No plan to conduct Jihad in Igboland, says Muslim leader


By Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri

As Muslims across the globe celebrate this year’s Eid el Fitri, the state chairman, Imo State Muslims Council, Prince Basheer Mohammed Sunny Uwakwe, has debunked widespread insinuations making the rounds that Muslims are spoiling for a jihad in the Southeast.

Uwakwe gave the clarification in Owerri Wednesday in his Eid message to the people of the state during prayers to the end of Ramadan in Owerri.

The Imo Muslim Council boss advised Igbo people not to misconstrue the increasing number of Muslims in the Southeast geopolitical zone as a threat to peace, security and safety of the indigenes and citizens of the zone

He condemned any attempt by group of individuals to hide under the cover of Islam to perpetrate heinous crimes such as kidnapping, terrorism, murder, banditry, rape, armed robbery, land grabbing and other acts of criminality.

According to him, Islam abhors crime in all its ramifications and anyone, individual or group committing crime in the name of Islam has ulterior motives and doing so at his own peril, not for Islam or Allah.

His words, “I urge Igbo leaders of thought in all spheres of human endeavour to rise to the occasion and resist those ethnic bigots using the name of Islam to attempt to cause mayhem in order to displace and dislocate our people in their indigenous homeland like they did in Northern Nigeria.”

“Resist them and refuse to be intimidated and displaced from your ancestral lands. They land grabbers who want to use terrorism to harass you out of the way. They are not working or fighting for Islam but for their tribe. Muslims are not planning any Jihad in the South East. We are enjoying a harmonious mutual relationship with our Christian brothers here”, he said.

Prince Uwakwe explained that Islam is a universal religion and not exclusively for any tribe or region and therefore enjoined Igbo people to embrace Islam rather than see it as the religion of northerners.

“I also want to use this opportunity to enlighten our people that the Imo Muslim Community is a mixture of all tribes in Nigeria and it is therefore erroneous to think or believe that Islam is exclusively a religion of northerners. I am an Igbo man and like many others, we are proud Muslims.

“As we celebrate this time, I preach peace, understanding, tolerance, love and effective collaboration to ensure continued maintenance and sustenance of peace and order in Imo State,” he added.