The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to Northerners not to avenge the death of Northern traders and cattle killed in Abia State last week.
The Islamic organisation said the appeal is motivated by its desire for peace in Nigeria.
A statement by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday also commended Northerners for showing restraint by not retaliating against Southeasterners in the North.
Although MURIC in the statement said 15 northerners were killed in the attack, the state government had said eight persons were killed by gunmen at a new cattle market in Omuma-Uzo in the Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state.
The state Commissioner for Information, Chief Eze Chikamnayo, who confirmed the killing, said on February 15, around 11.35 pm, some yet-to-be-identified hoodlums attacked traders at the cattle market, killing eight persons.
The MURIC statement reads, “About fifteen (15) Northern traders and 150 cows belonging to the victims were killed in Abia State blast week. The killings occurred on Tuesday, 15th February, 2022 at the New Cattle Market in Omumauzor, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the state.
“Although we are aware that this is not the first time such dastardly act would occur in South Eastern Nigeria, we strongly appeal to Northerners not to contemplate retaliation. Our main reason for the appeal is the need for peace in the country at this point in time when we are approaching the end of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“MURIC strongly condemns the killings which occurred in Abia last week. Indeed, we condemn all killings and all criminal acts, whether perpetrated by herders, ethnic militia or separatists. Life is sacred and no homo sapien has the right to unlawfully take the life of another.
“We charge Northerners to remain patient and law-abiding. This attack in Abia in particular was intended to provoke the North into counter-killings which may spiral into another orgy of violence culminating in a civil war. The North should not even bite the bait, talk less of swallowing it. The cost is too high.
“However, MURIC commends Northerners generally for exercising patience in the face of extreme provocation. The North has held back its anger each time its people are killed, harassed and intimidated by Southerners. Our records show that this has occurred several times particularly in the last seven years without the North attempting to retaliate once. We salute both the Northern youths and elders and urge them to hold on and continue the display of maturity and reticence.
“We mourn all those who lost their lives as a result of killings around the country and we pray that Allah will give their families the fortitude to bear the losses. We also pray for enduring peace, political stability as well as economic prosperity in our dear country, Nigeria.”