The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has condemned reported attacks on Muslims in some parts of the South East and at the popular Abraka Market in Asaba, Delta State.
MURIC, in a statement issued by its President, Ishaq Akintola, described the attacks as wicked, cowardly, and unjustifiable.
The Delta Police Command had last week arrested two persons in connection with the attack at the popular Abraka market in Asaba in which four persons were allegedly killed.
The command had in a statement in Asaba by its spokesperson, Andrew Anamika, given the names of the suspects as Abraham Ndudi from Kwale, Delta State, and Okereke Ifeanyi from Ogbaru in Anambra State.
“The suspects were nabbed for their alleged involvement in the dastardly shooting and killing of four persons at the popular Abraka Market in Asaba on Friday, September 15th, 2017 at about 10:45 pm,” the police spokesperson said.
He added that the command has intensified efforts to arrest the third suspect, known simply by his alias, “Last Burial.” Mr. Aniamaka said the armed suspects, who are suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or secret cults, had at about 10:45 p.m. on Friday night fired indiscriminately into the market.
MURIC in its statement, Sunday, said that an irate IPOB mob also attacked a Yoruba Mosque in Umuahia, Abia State, and “destroyed the mosque, tore copies of the Glorious Qur’an and defecated inside the mosque."
Some Yoruba Muslims caught up in the mayhem were manhandled and robbed of their laptops and handsets, the group said.
“It is well known that most Northerners who live in the South East and South West are poor citizens who engage in menial works like shoe-mending, shoe-shining, gate-keepers, etc. What crime has this poor and innocent class committed to warrant such a deadly attack? They are neither politicians nor civil servants,” MURIC said.
The group said that the attacks are a direct product of hate speeches delivered by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed separatist group, IPOB.
“It is not surprising, therefore, that IPOB terrorists have started killing innocent Hausa people and attacking Yoruba mosques. Objective and pragmatic leaders of thought in the South East should prevail on Kanu and IPOB members to stop their terrorist activities henceforth,” Mr. Akintola said.
“We are irked by the silence of Yoruba leaders on IPOB’s attack on the Yoruba mosque. Are Yoruba Muslims no longer part of the Yoruba nation? Are they not the majority group in the South West? Are the elitist Yoruba leaders still bent on marginalizing the majority Yorubas in their midst just because the Muslims are not vocal?"
“MURIC demands proper prosecution of the two IPOB members arrested in connection with the terrorist act. We implore the Delta Police Command to fish out their accomplices. The law must take its due course.”
The group also admonished those it called “IPOB apologists”, particularly constitutional lawyers who have faulted the Nigerian Army’s declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization. It asked such people to tell the world the correct name for a group which allegedly sprays innocent and unarmed citizens with bullets without stealing anything from them.
The statement noted further that MURIC is not averse to the idea of any group demanding its rights, stressing that it will, however, not take kindly to attacks on Muslims and their places of worship.
“We do not issue threats. Neither do we engage in violence. Our motto is ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’ and we will stick to our pacifist vow to the end. But we will not hesitate to seek redress for any act of aggression committed against Muslims. All legitimate options are on the table. We will pursue those who oppress and persecute Muslims to the highest court in the world."
“We appeal to Muslims in and outside the South East sub-region not to take the law into their hands. Two wrongs do not make a right. We advise disgruntled groups to channel their grievances through their state governors. The federal government should, as a matter of urgency, set up a commission to dialogue with such groups."
“However, we reject the idea of a meeting between President Buhari and the IPOB leader as this will bestow a false illusion of officialdom and encourage lawlessness among other groups. Idolisation of criminality in itself is a crime,” it said.