WHO KILLED SHEIKH JA’AFAR?

In the early morning hours of Friday April 13, 2007, the people of Kano woke up to the shocking and nerve-chilling news of the assassination of renowned Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ja’afar Mahmoud Adam, who was gruesomely murdered by some heartless trigger-happy criminals, while he was prostrate right before God, leading a congregation in the Dawn Prayer. It is exactly one year now since that tragic incident, but still, neither the Police nor the State Security Service have produced an iota of clue or fact as to who was or were behind the murder of the Islamic scholar. The dastardly act which occurred just a day to Nigeria’s General Elections, of a scholar who was ever vocal and a hard line critic of Nigerian politics, left many people contemplating as to whether it was yet another political killing, shrouded in mystery.

More so, the late Sheikh was said to have delivered a very controversial and radical speech late night before his assassination, promising to further blow the whistle and to blow open the garbage can of scandals of some political figures on the following day. But before he could fulfill his vow, he was sheepishly killed by some hired assassins while praying with people in his mosque, as it might have been planned earlier. Sheikh Ja’afar was an erudite and versatile commentator of current affairs, which he analysed through the Islamic point of view and through his Qur’anic commentary (Tafsir), obviously to enlighten the Muslim community, with a specific focus on their religious teachings and ways of life. That was how relevant and enlightened the late Sheikh tried to make his teachings. The bottom line is that his speeches and commentaries became ever lively and timely, which also continued to sell like hot cake, even after he passed away.

Man of many parts, with deep dedication to defend the course of justice by telling the truth in its naked reality, late Sheikh Ja’afar was known to have criticized many people, social and religious groups, politicians and government’s top-notch, bureaucrats, traditionalists and the likes. While some people viewed this characteristic of late Ja’afar as normal and a distinguishing factor which made him a complete scholar who preaches the truth no matter whose ox was gored, yet many people saw him as a controversial fellow and crowd puuller who displayed radicalism just for a posturing and only for the sake of it. Until he was finally blessed with martyrdom in the noble course of preaching the truth, late Ja’afar proved himself to all, as a true believer in what he preached.

As a result of his vast unbiased and un-selective preaching of the truth, people thought that Sheikh Ja’afar has stepped on many toes and had offended many people and many members and followers of many institutions and groups, as such, people kept contemplating and guessing which group, organization, institution, persons or individuals might have killed him in vengeance. Even the Muslims sects and groups whom late Sheikh Ja’afar was known to have challenged and confronted while he was alive, shared part of the speculation and blame for his murder. However the most disturbing thing and the most mind-boggling thing is how the matter is just allowed to pass and to fizzle out indifferently, without finding or revelation of the results of the findings from official investigation of the assassination of the famous Kano scholar of international repute.

While the state and the Federal Government tend to show lackluster attitude towards unearthing killers of Sheikh Ja’afar, the Council of Ahlussunah Scholars have met on several occasions questioning the care-free and lackadaisical manner with which Sheikh Ja’afar’s murder was handled by the authorities. The latest of such public outcry by the scholars was in recent months when it was about nine months after the assassination. The scholars who addressed the press at Gadon-Kaya mosque said they sensed something foul play over the so-called investigation of the murder of Sheikh Ja’afar. They concluded that although the authorities could deem it wise to cover-up facts and hesitate to disclose the killers, it was even more unwise and dangerous to bottle-up information and leave people in dark about the real killers of late Malam Ja’afar. They warned that they would never relent on their efforts to pursue the blood right of the late scholar, no matter how long and no matter what it would cost. The scholars who spoke through the Council’s chairman, Sheikh Adam Koki, also questioned the human rights posture of Nigeria’s democracy, for such a dastardly homicide to have been left in abeyance.

The greatest challenge before the authorities now is to endeavour to come up with their findings on the sinister move that led to killing of Sheikh Ja’afar, as well as to let the law take its course on the real culprits and their mercenaries. On their part, Islamic scholars have great lesson to emulate from the lifestyle of Sheikh Ja’afar, who, just as any religious scholar should copy the ways of the Prophets, preached the truth, lived by the truth and died for the truth. It should also be kept at the back of the mind that to either expose or not to expose killers of Sheikh Ja’afar, does not exclude them from definite death, unless they prove more powerful than the formidable Angel of Death. Nor would they escape punishment hereafter, until they prove more powerful than the Angels of Hell and Chastisement.

Isa Muhammad Inuwa is a Journalist in Kano, Nigeria. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , P.O. Box 4534, Kano.