Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Garbai
The Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Ibn Garbai, Thursday lamented that the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, had killed 13 district heads, two council members and many other Muslim adherents in his kingdom.
He said this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to see Boko Haram as a common enemy and not an attempt by Muslims to Islamise or divide the country.
The monarch, who is a member of the Inter Religous Council of Nigeria, noted that: “Boko Haram is not a deliberate attempt by Muslims to attack Christians; if it is, they would not have attacked me.
“If it is a question of targeting only Christians, 13 of my district heads, two council members and many other Muslims would not have been killed.
“The Emirs of Fika and Kano are Muslims, yet they were attacked by the sect, who also killed many other Muslims leaders.”
He said some Christians worked in his office and some were traditional title holders in his palace, adding that he held regular meetings with the Christian community in the state.
“It is, therefore, clear that from top to bottom, there is nobody who is not affected. Churches, mosques, parents and children were affected, so it is not a question of the group targeting only a particular group of Nigerians.
Garbai said Nigerians had fought in the past to keep the country united, urging them to ensure that anything that could violate the country’s constitution was not allowed. He also said Nigerians should try and settle their differences through dialogue and not emphasising those things that would divide them.
The monarch also said the Inter Religious Council of Nigeria, which was made up of equal number of Muslims and Christians, was set up by the government to advise it on how to move the country forward.
“We discuss issues that will promote peace, including the Boko Haram crisis, and advise the government to take necessary action to prevent the crisis from spreading to other parts of the country,” he said.
He said with the federal government had taken a decisive step with the declaration of a state of emergency in the state.
“Things are now going on smoothly. Nobody is complaining of harassment by soldiers, police or Joint Task Force (JTF),” he said.