The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described the denial by Rev. Joseph Hayab, the Chairman of Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), that Fulanis were killed in Kajuru local government of Kaduna State as condescending, shocking and inhuman.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai had led journalists and security men to the sites of the killings on Saturday 16th February, 2019 during which he expressed regrets at the the massacre.
MURIC said in a statement Sunday night that “We are shocked to our marrows that CAN chairman in Kaduna State had the temerity to deny this horrendous and criminal act. We are talking about 66 full-blooded human beings hacked down in their sleep, slaughtered and burnt. Survivors identified the attackers as Christian militia and here is the CAN chairman falsifying the barbaric massacre as if it never happened.
“We are really disappointed with the caliber of people posing as religious leaders. Peace will continue to elude us in this country as long as we refuse to admit the fact that there are criminal elements in our midst. Lasting peace can only be found if the law-abiding faithfuls in all creed collaborate, isolate criminal elements among them and hand them over to law enforcement agencies.
“22 women and 12 children were among those killed in cold blood. Their souls cry out for justice. MURIC has incontrovertible evidence of the massacre. This criminal act is being watered down for now in order to avoid escalation at this critical period of the 2019 general elections. But we have no doubt that both the perpetrators and those who provide cover for them will continue to live with the heavy burden on their criminal consciences until nemesis catches up with them.
“It is most shameful that a religious leader of this status will lie openly that the killing of 66 human beings never happened. The Nigerian Army in Kaduna confirmed the massacre as well as the number. Yet Rev. Hayab keeps denying. Religious leaders are respected for their righteousness but how righteous is a lying cleric?
“We have no doubt that the conscience of the chairman of Kaduna state branch of CAN will forever nag him. He will never be free for denying the truth. The Bible says, ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:32). Hayab will remain a slave of his nagging conscience until he confesses his sin.
The statement which was signed by the founder and director of the Islamic human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, also lamented the lukewarm attitude of the media to the massacre.
“The silence of the Nigerian press over this massacre is equally nauseating. It is most unprofessional. The Nigerian press has always been known to go agog when Christians are the victims but they will look the other way when Muslims are the victims. Can we say such a group seeks enduring peace?
“MURIC calls on the international community to rise to the occasion. In particular, we call the attention of foreign observers of this 2019 general elections to this gruesome act. This massacre cannot be isolated from the 2019 elections because it was perpetrated on its eve. Christian militiamen have committed a shocking atrocity under cover of darkness.
“The whole world should condemn this bestiality. This mass murder of innocent and vulnerable people was committed under the nose of foreign observers. It should form part of their concern. They should condemn it because we know what they would have done had Christians been the victims. We demand their reaction to it as they are still in Nigeria.
“We invite all men of conscience to speak up. The man dies in him who fails to condemn the merciless massacre of women and children in their sleep. The Nigerian civil society is yet to speak up 48 hours after the brutal killings. What does this mean?
“Are Fulanis not human beings? Is it because they are Muslims? Are Muslims not entitled to fundamental human rights? This is the tragedy of our society both locally and internationally. Hypocrisy is the order of the day. Everybody in the so-called civilized world and civil society is calling for peace but nobody is calling for justice. They have forgotten that justice is the soul of peace. Nobody can deny one and still enjoy the other.
“They accuse Muslims of terrorism but they are the worst terrorists. They forget that terrorism is mere smoke. Injustice, oppression, downpression, persecution and provocation are the real fire which cause the smoke. No good firefighter will turn his hose towards the smoke. Nay, his target must be the tongues of flame. We therefore assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that those who accuse Muslims of terrorism got it wrong. They are treating the symptom while they leave the disease to spread.
“On a final note, we appeal to Muslims throughout Nigeria, particularly in Kaduna State, to remain calm and law-abiding. The aim of the attackers is to provoke retaliation so as to disrupt the electoral process. We therefore charge Muslim faithfuls to refrain from any violent reaction. On the other hand, we demand justice. We call on the security agencies to fish out the killers without delay. It is the failure of officials to apprehend culprits which often compel the aggrieved to resort to self-help. Justice delayed is justice denied”.