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The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has called on the Federal Government to take immediate action on Rev. Father Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Nsukka, Enugu State, whose hateful sermon, it said, had led to attacks on innocent Muslims in the South East and South South zones of the country.
This is contained in separate petitions sent to the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, and the Director General, Department of State Services (DSS), Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
The petitions titled, “Complaint on Rev. Father Godfrey Igwebuike Onah’s hateful sermon and its consequent murder of Muslims and destruction of their property in the south-east and south-south zones of Nigeria”, was signed by the Deputy Secretary General of the NSCIA, Prof. Salisu Shehu.
He recalled that in a letter dated 6 Rabiul-Awwal, 1441 AH (23 October, 2020) they urged the security organisations to specially protect the lives, property and places of worship of Muslims living in the South-East and South-South.
“In the said letter we informed you about the violent assaults being unleashed on the Muslims in some parts of the zones.
“Some were killed and their property worth billions of Naira were looted, vandalized or set on fire.
“Mosques, including very ancient ones built by Indigenous Igbo Muslims, were burnt.
“Rather than abating, the persecution and violence against Muslims in the said two zones have persisted with greater intensity,” the petition said.
It said that on Saturday, 31 October, 2020, as a result of a hateful and inciteful sermon which, according to the apex Islamic Council in Nigeria, was full of lies and fallacies, delivered by a Bishop, Rev. Fr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, some Christian bigots unleashed violent and virulent attack on Muslims in Nsukka and burnt their Mosques.
Shehu said that the NSCIA was yet to confirm the number of casualties and that in the sermon (attached, with also the pictures of the attacks), it was clear that the Bishop instigated the worshippers against mosques and Muslims.
It said: “It would, therefore, require any disagreement to execute the premeditated havoc wreaked on the Muslims in the two zones.”
The petition added that the recurrence of these kinds of incessant arson and massacre of Muslims in the south-east and south-south, if left unchecked, could ignite reprisals in other parts of the country, especially the North.
“It has, therefore, become imperatively urgent to proactively bring an end to these criminalities.
“In view of the above, the NSCIA, on behalf of the entire Nigerian Muslim Ummah, hereby reiterates our call on you Sir, to rise up to this challenge and protect the lives and property of Muslims in the south-east and south-south as bonafide citizens of Nigeria who should live peacefully in any part of the country.
“Specifically, we also implore you to as a matter of urgency interrogate Reverend Father Godfrey Igwebuike Onah on his hate speech, inciteful sermon of lies fabricated to provoke hatred for the Muslims,” the petition reads in part.