Uproar as Sultan of Sokoto invites ”wanted controversial Islamic preacher’ to Nigeria
There has been an uproar on social media after the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, invited Zakir Naik, a controversial Islamic preacher wanted by several nations for terrorism, violence and money laundering, to Nigeria.
The Sultan invited him to tour and hold lectures in three Nigerian cities- Sokoto, Abuja, and Ilorin, for four days, alongside his son, Dr. Zakir Naik.
Even though Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of India’s Minof External Affairs (MEA), in March 2023, said the government was working with Oman authorities to extradite Mr Naik, Nigeria opened its borders to him.
Upon arrival in Nigeria Monday night, the cleric had posted pictures of him being received by personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and used inciting captions to describe them as Muslim bodies of government.
According to ThisDay, after his meeting with the Sultan on Tuesday he posted a picture describing the Sultan as the Head of State of Nigeria.
The inciting posts has caused an uproar on social media, as many condemned the caption.
Beyond the uproar, in another concern about the identity of Naik, who is a fugitive wanted by the Indian counterterrorism agency for inciting religious “disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred” in his teachings.
He first came to the Indian government radar in 2016 when one of the suspects behind the attack in Dhaka, which resulted in the deaths of 22 people, said the preacher’s teachings spurred him to kill people.
The Indian government also declared him wanted for money laundering and inciting hate and India’s counter-terrorism agency filed a complaint against him for promoting religious intolerance and “other unlawful activities.
Prior to that, in 2006, Naik declared support for Osama bin Laden “as far as he is terrorising America”. He also said that “every Muslim should be a terrorist”.
In June 2010, he was banned from entering Britain by the then UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, for “numerous comments” and “unacceptable behaviour”.
Although he fled to Malaysia from his native India, in 2019, the country barred him from speaking at public gatherings over inciting racial comments against Malaysians of Indian and Northern descent.