The umbrella body for Muslims in the country, National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NCSIA), has called on the federal government to avoid using Nigerian security apparatus for persecution. The body was reacting to reports that the Maiduguri International Airport, which was purportedly closed, was made available to a prominent politician.
In a press statement signed by the acting director of publicity, Muhammad Qasim, NCSIA said the same airport was suddenly shut against Muslim pilgrims, who had prepared to take their flight out of Maiduguri to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj, despite an earlier clearance to use the airport.
“Apart from denying the pilgrims the use of the facility, the Muslims were subjected to physical and psychological trauma as a result of their grilling by the Nigerian security apparatus; the pilgrims were subsequently forced to embark on agonising travel by road to Kano”, the statement said.
The NSCIA warned the federal government that it is perilous to use the security establishment to persecute Nigerians, and that a situation in which religious profiling is disguised as part of security measures, does not bode well for the country.
The council urged the federal government to exercise caution in the discriminatory use of military and aviation facilities in order to protect the political neutrality of the national establishment.
“It is our belief that the federal government has enough powers constitutionally guaranteed to tackle its perceived enemies rather than denying Nigerians the use of public facilities under the guise of fighting insecurity”, the statement said.
The NSCIA also implored the Nigerian military to protect and safeguard the credibility of the profession by not being partisan.