An Abuja-based Islamic cleric and Chief Imam Apo Legislative Quarters Juma’at Mosque, Abuja, Sheikh Muhammad Khalid, has again taken a swipe on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari over worsening insecurity in the country.
Khalid, who had last week said Buhari has allowed terroriists to take over parts of the country, said common Nigerians, particularly northerners, that staked their lives for the President in the 2015 presidential election are now in tears as a result of bad governance.
He stated this in an interview with Saturday Tribune, saying the case of insecurity is now glaring even to the blind.
READ ALSO: Armed Bandits Stormed Kastina Assembly Member House Kidnapped Family Members.
His words : “I am not the one saying it. The situation is speaking to everybody in Nigeria. Even the blind can feel it. The common man that was ready to die for him is feeling it now. People are feeling the impact of the failure. Nigeria is not moving in the right direction. The unity of Nigeria was kept at a manageable level before he came and our assumption was that he was going to cement the unity; that he was going to deal with insecurity. But what we have today is that some people have hijacked some parts of the country. Bandits have hijacked some local government areas in Zamfara State. They are also doing what they like in parts of Sokoto State. Look at the killings going on in Kaduna, in Taraba, in Adamawa, in Plateau and in Benue. We have a situation whereby a serving governor is telling the citizens to protect themselves and a state House of Assembly calling on the citizens to protect themselves. What is the situation telling us? I am not the one saying it; it is the situation on the ground.”
READ ALSO: Politics We’ll use Gov Uzodinma’s styles and experience to win Anambra guber poll for APC – Ex-commissioner
Asked on his constant public criticisms of the government despite a religious school of thought that warned against open condemnation of leaders, he said :”I don’t know that school of thought you are talking about. But if there is such a school of thought, it is a hypocritical school of thought. During the time of the Tabi’un (the generation of Muslims who followed the Companions of Prophet Muhammad, and thus received their teachings secondhand), there were people like Ibn Jubayr that was killed by Hajjaj ibn Yusuf because of the way they speak out for the masses. Hamad ibn Hambali, Abu Hanifa and some other leaders died in prison. Ibn Tamiyyah was imprisoned because of the way he spoke against bad governance. I don’t think Islam that promotes justice and equity will say that if you see injustice, you should keep quiet. Who will speak for those school kids that are in the hands of bandits? Who will talk for those victims of circumstances who died and whose families are suffering? If Islam cannot speak for them, who will? So, we should just condemn small criminals stealing fowls and chickens and snatching phones but keep quiet about leaders that are negligent of their duties? What school of thought is that? It is a hypocritical school of thought.
On what he will tell the President if he is opportuned to see him one-on-one, the fire-brand cleric said :
“I would say that he should first identify those who are behind these atrocities and have them punished. If you punish big criminals, the rest will take a cue. Singapore used poor because of corruption. But the Prime Minister of that country was prosecuted because he went on holiday at the expense of one company which paid for him. He was arrested for that. So, he (Buhari) should prosecute some highly placed people that are behind these current atrocities. Let him, as he said during his campaigns, draw the line. Had he drawn the line and looked at his government, he would have caught those committing atrocities inside his government. He should then look at those who are negligent of duty in his government, those who are performing poorly. He should remove them and bring them to book. That is what he is supposed to do. You can’t have a soft mind or apply soft treatment when you are dealing with corruption and insecurity. You have to be ruthless to some extent but operate within the ambit of the law.
Speaking on the activities of Boko-Haram terrorists, Khalid dismissed the orientation in some quarters that they are fighting for Islam.
“If I believe they are fighting the cause of Islam, I would have been with them but I know that they are fighting the cause of Satan. The cause of Islam is to protect the common man. The cause of Islam is to fight injustice. The cause of Islam is to promote unity, harmony and social justice. Is that what they are fighting for? Are they not destroying the common man? Are they not killing women? Are they not attacking children? They are totally working for Satan. Their cause is satanic cause.
“I am not in support of rehabilitating them but I am in support of deradicalising them. These people are radicals; they have radical thoughts. That is what took them out of the society in the first instance. They say they have ‘repented’ but what was the motive? Why did they repent? We have to know that first. Most of them repented because they didn’t have food but their radical idea is still there. They are abnormal human beings. They have radical thoughts. If you want to reintegrate them into the society, you have to deradicalise their thoughts so that they will become normal human beings. This is the first stage.
“Their victims are living with trauma. Some of them may be nursing the feeling of revenge. You have to also consider them; give them the kind of preparation that will remove that trauma. You need psychologists to talk to them, to fix their problem. Then if you bring those repentant criminals back, there will be no problem. But if you just say you rehabilitate them by giving them training then to have some works to do in the society and you bring them back but they still have that mentality, that bad ideology when their victims are living with that trauma, they will try to take revenge. So, there are lots of issues; it is not just about forgiving them, ” he said.