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Nigerian Governor Calls for Muslims to Shun Christians and Jews

With ethnic and religious tensions in Northern Nigeria on the increase (for example, see my blog entry here), the Islamist state governor of Kano has apparently used Ramadan as an excuse to pour a bit of petrol on the flames:

Former Military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar, (rtd), has accused Kano State Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, of attempting to inflame religious sensibilities and called on Nigerians to remain focused on the task of building a united Nigeria.

In a statement yesterday, Umar referred to an advertorial published in a national daily by the Kano State Government wherein a Ramadan message allegedly quoted a portion of the Holy Quran “in which God was said to have admonished believers not to take Jews and Christians for friends, etc.”

…He said the said Ramadan message by the governor was in bad faith, especially in the light of the recent religious disturbances in Jigawa State. “In the prevailing circumstances, people of goodwill expect the Kano State government to take measures that will help avert similar misunderstanding and strife among its hetherto-religious population,” he said.

Umar also slammed Shekarau over his opposition to the polio vaccine:

The decision of the Kano State to oppose inoculation of children against polio on the pretext that the vaccines could prevent Muslim women from bearing children, for example, was as misguided as it was tragic.

This is a subject which I covered in the very early days of this blog, and which I have come back to periodically since then. Polio had been on course for eradication by the end of 2004, but Shekarau’s bizarre opposition to the vaccine dashed those hopes and helped the disease travel across the developing world. This has to be one of the worst Islamist excesses on record, although mammon may also have had a part in the tragedy – Nigerian president Obasanjo claims that one of those who campaigned against the vaccine had recently failed to win a government contract importing them. Sheakarau enjoyed one ally in Hussain Abdulkareem of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, but it should be noted that a committee of Nigerian Muslim scientists had comprehensively declared the vaccine to be safe. Shekarau rejected the committee’s findings on the grounds that it did not include input from Christian scientists.

Eventually – and far too late – Shekarau arranged for the vaccine to be imported from Indonesia, on the grounds that a Muslim-sourced vaccine would be safer. And just last month, Shekarau opined on the subject once again:

Kano State governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has restated determination to immunisation saying it is illogical for any government to politicise it.

…Shekarau, who said his administration is putting a lot of premium on immunization in view of its importance to human survival and development pointed out that the health sector is an utmost priority of his administration.

The hypocrisy could be amusing if it weren’t for the thought of hundreds of needlessly crippled children, in Nigeria and many other countries.

Meanwhile, the governor is considering re-election in 2007; the Nigerian Daily Sun recently ran an article full of fulsome (in the correct meaning of the word) praise:

…There is no doubt that the second coming of Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, an ordained apostle of morality and purity, is better felt in the quarters of good men of God and women of virtues. Religious leaders such as the Council of Ulamas, a majority of the respected Sheikhs in the state as well as most of the good Muslims are routing for him to come back and continue his highly impressive efforts to rid the state of rooted ills and anti Islamic conducts, the sort that was entrenched as the trend in the recent past…

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