Arewa Youths Beg Army To Forgive Shiite Members

By Jerry Emmanson, Abuja
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Following the incident that occurred between members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, the Arewa Youth Leaders' Forum has appealed to the military authorities to pardon and release detained members of the group as it apologised to the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai over the incident of December 2015 when his life came under threat as the sect members obstructed his convoy in Kaduna state.

The Forum’s decision to appeal on behalf of the detained sect members was reached at a roundtable dialogue held in Abuja on Saturday, February 5, 2016.

Isah Ocheja and Jonah Ali, President and General Secretary, in a statement jointly issued on the outcome of the gathering said “we resolved at our roundtable in Abuja on Saturday, February 5, 2016 to apologize to the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Government and beg for pardon for detained members of the (Shiite) sect to be released with a promise not to engage in further acts of terrorism.”

The statement disclosed that the group plans to reach out to the National Assembly while consultations would be embarked upon with traditional rulers on why no individual or group of persons should allow their children to be indoctrinated and radicalised to commit any act of terrorism again.

It however kicked against the solidarity extended to the region and the sect by the Iranian authority as they demanded that Iran’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Saeed Koozechi must desist from making utterances that cast the population of northern Nigeria that has been known to be peace loving over the years as terrorists and promoters of extreme sectarian views.

“We passed a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari for the recent successes on the war against terrorism. Nigerians are happy that despite the situation of helplessness that he met on ground he has been able to raise the bar. Nevertheless, we appeal to Mr President that any religious sect whose activities are not in tandem with the laws of the land should be proscribed and declared persona non grata” The Forum’s leadership said.

Reacting to videos of Shiite leaders calling for retaliation against officials, the Forum noted that some disgruntled elements are still threatening violence against innocent members of the state, which it described as saddening, unacceptable and condemnable in view of the lasting peace initiatives set in motion by the government of Kaduna state and the entire northern region to nip the unfortunate incident to the bud.

“Whoever is in the video that is in circulation should apologize to Nigerians, our security agencies and all men of goodwill who had hitherto supported and sympathized with them before now.

“The video has proven that there is more to the Shiite’s grand scheming to unleashes mayhem on the state and that its followers’ to past security incidents over the years must be thoroughly investigated.” The statement urged.