By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Following a trending video of an Islamic cleric making the rounds in which he made very inciting and malicious allegations against the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Christopher Musa and also profiled his tribal group, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has demanded the immediate arrest of the cleric.
The demand was made at a press briefing in Kaduna yesterday, with the text of the briefing which was read by its coordinator, Nuhu Bahago, jointly signed by him and
the coalition’s secretary, Aishatu Gandu, they described the cleric’s comments as inciting to the CDS and his ethnic group.
“We want to say that the tirade of the clerics is very offensive and clearly calculated to cause grievous harm on the CDS’s image and that of his Kataf people and instigate violence in the country.
“We condemned this act of hate and incitement and we call on relevant authorities to arrest and interrogate the cleric,” they demanded.
According to the group, Gen. Musa read the outcome of the meeting of ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff on the coup d’tat in Niger and the need for restoration of constitutional democracy, which didn’t seem to go down well with the cleric.
“In reaction, he alleged that France, America and Britain are using Gen. Musa to wage war against Niger, a Muslim country. Apart from accusing Gen. Musa of unwillingness to terminate banditry in Nigeria, the cleric went on to hatch a vile conspiracy theory accusing him of being a stooge of the West.
“He further alleged that the meeting of the Defence Chiefs of ECOWAS which was hosted by Gen. Musa was to pursue an agenda of France, England and the US who he alleged attended the meeting,” the CSOs said.
They quoted the cleric as saying, “leader of Nigeria military, Christopher Musa said that they are ready if given authority. You know that in the military tradition, even if you didn’t say so, whether you are given order or not, you must obey, whether you are capable or not. For saying that we are ready to be given authority, this signifies that he has malicious intention against a community. Do you know where he comes from? He is from Zangon Kataf – a Kataf man!
“According to history of his grandfathers they are the ones that have been fighting Muslims. Right from 1990, they have been killing Muslims. And Niger is a Muslim country.
“He has been made the topmost officer in Nigeria. And he has been made the leader of ECOWAS army.
Today, the opportunity he has been looking for, has been gotten. Left to him, he would have started from Zaria. . . We know where you are coming from; we know your grandparents, we know your kinsmen; we know your mentors,” he went on.
“Now, Christopher Musa, you have the military at your disposal. You are an expert; you have deputies that are experts and equipped with sufficient arms to destroy a nation; take over their airports, take over the nation and their army, yet Turji is kidnaping your own brothers. Dogo Gyede is kidnaping your brothers,” he said, referring to two most notorious bandit leaders operating in the North West of Nigeria.
In view of the above unfortunate allegations, they explained that as responsible, law abiding Nigerians of fair minds who believe in truth and justice, they decided to state their position on the issues raised in the video.
“Gen. Musa is a fine military officer who has distinguished himself as a polished, thorough professional. As an accomplished, disciplined and loyal soldier, he has submitted himself to civil authority and he is bound by international code of military conduct to obey orders from his Commander-in-Chief. We therefore rebuke all the false and unguarded allegations thrown at him.
“Gen. Musa was born and bred in Sokoto, the seat of the Caliphate and is not known to have anything against ethnic group or religion. The aim of the video is to bring him to public odium in the face of Muslim community as one who hates Islam. It is also aimed at courting hate at his tribal group which consequences may imperil thier security and safety.
“Like all ethnic groups in the North, the Kataf have a record of peaceful co-existance much more than for strive with the Muslim communities. Therefore, for the cleric to instigate the Muslim community against the Kataf is most condemnable,” they explained.
The CSOs therefore, called on Gen. Musa not to be distracted from his commitment to serve his country and humanity in the manner that has seen his meritorious rise to his present position.
“We want to assure him that the celebration and wide acceptance from the broad section of the country that welcomed his appointment is still intact.
“Finally, we call on the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the DSS not to allow this divisive and inciting video to go uninvestigated. We hope the law will be brought to bear if the cleric is found guilty. This will serve as a deterrent to others,” they stressed.