Nigeria’s Muslims angry after Palestinian statehood vote

02 January 2015 Friday

A leading Islamic group in Nigeria has rebuked President Goodluck Jonathan after the latter reportedly caused the country to abstain from voting in favor of a motion seeking recognition for an independent Palestinian state at the UN Security Council earlier this week.

“We are constrained to liken Nigeria’s decision to pitch tent with Israel to President Jonathan’s consistent disgust for Islamic norms and values, his unveiled desire to marginalize Muslims in the scheme of things and his unhidden mien for the debilitation of Muslims both locally and internationally,” Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) said in a statement on Thursday night.

Nigeria raised eyebrows on Wednesday when it unexpectedly abstained from voting when the Palestinian statehood motion was presented before the 15-member UN Security Council.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said he had called Jonathan and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame to help frustrate the Palestinian bid. The motion needed at least nine votes to succeed but only eight nations voted in its favor.

Nigeria’s decision has drawn considerable criticism, largely locally, because the abstention meant foreign policy somersaults for a nation with a history of pro-Palestinian decisions. Jonathan’s ascension to power has undermined Nigeria-Palestinian relations, with him tilting more in favor of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

MURIC said Nigeria’s abstention from backing the Palestinian struggle reneges on its history of backing the global cause for justice and fairness as epitomized in its leading the anti-apartheid campaign in South Africa.

“MURIC is astounded by this conservative shift in Nigeria’s foreign policy. It is on record that Nigeria has always been in the forefront of Africa’s struggle for freedom, justice and equal rights,” the group said in its statement signed by its director Ishaq Akintola.

“Nigeria has always been known for its principled stand on international issues. This great African country confronted the apartheid regime of South Africa until it collapsed. We did the same in Rhodesia, Zimbabwe and Angola.

“The basis has always been the promotion of fundamental human rights on the international scene. On what basis has Nigeria supported Israel this time around?”

Nigerian presidential spokesman Reuben Abati has not responded to Anadolu Agency’s request for comment on the country’s decision to abstain and the accusations already leveled against Jonathan.

Nigeria’s Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) also accused the government of betraying the Nigerian people after abstaining from voting in favor of a motion seeking recognition for an independent Palestinian state at the UN Security Council earlier this week.

“By this development, we felt that Nigeria government had betrayed the people of Nigeria and created serious problems for the nation’s foreign policies,” NSCIA Secretary-General Ishaq Oloyeda said in a statement.

“It was indeed a slap on the faces of all the freedom fighters,” he added.

Nigeria unexpectedly abstained from voting when the Palestinian statehood motion was presented before the 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/todays-news/152068/nigerias-muslims-angry-after-palestinian-statehood-vote.

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