The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Wednesday led some prominent Muslims in the country to meet President Goodluck Jonathan to protest alleged marginalisation of the Muslim community.
At a closed-door meeting at the Presidential Villa, where Vice President Namadi Sambo and a few top government officials were present, the Muslims under the aegis of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs specifically faulted the composition of the national conference which they claimed was skewed against them.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents, the Secretary-General of NSCIA, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, expressed happiness of the group over President Jonathan’s assurance that his administration was committed to being fair to all Nigerians irrespective of their religion or tribe.
He said Jonathan asked members of the delegation to convey his message to all Muslims in the country that even if there are issues that are not as they ought to be, they are not done deliberately.
Oloyede said while they believed the President, they still felt it is only proper for them to protest to Jonathan.
He said, “What we came to discuss with the President is to consult with Mr. President and we are happy we consulted with him, and he has given us reasons to re-assure the Muslims that Muslims in Nigeria are not deliberately marginalised and he has asked us to convey the feelings of the government, the genuineness of the government, the fairness of the government to the entire populace.
“He said that if there are issues that are not as they ought to be, they were not definitely deliberate and we want to believe that Mr. President told us his mind but we also want to believe that it is proper to protest, it is also proper to assume that a leader will always be just even if there are mistakes thereafter.
“We just felt that we must convey the feelings of the Muslims in Nigeria to Mr. President and he has given us his words to re-assure the Muslims community that he is a genuine and committed Christian who will not be unjust to others.”
Asked the specifics of their complains to President Jonathan, Oloyede mentioned the composition of the ongoing national conference.
“May be because you are not a Muslim, if you are a Muslim, you will know the feelings of the Muslims presently about the composition of the National Conference,” he concluded.
The Sultan however did not answer the questions posed to him.
Those who accompanied Abubakar included the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn-Garbai; a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Lawal Uwais; and a former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed among others.