Sefiu Ajape

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) advocates have been cautioned by Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) not to introduce foreign behavior to Nigeria, citing the country’s rich cultural heritage and well-established family lifestyle.

JNI under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, and its President–General, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, gave the warning a day after the Vatican under the spiritual leadership of Pope Francis approved blessings for same-sex couples in a landmark ruling..

According to Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the umbrella organization for the Muslim community in Nigeria, same-sex marriage has been criminalized and should stay that way because Nigerians are well-cultured and have a well-established family life pattern.

This was said in a press release on Monday by JNI, which is led by the Sultan of Sokoto and its President-General, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.

Following a week of intense pressure, the group’s 10-point resolution at the conclusion of its Annual Central Council Meeting on Monday, December 11, 2023, at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre in Minna, Niger State, reminded the federal and state governments that, in 2013, the eighth senate in Nigeria rejected same-sex marriage.

Every right-thinking person should be concerned about the current actions and promotion of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) in Nigeria, according to JNI.

The JNI also bemoaned the lack of strong leadership and political will in the nation’s government, arguing that it has created a serious threat to Nigeria’s social, economic, and infrastructure development. The letter was signed by the organization’s Secretary-General, Prof. Khalid Abubakar, and the Local Organizing Committee, Aliyu Makama.

The resolutions partly read: “A thorough and transparent investigation be conducted on the military attack on Tudun-Biri, Kaduna State, where more than 120 innocent Muslims were shelled – who authorized the attack, what intelligence was used, how could the attack be repeated thirty minutes after the first one? The JNI and other Muslim organizations must be on top of the matter and keep the ummah informed; while necessary sanctions against the culprits must be satisfactorily seen to be applied by the federal government, just as we reiterate our earlier call for due compensation (Diyyah) to all the deceased families and the government should take-up complete medicals of all the injured victims. We nonetheless call on all Muslims to exercise restraint and patience as we await the outcome of investigations on the matter;

“That the JNI must lead other Muslim organizations and Ulama’ in reviving ethos of Islam among the youths, as well as inculcating in them the pristine values of the religion via a sustained reorientation of priorities;

“With the reforms in the financial industry and the coming of Islamic Banking, Zakah (Due Alms), Waqf (Endowment) and Sadaqah (charity) should be easier to collect and administer now, as there is a need for the JNI to convene a National Zakah (Due Alms), Waqf (Endowment) and Sadaqah (Charity) Summit with Islamic bankers, Muslim organizations and Ulama’ in charting ways of leveraging the current trends in the industry;

“The JNI and Muslim leadership must be decisive in ensuring the unity of the ummah; for example, a strategy must be deployed to eliminate the ‘Yan Hakika phenomenon, as these miscreants have been disowned by the Sufi Tariqas they claim to be part of;

“Still on insecurity, majority of the bandits and insurgents terrorizing the Muslim community are themselves professed Muslims; the JNI and the country’s Muslim leadership must not shirk their responsibility in advising the security agencies, as well as reaching out to some of the more malleable miscreants to bring an end to this sorry state of affairs, as many non-state actors are filling the vacuum of this role;

“The lopsided nature of the recruitment process into the federal security agencies detrimental to and biased against otherwise qualified Muslim candidates requires a thorough audit to be undertaken by the JNI and other Islamic organizations, in addition to putting pressure on Muslim national assembly members and Muslim governors to redress the imbalance;

“The federal and state governments in Nigeria should note that way back in 2013, erstwhile Senate President David Mark, in the 8th Senate, kicked against same-sex marriage in Nigeria amidst pressure.

“We, therefore, call on all government agencies to note that same-sex marriage has been criminalized and remains so because we have an established pattern of family life and we are a well-cultured people;

“The federal government of Nigeria is implored to use all diplomatic avenues in providing leeway to intending Nigerian pilgrims through NAHCON, while the Ulama’ and all hajj operation stakeholders in Nigeria are called upon to provide the necessary enlightenment and guidance to the intending 2024 pilgrims;

“Islamic leadership is recognized as the solution to the nation’s myriad problems; the JNI must lead other Muslim organizations in being proactive in ensuring that our traditional and religious leaders are given roles in the Nigerian constitution, especially in matters of security, education, health, social and economic wellbeing;

“The offer of financial contribution to the leaders of the Ummah, as well as the JNI by some Muslim organizations, is a welcome and happy development – this should be pursued diligently, while the Emirates should also diversify their sources of support other than the governments, as philanthropists abound within and across all Muslim communities.”

The meeting was presided over by His Eminence the Sultan and was attended by the Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Muhammad Idris Malagi, the Chairman/CEO, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), Alhaji Jalal Ahmad Arabi, the Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, the Secretary to the Niger State Government; their Highnesses, the Etsu Nupe and JNI Vice President-General (VPG), Niger State, Alhaji (Dr.) Yahaya Abubakar, CFR; the Emir of Hadejia and JNI VPG Jigawa State, Alhaji (Dr.) Adamu Abubakar Maje, CON;

Others were the Emir of Kazaure, Alhaji (Dr.) Najib Hussaini Adamu, CON; the Emir of Muri and JNI VPG Taraba State, Alhaji Abbas Njidda Tafida; (traffic the Emir of Kontagora, Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammad Barau Mu’azu II, the Emir of Wase and JNI VPG Plateau State, Alhaji Muhammad Sambo Haruna; the Emir of Agaie, Alhaji Yusuf Nuhu: the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Farouk Bahago, CON; Emir of Kagara, Alhaji Ahmed Garba Attahiru, II, as well as many other Traditional rulers and their representatives; the National Chairman of Izala, Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, the representative of Sheikh Dahiru Usman Bauchi, the representative of Sheikh Sani Yahaya Jingir and many other Muslim scholars and clerics, members of the academia and Muslim organizations from across the country.