The Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG notes with dismay and perplexity the determined efforts by Southern Nigerian leaders to set the country on fire by exploiting cleavages of religious and ethnic nature to needlessly foment unrest.
Having failed to achieve their nefarious objective through the secession agitations for Oduduwa republic and Biafra, and the violence and destruction that followed in their wake, long-practiced tactics are now being played out in the form of indecent attacks on revered religious personalities to provoke reactions.
The typology of provocation by particularly, the Southwestern elites using such groups as the Afenifere, and the dimension that they have taken of recent, have therefore become a serious cause for concern to all well-meaning Nigerians and friends alike.
The recent blasphemous and sacrilegious statement by Afenifere, and recklessly published by Sahara Reporters – a fringe online portal – comparing the plight of Sunday Igboho, a tribal bigot, self-acclaimed political thug and cowardly hire-for-pay warlord, to that suffered by the Prophet Muhammad is certainly a great insult to Islām and Muslims all over the world.
- We note specifically that Nigerian Muslims have for too long, tolerated indecent assaults from these self-appointed enemies with considerable restraint and maturity, to the point of condoning and accommodating several unreasonable and unacceptable actions resulting from the hate campaigns and propaganda being conducted by regional, ethnic and religious irredentists aimed mainly at provoking reactions which they fervently hope will engulf the entire country and bring about another civil war, mass killings and suffering of innocent people.
- This targeting of Muslims and singling Islamic personalities and symbols for such attacks and irreverent treatment by this satanic and certified indecent gangs in the South-West is aimed at causing inter-religious crisis leading to general unrest.
- It also confirms the concern that the violent agitations and disturbances that have been ongoing ceaselessly since 2015, are part of a wider agenda aimed at ushering in of anarchy, thereby occasioning greater instability by whatever means and tactics.
- We especially observe that the Sahara Reporters has not been extremely careful in its reportage of the calumny and provocative statement by Afenifere and ended up fanning the embers of discontent and heating up the polity.
Realizing this diabolical scheme and seeing through the plots exhibited in the pronouncements by the Adebanjo-led Afenifere, and supported by the vast majority of the Yoruba elites, politicians, traditional rulers, business persons, and the larger population of this ethnic group, CNG hereby declares the following stand:
- We emphatically repudiate the provocative action by the remnants of those who habour pent-up grudges against the rest of Nigeria for the failure of Awolowo’s tribalistic ambition to secure the nation’s leadership, and deem this affront on the sanctity of the Islamic religion not only immoral and illegal, but also abhorrent to our sensibilities and ordinary decency, and therefore unacceptable.
- We categorically warn Afenifere, Adebanjo and their fellow Awoists who see it as their duty to actualise what their fathers failed to achieve in 1966, that such extreme provocations and insistent drive towards strife have invariably raised the risk level on any possibility of allowing a Yoruba presidency now or in the future.
- We demand the federal government to immediately proscribe Afenifere in particular, and all religious groups, or ethnic, cultural and tribal organizations that make the habit of undermining Nigeria’s peace, security, and peaceful coexistence through unguarded utterances and deliberate actions aimed at fomenting unrest and engendering inter-religious and inter-communal conflicts.
- Such individuals as Adebanjo and other Awoists associated with such groups or organizations that incite others to violations or openly support acts of terror and terrorist movements, must be arrested and decisively dealt with by the authorities.
Finally, we warn Sahara Reporters or any other media establishment that editorial policies and restraints imposed by ordinary decency and sanity must never again be abandoned for sensational, reckless and slanted reporting with greater bias against a particular religious and ethnic group.