The Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, on Tuesday, appealed to the Nigerian Army to postpone the training of its recruits until after the Ramadan fast due to begin in April.
MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, who made the appeal in a statement in Lagos, said the postponement was to enable Muslim recruits to focus mentally and spiritually on the fast.
“The Nigerian Army is billed to commence the training of new recruits in two weeks, around April 12.
“Coincidentally, Muslims around the world may start their annual fasting in the month of Ramadan the next day, April 13.
“Fasting in the month of Ramadan is mandatory upon all adult Muslims as prescribed in the Glorious Qur’an.
“For this reason, Muslims take the exercise very serious and they will not wish to miss it for any reason, except illness, pregnancy or when on a long journey,’’ he said.
Mr Akintola noted that military training was an energy-sapping exercise which a person that is fasting may be unfit for.
“He is prone to dehydration. He may not be able to concentrate fully, may get tired easily and may actually come to harm due to the rigours of the training.
“Although, total fitness and full readiness for combat is the aim of any military training, the Nigerian Army may not be able to get the best out of Muslim recruits who are fasting.
“Therefore, the purpose may be defeated. Worse still, casualties may be recorded during the training,’’ he said.
He said the army should postpone the exercise in order to register a hitch-free and successful training.
“Our appeal should not be misconstrued as sheer sentiment. Neither are we unaware of the security challenges facing our dear nation which necessitates the recruitment of more men into the armed forces.
“Just as man is body, soul and spirit, so is a nation. The war against insurgency, the fight against kidnappers, bandits and all other criminals cannot be won on the battle field alone.
“We need spiritual warfare to weaken the insurgents and cause confusion within their rank and file. We need prayers to expose kidnappers.
“We need Allah’s divine intervention to soften the hearts of bandits and transform them into useful citizens,” he said.