As the tension in Zaria between the military and Shiite Islamic Movement, led by Mu’allim Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, continues to generate reactions, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto and founder, The Kukah Centre Bishop Hassan Kukah has appealed to sheath parties to sheat their swords, calling on the federal government to stop any further violence among the warring groups.
Kukah spoke Wednesday at the inaugural forum on Religion and Social Transformation in sub-Saharan Africa, organised by The Kukah Centre in partnership with the Departmement of Intercultural Theology, DePaul University, USA.
Also, lawyers in Osogbo the Osun State capital, also urged security agencies in the country to exercise cautions so that the issue of the Shiite Islamic Movement would not transform into another Boko Haram palaver.
Kukah in his reaction argued that religion was not responsible for violence though people often stand on its platform to perpetrate violence and spread hatred.
In a related development, the spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ogbole Odeh, also yesterday, said he had no information on the reports in some national dailies over the summon of the Nigeria ambassador in Iran by the Iranian government.
It was reported in some national dailies that the Nigeria envoy in Iran was summoned by that country’s government, following the violent clash between the Shitte Islamist sect and the Nigerian military in Zaria recently.
Contacted to react to the issue, its spokesperson in a telephone conversation, said he had no information about the development.
Iran is predominantly Shitte, but they are in minority in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.
THISDAY checks indicated that the summon of Nigeria Embassy in Iran, may not be unconnected with the sympathy they have with their members in the northern Nigeria.
Meanwhile, speaking with THISDAY yesterday, Ajibola Bashiru, a legal practitioner, noted that government should interrogate the leadership of the Shiite and if found guilty the appropriate sanctions should be given to the movement.
Bashiru contended that another crisis should not be given a chance now that the country is working vigorously to tackle allsocial ills in the country.
However, Sokoto State Police Command has advised religious groups in the state to conduct their activities in an orderly manner so as not to infringe on the rights of the citizens of the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Command, Al-Mustapha Sani, in a chat with THISDAY, said the call on the religious groups became necessary following the recent fracas between the military and the members of the Shi’ite sect in Zaria, which led to loss of lives.
He emphasised that all organisations planning to organise any procession in the state should seek for the necessary police permit ahead of the event.
According to him, no organisation should in any way infringe on the rights of others in the process of conducting their activities.
The PPRO acknowledged that the Sokoto Police Command had a good relationship with the Shiite sect in the state and was ready to provide protection for them whenever they wish to conduct their activities.
“It is true we have a good working relationship with the Shiite sect in Sokoto but they don’t seek for permission from the command whenever they want to conduct their activities.
“In fact, our men always follow them during procession so as to give protection to people around and to avoid any problem that may arise or even confrontation with members of the public,”Sani said.
He urged religious organisations in the state to inform the command whenever they want to conduct their activities so that adequate protection could be provided for them.
The PPRO added that the command was determined to do whatever it takes to protect the lives and property of residents of the state.
To this end, he advised residents of the state to continue to be law abiding and refrain from acts capable of breaching peace in the polity.
Originally published on thisdaylive.com