Islamic cleric tasks Nigerians on, unity, oneness
By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
A prominent Islamic cleric, Mustapha Abd-Allah Berende, has charged Nigerians to see themselves as one irrespective of ethnic, religious and political differences, urging them to come together under the banner of God and be one another’s keeper as enjoined by God.
Berende made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, at the launch of a 90-page book written by Hajia Zeenah Ibraheem, the wife of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Shaikh El Zakzaky, entitled, ‘A Brief History of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria’, organised by the Kwara state chapter of the Islamic Movement.
He said: “My call is that we should unite as human beings, we should unite as people who believe in oneness of God, notwithstanding our religious, ethnic or political differences.
“Nigerians, especially Muslims and Christians, should always endeavour to coexist peacefully, realising that no meaningful progress can take place in an atmosphere of bitterness, rancour and acrimony. Though we cannot think or reason alike, we should endeavour to embrace peace and show empathy and love to one another.
“If Christians believe in God, Muslims believe in God, let’s try to be one, and I believe we should be one. I, as a Muslim, stand for everybody and l respect every human being and I stand for God. Whatever is the interest of God is what I stand for, we have no reason whatsoever to be enemies.”
The Islamic cleric, who advocated a complete change of system in Nigeria, opined that the system, as presently is, breeds corruption and encourages heroes worshiping, adding that it is the system that is faulty and not the people that are running it.
He said: “People are calling for an alternative system, there are also other people calling for sovereign national conference, different people are thinking of reforming differently.”
On the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Shaikh El Zakzaky, the Islamic cleric said: “Initially, I observed him from afar before getting closer to him, and I think he is genuinely ready to get Nigeria reformed in his own way. He is not violent, he never asked his people to go and procure weapons, even knife, they must not buy weapons, but they can say their mind.
“All the attacks on him right in his own place by security agents, he never fought back, he didn’t campaign for revenge or retaliation, he left everything for God. I see him as a peaceful individual and a kind of sacrificial lamb for the youths of today, that this is what I lived for and die for if I am killed.”
The book reviewer, Dr. Usman Oladipo Akanbi, of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ilorin, said the 90-page book was published in 2022 by the Islamic human rights commission, adding that the book largely detailed the travails of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, as well as that of his family and followers alike.
“It sufficiently chronicled their collective struggles against the high-handedness of supposedly oppressive regimes in Nigeria”, he said
“The words in this heart-wrenching book are a call for justice in all forms.”