The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC has warned Nigerians against making hasty conclusions on the killers of Funke Olakunrin, daughter of Afenifere’s leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.
MURIC decried the profiling of Fulani herdsmen as perpetrators of the sad act, and also appealed to Chief Fasoranti to bear the loss with equanimity and treat it with the maturity expected of a leader and statesman.
The Muslim group in its statement made available to newsmen alleged that the Benin-Ore road is notorious for kidnapping and armed robbery, adding that Nigerians should focus on helping the police to stem the tide of criminality instead of blaming a particular tribe.
The statement reads;
“First and foremost, we condole with the leader of Afenifere whose daughter was killed yesterday. No Nigerian deserves such horrible death. We pray that Allah will give her husband, the husband’s family and the Fasoranti family the strength to bear the loss.
“We appeal to Chief Fasoranti to bear the loss with equanimity and to treat the matter with the maturity expected of a leader and statesman. We feel his pain. Our hearts and thoughts are with Chief Fasoranti and his family at this moment.
“It is necessary at this point to warn Nigerians against spreading fake news or jumping to conclusions. We must not allow those who have hidden agenda to destroy this country.
“Earlier reports had said that the killers were Fulani herdsmen. But the police who arrived at the scene early enough to rescue seven of the abducted victims said the identity could only be disclosed after the culprits have been apprehended.
“Benin-Ore road is notorious for kidnapping and armed robbery. Anybody can fall victim. Let us face the criminals and not any particular tribe. There are criminal elements in all tribes just as there are good citizens all over this country. There is nothing like a siege by one tribe on another because kidnapping and armed robbery are crimes happening everywhere.
“Instead of blaming any tribe, we should focus on helping the police to stem the tide of criminality. People are being kidnapped in Zamfara and Sokoto. People are disappearing in Enugu and Calabar. Lagos-Ibadan road and Ife-Ibadan road are not so safe. But most of the criminals caught in the South are Southerners and vice versa.
“Kidnappers target their own kinsmen indiscriminately. Igbo criminals kidnap Igbo businessmen. Yoruba hoodlums deal with Yoruba folks while Northern criminals target those who live around them. These criminals do not profile their victims on the basis of ethnic leaning.
“We appeal to Nigerians to eschew ethnic stigmatization. Fake news have rented the air. We urge all Nigerians to do their own findings before believing any story. We read the scriptures but fail to follow the teachings. The Qur’an says, ‘If a rumour-monger comes to you with any news, find out the truth so that you will not harm the innocent and start regretting it later’ (49:6). In the same vein, the Bible says, ‘Investigate all matters and hold onto that which is the truth.’ (I Thessalonians 5:21).
“We therefore appeal to all to wait for the outcome of police investigations. Nigerians are everywhere. We are a highly mobile specie and there is no single tribe that does not have its own kinsmen in other places. The way we treat people of other tribes among us is the way our kinsmen will be treated by our victims’ people.
“Besides, it has become glaring that disgruntled elements are out there spreading mischief. Several false alarms have been debunked in the past by the police and this may just be one of them. Let us think of the vulnerable ones among us, women and children who are usually the major victims of crises and wars before kindling the fire of war.
“If the cassu belli of the First World War (28th July 1914 to 11thNovember 1918) whose toll was 37 million was the assassination of a Serbian prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28thJune, 1914, we must know the full implications of using the killing of the daughter of one of our leaders to incite people. It is too dangerous.
“We are also aware that thieves who stole from public coffers are jittery. They are constantly and deliberately creating confusion. They have become professional authors of fake news and merchants of hate speech. Bad losers are their ready listeners and willing cohorts. We must not allow such people to destroy this great country.
“In conclusion, we commiserate with Chief Fasoranti and his family. We commend the police for its swift intervention and for saving seven kidnap victims near the scene of crime. We urge the security agencies to up the game. We appeal to all and sundry to be wary of fake news, to cooperate with the police and to remain calm and law abiding.”