MPAC Condemns Brutal Murder of Professor Ahmed Mustapha Falaki

By Disu Kamor

(Lagos, 23/02/2015) The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) condemns the brutal murder of Professor Ahmed Mustapha Falaki of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria on Saturday February 14, 2015 and the silence of most of Nigeria's mainstream news media in failing to report on this alleged extra-judicial killing. The late Professor of Agronomy was on an official assignment when his car was snatched by gunmen at Fala village. He was reportedly at the scene of the crime for more than two hours frantically making calls to officials in ABU and his family before the Police came (he was said to have identified himself by presenting the Police with his ABU identity card and driver's licence), accused him and his associates of being members of the fleeing Boko Haram terror group and executed him at the scene. Before his cold-blooded murder, Professor Falaki was the substantive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research (IAR) of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and former Country Director of the SASAKAWA Project in Nigeria.

There is no justification for this type of violence against anyone under any circumstance. Even at times of war, distinction is made between combatants and innocent inhabitants who by no fault of theirs happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Aside the fact that the story did not get the extensive coverage it deserves by the media, it is the responsibility of the state to protect all of its citizens even under the current climate of heightened insecurity. In this and similar cases of suspected extra-judicial killing while combating terrorism, the pertinent question on the lips of most Nigerians is what has happened to our government's mandate to protect the lives of all Nigerians against extra-judicial killing?

The MPAC is among a number of national Muslim organisations voicing strong objection to the methodical extra-judicial murder of Muslims in the name of fighting terror. For a reason such as this, the MPAC calls on our government to openly condemn this latest killing, commit to bring the killers to swift justice, take practical steps to protect the essential rights and liberties of Muslims in particular and of all its citizens; and at the same time to supervise and carefully evaluate the powers given to, and wielded by, our security agencies.

We urge this for the good of all Nigerians and for Nigeria's image in the comity of nations. Indeed, the hopes of many, Muslim and non-Muslim, in a fair and secure Nigeria depends on our government's readiness to stand up to its constitutional duty of protecting all lives and cherishing them equally.

We salute the courage of our armed forces who have redoubled efforts to fight and defeat the dreaded scourge of Boko Haram and return peace and security to the North East. In order to expose the evil ideology of the Boko Haram extremists and defeat it at its very roots, it is even more essential that the law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies work in partnership with reputable Muslim organisations and the Muslim community as helpful partners and important stakeholders. Keeping our homeland safe and resilient is a shared responsibility and joint task. But the war on terror is a mission that is impossible to win by responding too readily and rapidly with brute force, even during the rage associated with repelling terrorist attacks. The government's response to insecurity must go beyond the approach of a single security posture. Such a posture is likely to be no more successful than the policies adopted by America in Iraq or Afghanistan, with devastating results and unexpected consequences. The killing of Professor Falaki is dangerously counter-productive to the war on terrorism and clearly not a case of working to win the hearts and minds of people who have suffered immeasurable damages at the hands of the Boko Haram extremist group.

MPAC offers deep condolence to the family and friends of Professor Ahmed Mustapha Falaki- our thoughts and prayers are with them. This is a horrific crime, and we hope the perpetrators will be brought to book with no delay.