World Bulletin / News Desk
Abubakar Ibn Garbai Elkanemi, the traditional ruler of Nigeria's northern Borno State, has urged people in the predominantly Muslim northeastern region to observe a three-day fast "for divine intervention" to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency.
"I am appealing to all residents of the state to observe a three-day fast to seek Allah's mercy toward ending the crisis facing us," Ibn Garbai, the Shehu of Borno, said in a Monday statement.
"I believe we should continue to seek Allah's help toward restoring peace in the state," he added.
He urged residents of Borno – the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency – to begin fasting on Tuesday.
He also called for "special prayers [to] be held in mosques and churches to seek God's help and urged residents to remain prayerful even after the fasting."
The Shehu of Borno, the most influential monarch in the entire northeast region, regretted that the Boko Haram menace had led to such massive destruction of lives and property in the region.
The Shehu of Borno is a traditional ruler across Nigeria, a country that gives no constitutional role to the traditional institutions often headed by monarchs.
Nevertheless, monarchs like Shehu wield considerable influence among their subjects, as they are seen as custodians of local custom.
The Shehu – like the Sultan of Sokoto, who doubles as leader of Nigeria's Muslim community – is also a religious leader.
The "Elkanemi" title traces its lineage to the 18th century ruler of the Kanem-Borno Empire, which extended to different parts of West Africa before the Europeans' divvied up the continent at the 1884 Berlin Conference.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan frequently calls on citizens to pray for "divine intervention" for protection from the scourge of terrorism.
Boko Haram, a hitherto peaceful organization that had preached against corruption, suddenly turned violent in 2009 following the murder of group leader Mohamed Yusuf while in police custody.
In the years since, the group has been blamed for thousands of terrorist acts, including attacks on churches and security posts across Nigeria's northern region, especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
Although it claims to want an Islamist government in the region, Nigerian Muslims – most of whom reject Boko Haram as un-Islamic – have also been targeted by the militant group.Last Mod: 11 Mart 2014, 10:03