The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, a top Islamic body, has refuted allegations linking it and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, to the death of a former governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa.
The JNI, in a statement on Friday, said such reports are “disheartening” and “disgusting”, stressing that it never held a meeting regarding Yakowa when the ex-governor was alive.
A document that surfaced on social media and had now gone viral, claims the embattled minister allegedly chaired a JNI meeting where plans were alleged to get rid of Yakowa and stop the spread of Christianity in the North.
The document is being shared as a communique adopted at the zonal meeting held in Bauchi in 2010, two years before the former governor died in a helicopter crash in Bayelsa state alongside a former national security adviser, Owoye Azazi.
The document emerged following calls for the minister's resignation amid the controversy generated by the minister’s past extremist views in support of terror groups.
In the statement signed by its Secretary-General Khalid Aliyu, JNI said the allegations are designed to tarnish its image and that of other Muslim organisations.
It read, “The JNI under the leadership of His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the JNI, was taken aback by the desperation of some disgruntled elements who in their desperate attempt to smear the image of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy drag the name of the JNI as being part of an alleged plot to assassinate the late Governor Yakowa of Kaduna state.
“To start with, how could Sheikh Pantami chair a JNI meeting while he was not one of its leaders either at the National or state levels? What could have necessitated the combination of Bauchi, Plateau, Niger and Kaduna states from different geo-political zones in the meeting? If Yakowa was vehemently hated by the Muslims and were desperately trying to ‘get rid’ of him. How did he win the 2011 election in a Muslim dominated state of Kaduna where a Muslim-Muslim ticket recently sailed through? Who voted him in?
“The so-called pieces of minutes shared by the media to further confuse and manipulate an average Nigerian’s mind into believing this orchestrated lie has further confirmed the desperation of the perpetrators. It is very perplexing and heart-rending that minutes of an assassination plot could be written and kept. How disheartening and disgusting!
“We thought the plot against Sheikh Pantami is politically motivated, but surprisingly it is assuming to be a more sinister dimension borne out of a well-thought-out scheme designed to smear and tarnish the image and the good name of the JNI and other Muslim organisations.
“Considering the various concerns raised by many citizens, vis-a- vis the attendant consequence of the scandalous allegation, we wish to place on record and for posterity that such never occurred and the JNI does not operate in such a dubious manner. We are at a loss as to why is this allegation coming up just now, many years after the demise of Mr Yakowa? This should be seriously investigated.”