The attention of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has been drawn to an ongoing advertisement on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
The advertisement sponsored by 'Initiative for Peaceful Election', apparently on behalf of a political party, contains a concocted documentary which embarrassingly maligns Islam and portrays Nigerian Muslims in bad light. Aired on a national television owned by the Federal government of Nigeria, the provocative advertisement is sending a very dangerous signal of a seemingly impending religious war to the populace.
Taken along with the current public utterances of some political and religious leaders in the country, the contents of the advertisement are suggestive of a dangerous hidden agenda.
Incidentally, unassailable facts show that over 80 percent of the victims of the 2011 post-election violence to which the advertisement in question refers were Muslims. These facts are available in both the reports and the White Papers of the Federal and Kaduna State governments' panels on the crisis.
Such insensitive public attack on Islam and Nigerian Muslims is capable of provoking some Muslims and thereby elicit a reaction in the like manner which may lead to further crisis. To avert any such crisis therefore, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs hereby calls on Nigerian Broadcasting Commission which statutorily regulates the broadcast activities in the country to be alert in its duty and ensure that a religious war does not ensue as a result of dereliction of duty on its part.
Islam is not a candidate contesting for an office in the coming general elections and it is never expected that any individual or group with the right frame of mind would want to drag this religion of Allah into politics. By condoning that provocative advertisement or any of its type the NBC and indeed the federal government may, inadvertently, be setting up a stage for avoidable religious crisis. A stitch in time saves nine.
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) seizes this opportunity to call on all Muslims and the generality of Nigerians to remain calm and avoid any negative reaction despite incessant provocations. It is our duty to ensure that Nigeria conducts peaceful, free, fair and credible elections in 2015.
God save Nigeria!
Prof Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, OFR,