*Demands sacking of bad eggs in security agencies
From Mustapha Saye, Kaduna
While admitting that census is a very important activity in any country, which provides governments with information and data necessary for development, the Council of Ulama of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government not to hold the scheduled 2023 exercise during the month of Ramadan.
The council made the appeal in a communique issued after its Annual General Meeting (AGM held at the National Headquarters of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI).
Reading the communiqué, the national secretary of the council, Prof. Muhammad S. Abubakar, said: “The council is fully in support of the exercise, but the timing is wrong as it will involve Ramadan period.
“The council therefore, calls for little adjustment so that Muslims can fully participate without any hindrance.”
The meeting was attended by Muslim scholars, Imams and academician across the states of the federation and Abuja.
It explained that the participants had exhaustive deliberations on a number of issues at the end of which they observed that: “The insecurity challenges pervading the country for over a decade now accounting for unquantifiable losses, human and material is a great concern to all Nigerians.
“The new policy of Naira re-designation is inherently not a bad idea.
“The council however condemns the refusal of the CBN to release adequate quantity of the new notes, a phenomenon that has thrown most Nigerians into unmitigated hardship.
“Nigeria’s general elections are commencing from 25th February 2023 in sha Allah. Eighteen political parties have combed every nook and cranny of the country canvassing for votes.
“It is a matter for great concern that the prices of petroleum products, especially the PMS and the diesel are becoming prohibitive.
“Nigerians are torn between subsidy removal, deregulation and refinery maintenance.”
The Ulama, in the communiqué, lamented that the conflict between farmers and herders and by extensions the recent attack on herders, which led to the death of about 40 persons and undisclosed number of cows at Rukubi village in Doma Local
Government Area of Nasarawa State was unacceptable.
“So far tens of thousands of human lives and animals worth trillions of Naira have been lost in the ensuing conflict between herders and farmers
“The unparallel courage and doggedness of His Excellency, Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State, in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency and its consequences, particularly the rehabilitation of the IDPs and empowering them, is highly commendable,” the communique said.
The council, therefore, called on the government to massively recruit security personnel, to embark on pre-emptive attacks within the bandits hide out, to adequately equip and train them, to improve on their welfare and intelligence gathering, and to rid the services of bad and rotten eggs among them.
They also called for the lifting of all deadlines imposed on currency retrieval and that the old and new currencies, adding that they should be allowed to run concurrently until the old currency is completely phased out.
“The council calls on the CBN to make the new currencies available in large quantity throughout the country and without any restrictions.
“For instance, there is one Senatorial zone with 12 local governments and only two have banks.
“In such cases, no amount of Naira swap can solve their problems,” they said.
On the general elections, the council equally called on INEC to remain an impartial umpire for the exercise to be free, fair and credible.
“The security agents are also called upon to selflessly superintend the conduct of all the elections and to contain any miscreant or trouble shooter whose conduct is inimical to the successful elections.
“We call on the contestants to be good winners and good losers.
“Those defeated should follow the appropriate legal channels to channel their grievances, while the winners should refrain from provocative and dishonorable behavior.
“Nigerians are also strongly urged to come out in their multitudes and exercise their franchise without succumbing to the highest bidder,” the Ulama said.
The council called for the urgent redress of fuel scarcity and the escalation of its prices.
“As a matter of urgency, constructed private refineries should be allowed to commence operation to save our foreign reserves,” they added.
The council backed the idea of ‘ranching’ (Ruga) which they said is a global best practice.
“No matter what is spent along that line is not worth losing a single life,” the communique pointed out.
They also called on the Federal Government to institute a high judicial panel of enquiry to dig out the perpetrators of Rukubi crime and get them punished accordingly.
The council urged Muslims to pray for the defeat of Boko Haram insurgents and the success of Governor Zulum in tackling their menace and capacity to settle all the IDPs.
They commiserated with their brothers and sisters in Turkey and Syria over the devastating earthquake that shattered the two countries.
“The council requests Muslims all over the world to extend the hand of brotherhood by conveying relief materials to the victims and praying for the departed souls,” it concluded.