations in Lagos State, among other places. There were attacks on Muslim businesses in Jos, the Plateau State capital, including a branch of Jaiz Bank Plc, an lslamic bank. In Kano, many shops were looted and razed, including a newly opened Galaxy Mall on Igbo Road. In Lagos, prominent Muslims were attacked and their businesses torched”.
While SCSN condoles with the families of the deceased police officers and all other victims who lost their lives, it condemned in strong terms the barbaric way in which some of this security personnel were killed for no offence other than serving their country.
Baba-Ahmed who was represented by a member of SCSN, Shiek Mohammed Bin Uthman, said: “Governments at all levels must take decisive steps to ensure cessation of the ongoing atrocities and bring to justice all those who have hands in the attacks on innocent citizens. Government must live up to its responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property of all citizens, wherever they may be”.
He continued: “all those who were affected should be adequately compensated, and killers of those who died must be brought to justice in an open and transparent manner.
“The reforms for the Nigerian Police Force as announced by the government must be holistic, taking into cognizance the genuine concerns raised by Nigerians to ensure we have a policy that meets citizens’ aspirations.
“We further remind all that the primary responsibility of government as enshrined in Chapter 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), is to ensure security and welfare of its citizens. Muslims have suffered more than any other group in Nigeria from the brunt of insecurity that had resulted in colossal loss of lives and property and economic deprivation, because of banditry, kidnapping and Boko Haram insurgency. As the #EndSARS protests were raging, 20 people were murdered in cold blood by bandits in Zamfara State. This has made it pertinent for the government to use all possible means to end the incessant killings and rise to her responsibility of securing the country in general, and the northern region in particular.
“To the international community, we urge for restraint, impartiality and commitment to truth and fairness in taking positions on issues affecting Nigeria. We are deeply concerned about the one-sided positions often taken by Nigerian allies, such as the UK, US, Canada etc, without recourse to verifiable evidence.”