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MURIC distances Sultan, Islamic groups from terrorism, banditry

By Idowu Abdullahi

An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has distanced the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) from the list of groups funding and supporting terrorist activities across Nigeria.

The group said that contrary to claims by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, the JNI and Sultan who also doubled as President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) were law abiding entity that would never condone nor support terrorism in any guise.

The MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, argued that the NSA’s listing of JNI among three groups funding terrorism at the 14th Workshop of the League of Ulamas, Preachers and Imams of Sahel countries held in Abuja on Tuesday were faulty.

According to him, JNI is known for promoting peace and mutual understanding among the different faiths and people in the country. It is known for collaborating with both the federal and state governments as well as national and international agencies to organise seminars, workshops and conferences aimed at enlightening Muslims nationwide on programmes like polio vaccination, good governance and responsible citizenry.

Through a statement on Thursday, Akintola noted that with the listed services offered by the group, it would be a huge disservice to mistake such an organisation for a group which was supporting terrorist activities.

“Such a mistake may arise from glaring similarities in nomenclatures as depicted in the allegation made by NSA. The NSA named three groups backing terrorist organizations. To quote him verbatim, ‘…It is bolstered (i.e. terrorism) by activities of groups such as Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM), the Islamic and Muslim Support Group (GSIM) and ISGS, which have continued to pose an imminent threat to the stability of the region.’

“The NSA’s list may cause confusion as a lot of people, including the press, are likely to assume that the organisation mentioned by him is the same as the JNI. We hereby assert clearly, unequivocally and categorically that JNI is not on that terror-promoting list.

“The name of our JNI is shorter and it stops at ‘al-Islam’ whereas the name on the terror-promoting list is longer and it ends with ‘Muslimin’. Our JNI is Jama’at Nasr al-Islam (JNI) while the name of the group which has been accused of supporting terrorist activities is Jama’at Nasr al-Islam Wal Muslimin (JNIM). The acronyms are also different. The letter ‘M’ makes the difference between the peaceful and law abiding JNI and JNIM which has been acused of promoting terror,” the statement said.

Continuing, Akintola added, “we suspect mischief on the part of the JNIM for choosing a nomenclature that can be easily confused with JNI’s name. The choice of that name by the alleged promoters of terrorism was deliberate. It was designed to deceive gullible Nigerians, to unwittingly attract their support, to escape early detection by security agencies and to cheat on the original and popular JNI.

“We advise the NSA to always make a clear distinction whenever names of organisations and individuals are likely to cause confusion in the minds of the public. The NSA’s list has undoubtedly created unintended tension among the populace while some members of the media have sought clarification from Muslim leaders

“It was this situation that actually informed our clarification. JNI is a peace-loving and law abiding organisation. It collaborates with federal and state governments as well as national and international agencies for national development. It does not support or promote terrorist activities. Never, not our JNI.”

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