Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, inspecting armoured personnel
carriers before handing over the keys to the inspector general of police,
Hafiz Ringim in Maiduguri. Photo: NAN
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State on Sunday described the killings by the Boko Haram sect in the name of Islam as "unjustifiable."
"How can a true Muslim explain, let alone profoundly justify, the current unfortunate cold blooded murders and bombings in the name of Islam?"
Islam means peace and submission to the will of God and thus it should remain so, in both theory and practice.
"This was the understanding of our forefathers. Theirs was the true meaning of Islam in both letter and spirit," Mr Shettima told reporters in Maiduguri.
According to him, targeting innocent souls for attacks irrespective of religion and ethnicity, among others, was alien to Islam.
"The targeting of innocent and unarmed civilians regardless of their ethnicity, race and or religious beliefs is alien not only to our norms and culture, but alien to the fundamental doctrines of Islam."
He said Borno, as a home of Islam over the years, had enjoyed great harmony among the different tribes and religious groups.
"In over the 1,000 years that Islam has taken roots in Borno, it has indeed affected the lives of our people positively, and has through its doctrines guided our daily lives.
"It also guided our interpersonal relations ranging from social to economic interactions."
He pointed out that the strict adherence to the Islamic virtues of peaceful co-existence among groups facilitated the development of Borno over the years.
"Borno was a model, a standard of what was good in the African culture, a pride of the black man everywhere.
"And our history was compared to those of the Ottomans and Sa'adi Morocco, some of the oldest and most impressive dynasties in the world.
"Borno, as a society, was and still remains a cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic as well as multi-religious society." He said that it was regrettable that the attempt by the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna wal Da'a watu Lil Jihad, popularly called Boko Haram, to impose its own opinion on the entire people, had brought untold damage to the people's lives.
The current state of insecurity and deplorable state of affairs is not unconnected with the attempt to impose the opinion of a small group on the larger society, "a situation which clearly abridges the freedom to freely hold and express one's opinion which is fundamental and inalienable in any given society."
He advised the Boko Haram sect to seek peaceful means to advance its cause rather than continue with the killings and destruction of public property.
"We are Muslims and Muslims do not harm innocent souls, much less fellow Muslims.
"Any interpretation or understanding of Islam which justifies killing of innocent people is condemnable and should be rebuked in toto."
Mr Shettima said the mayhem caused by the sect had given the state a bad name, leading to mass exodus of people from it.
"A situation where the name of our dear state, an epitome of peace, degenerates to signify violence while evoking fear to outsiders, and trepidation in residents, leading to lack of free movement to attend to day-to-day activities, is clearly unacceptable.
"This administration has already clearly stated its readiness to open channels of communication with all aggrieved sections of the society with a view to bringing this despicable trend to an end." Mr Shettima added that the administration was ready to dialogue with the sect to end the mayhem in the state.
"Our doors are open for constructive dialogue and a speedy resolution to this state of insecurity.
"I am personally deeply pained by the trend of events. I am a native of Maiduguri, born, bred, and buttered right in the heart of Yerwa, from Nimeri Korongoso."
The governor said he was particularly saddened by the trend of events because most members of the Boko Haram sect came from his neighbourhood in Maiduguri.
"Most of the insurgents are from the well known neighbourhood of Shehuri North, Shehuri South, Limanti, Lamisu Gamboru, Fezzan and Hausari wards of the metropolis.
"I say unto you my brothers what Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, said at the burial of his brother, Wali Ahmed Karzai, some few days ago: ‘My message for them (taliban) is that my countrymen, my brothers, should stop killing their own people.
"It is easy to kill and everyone can do it, but the real man is the one who can save people's lives.
"Islam never sanctioned the killing of non-Muslims and the destruction of their places of worship.'"