National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, has described the recent murder of 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah Abdallah as “one of the most unfortunate occurrences on our recent history.”
Reflecting upon the murder through his spokesperson Sheikh Armiyawo Shaibu, he said it would take a long gradual healing of the emotional anguish inflicted on the deceased’s parents, immediate family and neighbourhood.
The cleric has expressed “his deepest sympathies and condolences to the parents and immediate family particularly, and the entire neighborhood in general in this trying moment.”
The anguish evoked by the loss, he said, “can only be assuaged by the belief and consolation that Ishmael Mensah Abdallah, is listed among martyrs who are living and rejoicing in the blissful and peaceful presence of the Almighty Allah.”
The Chief Imam implored those affected by the ‘horrendous crime’ to endure what he described as a ‘heavy test’ with equanimity, adding “it is only the Almighty God who is capable of consoling and soothing their pain in the long run.”
He added his voice to the public outrage and condemnations that have filled the media space since the incident occurred, adding that beyond the outrage “the law enforcement agencies should expedite investigations and subject all accomplices to the heinous crime to the full rigours of the law without fear or favour.”
It is important, he said, that custodians of our cultural values, religion and moral consciousness take a look at what he said: “is the speedy erosion of our values and spirit of communitarianism which have held our societies together since time immemorial.”
It is worrying that the youth of the contemporary era could descend to the level of killing a close associate for ritual purposes for, as he said, pecuniary reasons.
This, he observed, “portends a great danger to our internally built social protection and mutual support systems. Our collective failure to address this threat both in the long and short terms will surely leave us with no guarantee for genuine safety, security, harmony and peace.”
Decent minded people and men and women of reason and pure conscience, he pleaded, “should rise up and speak up to salvage the integrity of our common society. A dispassionate and non-political discussion is needed to determine where to locate the gap deficiencies, inadequacies and imbalances of our systems that account for these social and moral challenges of our time.”
There is the need to relentlessly embark upon a programme of social and cultural re-orientation and re-awakening aimed at bringing back our collective dignity as a people, he said.
Areas worthy of tackling, he pointed out, include “family life education, the role of religion as a moral agent, trusted justice system, responsible journalism and respect for human right, effective law enforcement system and sound economic policies aimed at addressing joblessness among the youth.”