The immediate Vice Chancellor of the University of ilorin, Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede (OFR), has attributed the lack-lustre impact of the on-going war against Boko Haram in the country to “ill-motif and hatred for Islam by those charged with the security of the nation.”
The Secretary-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) made the observation last Monday (November 24, 2014) in his keynote address at the International Conference of Islam in Nigeria (COIN) themed “Islam and the Nigerian State: A Centenary of Bridging Theocracy and Secularism”. The Conference was organised by the Islamic Welfare Foundation (IWF) in conjunction with the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Centre for Ilorin studies, University of Ilorin.
In the address, entitled “Islam in Nigeria: A Century of National Islamic Societies”, the renowned administrator said, “It is important to note that the war against Boko Haram is being impeded by what appears as ill-motif and hatred for Islam by those charged with security of the nation”, adding that “Muslims are generally becoming sceptical about the genuineness of the claims and actions of the Nigerian security agencies.”
The former Vice-Chancellor told a large gathering of Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and professionals in varied fields that “the recent Apo massacre and the highly suspicious allegations against a university lecturer, who was generally known to have openly opposed Boko Haram activities, but yet being presented not only as sympathetic but also being a spiritual leader of the group, are pointers in support of the scepticism.”
He said tha, the international community has persistently accused Nigeria of gross violation of rights of innocent citizens in the name of fighting terrorists.
Prof. Oloyede cited the case of 15 citizens, including an Imam, who were arrested recently in their homes in Potiskum, Yobe State, only for their battered bodies to be deposited at the mortuary the following day.
The Professor of Islamics charged Nigerian Muslims to network among themselves and create a think tank that would serve as an idea bank for the Ummah which would devise means of solving many of the complex issues bedevilling the Nigerian Muslim community.
Prof. Oloyede also decried the multiplication of Islamic societies in Nigeria, which expend their energies on the same objectives and called on the societies to join forces to establish a University.
He also called on Islamic organisations to pull resources to establish more Muslim Hospitals for the benefit of the Ummah and the country and also create vocational and entrepreneurial centres to engage Muslim youths.
The visiting Professor to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) also noted that no Islamic organisation owns a full-fledged media house, a situation which he said has resulted into bad media coverage on Islam. He charged Muslims to take the task of community and national development upon themselves by creating more Islamic advocacy groups in the areas of anti-corruption, girl child education, and the social media.
While dissecting the historical economic state of Nigerian Muslims and sustaining Muslim organisations, Prof. Oloyede observed that “the need for financial independence cannot be over emphasised. It should be recalled that early Muslims in Lagos established Islamic Bank of West Africa (IBWA) as far back as 1960, the licence of which was revoked under the Gen. Yakubu Gowon regime by the then Federal Commissioner of Finance, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in 1967. The vision of such early Muslims ought to be re-invented for sustainable funding for Islamic organisation. Zakat largely belongs to the poor and as such cannot be, beyond a certain fraction, legitimately utilised for running Islamic organisations. Awqaaf (Real Islamic endowments) are also a veritable source of funding for Islamic organisations.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the National Coordinator of the Islamic Welfare Foundation (IWF), Dr. Aliyu Badmus, disclosed that the foundation conceived the conference as a commemoration of the centenary of the Nigerian state. He, however, said that the conference, which was a departure from the dinning and wining that has generally characterised the celebration of the centenary, was a platform for Nigerians to ruminate on the challenges facing the country.
Dr. Badmus lamented what he called “subversive and false narrative on Islam in Nigeria”, noting that the colonialists found the established statecraft in Nigerian Muslim communities indispensable and governed northern Nigeria through indirect rule
The IWF Coordinator noted that Muslim interests have, however, been undermined as efforts to establish Islamic banking in the country has been frustrated while the Federal Government has recently decided to remove the Arabic letters on the 100 naira note without any justification.
While speaking on the way forward for Nigeria, the educationist said, “As responsible and patriotic citizens, Muslims urge the government to put its act together to effectively defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria and arrest the present gradual decline into failed state. We demand that the rescue of Chibok girls and others in captivity should be pursued with greater vigour and sincerity of purpose. We demand honest electioneering process that will lead to free, fair and credible elections. We also demand a credible fight against corruption, the real scourge of Nigeria”.
In his goodwill message, the Registrar of the University of Ilorin, Mr. E. D. Obafemi, disclosed that the programme reminded him of his first degree project in which he wrote on Islam in Kabba.
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