Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
A faith-based group, The Muslim Congress TMC, has bemoaned the recent listing of Nigeria among the countries engaging in severe religious persecution.
The group says most of the reasons alluded to the listing of the country on the Special Watch List are criminal issues which were being addressed in accordance with the Nigerian law.
The TMC spokesperson, Mr Abdul Wasiu Bangbala, while addressing the journalists during the quarterly State of the Nation Address, 17 in it’s series, explained that there was no basis for Nigeria to be captured under such conversation.
“Nigeria has played host to prominent religious preachers from around the world who have come for seminars, crusades and other religious functions and they related freely with thier religious faithful.
The inclusion of Nigeria on the list may not be unconnected to the continuous detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky and the subsequent clashes between the Nigeria Police and IMN members. We know that this listing is unfair and is not a true reflection of the reaities on ground,” the group said.
The group mentioned that the US may have probably listened more to some aggrieved Nigerians who were canvassing such ideas, stressing that they do not represent the broad spectrum of the populace.
It therefore emphasised that Nigeria embraced and encouraged peaceful coexistence among all religions irrespective of their beliefs.
The group also commended the initiative of the six Governors of the south-western states to launch the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) otherwise known as Amotekun, the outfit established to strengthen the security situation in the region.
“It is noteworthy that the Inspector General of police Mohammed Abubakar Adamu had approved the launch of the outfit and the police is working with the South West Governor’s to streamline the operations of Amotekun. The outfit, however, needs to be adequately funded so that non-performance and ineffectiveness do not arise,” he said.
It urged stakeholders involving in the initiative to be up and doing so as to achieve the community policing programme, backed by President Muhammad Buhari.
Sowore and others
The group described the recent release of Omoyele Sowore and Sambo Dasuki as triumphs of rule of law.
It stated that the singular action has reduced the building tension and enhanced the image of the government regarding it’s compliance to the rule of law, hoping that similar gestures will be extended to other detainees who may have held despite bail being granted by the courts.
TMC stated that: “After the inability to get the budget ready for January each year in the last decades, we commend the Federal Government and National Assembly for working assiduously to ensure the early passage of the bill and signing into law.”
The Muslim Congress lauded the move and asked the concerned authorities to ensure that the objectives of the budget are met.
Bayelsa election and others
The recently concluded elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States, no doubt were marred by malpractices which the electoral umpire has identified.
TMC suggested that subsequent elections, particularly in 2020, should devoid of violence and vote-buying so that the results can be a true reflection of the wishes of the people.
“Those that have been arrested for perpetrating violence should be charged to court to detter others. Likewise, the suspects arrested in connection with the killing of Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh, the Kogi State PDP women leader should be prosecuted in earnest, he said.
Other issues raised in it’s quarterly address include; Suspension of National Identification Number for UTME candidates, Separation of conjoined twins by the Government and Nigerian Doctors, commendation for the JAMB boss, professor Ishaq Oloyede, nomination of new Chairman of National Hajj Commission among others.