The Executive Governor of Ondo State,
Governor’s Office, Akure.
Ondo State, Nigeria.
Greetings of Peace.
Ondo State: MPAC Calls For Actions To End Vile Attacks & Killings
MPAC is deeply disturbed by the alert we received from the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Ondo State area unit, on the vile attacks of a murderous group in Ondo State against a Muslim community of Owo town on Friday the 7th, October 2005 (5th day of the blessed month of Ramadan). The perpetrators of this mayhem, called the Palace Boys, took arms against the Muslim worshippers during an attempted forced procession through a Police-guided and designated worship area and indiscriminately attacked the worshipping Muslims, men, women and children. The MPAC is horrified and sickened by the gruesome account of this terrible incident which claimed lives, properties and caused injuries to many at a period that Muslims worldwide were engaged in fasting. We are equally disturbed by the air of official silence over such a grievous issue. Though this latest attack in Owo is particularly grotesque in nature, it however falls into a well known trend of unabated attacks on faith groups, especially the persecution of innocent Muslims in the Western region of Nigeria by the idol-worshippers which has been going on for many years. Sadly, the official silence in this case represents nothing less than a failure in Nigerian government’s zero-tolerance policy on faith-related violence which the new political dispensation should entrench. It is time for the Government and the media to isolate and expose the evil, murderous and perverted activities of the idol worshippers who surround themselves with miscreants and are bent on causing mayhem. These elements must be prevented from continuing to damage our society.
The fear, intimidation, and anxiety the Muslim community in the town of Owo feels is all too clear to see and to grant the perpetrators of the illustrated crimes, who allegedly acted under monarchical influence, sanctuary and immunity from the full effects of the laws of the land will be abhorrent. It is worrisome to ponder the monarchical influence upon the evil actions of the miscreants that were turned loose on the fasting and vulnerable Muslims. It is time for the Muslim organizations, the political leaders, the law enforcement and other community allies who believe in the integrity of our society, and the sanctity of human lives, to preserve human dignity and ensure there is no room for insensitive expressions and violent acts that might have detrimental effects on our society.
Sir, we strongly urge you to immediately set up an open investigatory committee that will seek the root causes of the crimes committed, identify the perpetrators and swiftly bring them to face the full wrath of the law. We implore you to use the instruments of your good office to reach out to the Muslim constituency of your state, as a matter of official policy, and protect them against any undesirable elements in the society that might want to hinder them in the peaceful practice of their faith. A quick justice for the victims of these crimes in Owo will send a clear message of your intolerance for anarchy, reassure all the citizens of the State of your government’s willingness to assure fairness and justice to all citizens irrespective of their background as well as strengthen our aspiration to build and live in a society where peace, equality, justice and harmony reign supreme.
Similarly, MPAC has called on all Muslim organizations in Nigeria to see themselves as stakeholders in finding just end and lasting solution to this perennial attacks and acts of unprovoked terrorism against the Muslim community by co-operating and working closely with all the parties to the solution. The government, law enforcement, faith communities and community leaders must openly act in a way that will show them as peace partners in this matter and they should stand shoulder to shoulder to confront the scourge.
MPAC prays for the victims of this vile attack, the dead and injured, and we commend the attitude and restraint shown by the Muslim community in Ondo State, the MSSN and indeed all Muslims in the wake of the incident; because to react to an incident such as this in an emotional, violent or reactionary way also contradicts Islam. Our faith enjoins us to show, as a community, the best attributes, in all the relationships we have and in all the situations we find ourselves. Our attributes need to be exhibited in a way that will be a beacon for the wider society.
MPAC hopes attention from the media on this enduring persecution will spark greater community efforts to curb all acts of flagrant violence directed against the wider Muslim community in Nigeria with as much vigor as acts of violence directed at other communities allegedly committed by Muslims have been reported and beamed through the multi-media.
The Deputy Governor
Secretary to the State Government
Commissioner, Ministry of Justice
The Speaker of the House of Assembly
Inspector General of Police
Ondo State Police Commissioner
National Media Houses