Thursday, November 16, 2017

SHELVE PLAN TO DEMOLISH BANIRE’S MOTHER’S BUILDING



17th November, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
SHELVE PLAN TO DEMOLISH BANIRE’S MOTHER’S BUILDING

The Lagos State Government (LASG) yesterday threatened to demolish a building owned by 90 year old Alhaja Sarat Banire. The building, a two bedroom bungalow with a boys’ quarter situated at 24A, Remi Fani Kayode Street, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, had been acquired on lease by Dr. Muiz Banire and his siblings from the Federal Government to serve as residence for their aged mother.

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) appeals to LASG to shelve the planned demolition of the building in order to avoid causing a permanent damage to a strained political relationship.

 

We are disturbed that a property belonging to the mother of the National Legal Adviser of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), is being threatened with demolition. What observers see here is that an intraparty squabble in Lagos State is being allowed to escalate to a dangerous level. We call on party leaders at national level to quickly intervene.   

 

An arrangement which recognizes the immense contributions and sacrifices of a foremost leader of the APC in the South West must be put in place. This leader must be given the respect which he deserves while party leaders find compromise between his interests and the party’s rules bearing in mind that it is difficult to maintain a tabula rasa in politics. It is politics and politicians must not fail to resolve the misunderstanding.


Finally, we appeal to LASG to spare the building as a mark of respect for a senior citizen, 90 year old mother of Dr. Muiz Banire. We call on party leaders at the national level to quickly intervene.



Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Thursday, November 9, 2017

ALLEGATION OF ISLAMISATION: CAN IS MANIFESTING SYMPTOMS OF ORUBEBEMANTIS



10th November, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
ALLEGATION OF ISLAMISATION:
CAN IS MANIFESTING SYMPTOMS OF ORUBEBEMANTIS

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) three days ago asked the National Assembly to compile a list of all organizations that Nigeria belongs to and all the treaties signed with a view to dropping the religious ones. Analysts see CAN’s demand as targeting international Islamic organizations.       

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is not a little amused by CAN’s latest demands. CAN is hallucinating. It is laughable, untenable, kindergarten and quixotic. This is reminiscent of the eponymous hero of Don Quixote de la mancha. CAN is manifesting symptoms of orubebemantis.

 

Orubebemantis is a new virus which compels the victim to hallucinate endlessly, forces him to see only a particular vision earlier set for himself but which fails to materialise and prevents him from recognizing or accepting the reality on ground.

 

CAN wants Northern states to issue certificates of occupancy (C of Os) to churches in the North whereas South East and South South governments demolish mosques in their states, refuse to grant Muslims C of Os and infringe constantly on Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslim minorities in their midst. For instance, a tertiary institution in the South East has demolished the only mosque on the campus and refused to allow the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) to operate.


MURIC warns the National Assembly (NASS) to ignore CAN’s call for its intervention. An anti-Muslim National Assembly will shoot itself in the foot sooner than later. Nonetheless, should the NASS show any interest in CAN’s demand, it should beam its floodlight on all Western oriented international organizations like the United Nations (UN) as they have always been used as tools in the hands of Western crusaders while their religious bias is always hidden.  

MURIC therefore accepts CAN’s demands with the proviso that:

1.  Nigeria should withdraw from all Western oriented international organizations like the UN and WHO;
2.  National Assembly should study Nigerian work-free days with a view to dropping the religious ones like Sunday and Saturday (Saturday is also used by the Seventh Day Adventists) and
3.  Nigeria should also drop all Christian landmarks like the cross as sign in hospitals, academic gowns in tertiary institutions, wigs and gowns used by lawyers and judges, etc.


The leaders of CAN have consistently displayed lack of readiness to coexist with Nigerian Muslims. They want the country only for themselves alone. They have refused to listen to the voice of reason. The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, himself a pastor, told CAN that the allegation of Islamisation is an illusion. CAN refused to listen. Femi Falana asked CAN to Christianise Nigeria instead of alleging Islamisation everyday but CAN will not listen.


Who says Nigeria is not Christianised? What system have we been forced to use since the advent of the colonial master to date? What is the religion of our colonial master whose system we have adopted hook, line and sinker? Why are Muslims being forced to write examinations during Jumat service on Fridays? Why are Muslims at the mercy of their employers every Friday? Is it not because Friday is not a work-free day like Sunday? Muslims have been tolerating all these for so long. Let us start working on Sundays and Fridays for a change and see if CAN will find it funny.  


In conclusion, MURIC calls for a Nigeria that does not lean towards any religion in any aspect of its life. Enough of this hypocrisy. Those who Christianised Nigeria are the ones shouting the loudest about Islamisation. It is time for CAN to have a taste of its own pudding.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2018 BUDGET: MURIC SLAMS FG




8th November, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
2018 BUDGET: MURIC SLAMS FG

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday presented an N8.6 trillion budget to the National Assembly (NASS). A major highlight is the percentage allocated to the education sector which is a paltry 7%.      

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns the meager 7% allocated to education. It is naïve, perversive and retrogressive.

 

Like its predecessors, the current Federal Government (FG) has simply demonstrated that it is yet to come to terms with the monstrous challenges facing the education sector. With more than 70% of candidates who applied for admission into tertiary institutions unable to gain admission in the 2017/18 admission exercise, Nigeria should expect an army of idle youths roaming the streets. The security implications are serious and this is what the nation faces year after year. It simply means Nigeria needs more universities, more polytechnics and more colleges of education. Can this tight-fisted allocation take care of the problem?

 

FG recently admitted that 75million Nigerians are illiterate. The woeful performance of secondary school leavers in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) is didactic enough concerning the tragedy which we are likely to face in the next ten years unless something is done urgently. Nigeria is most likely to produce half-baked graduates in the next ten years at the best or, worse still, educated illiterates.

 

For example, the May/June WAEC examination results have been revealing mass failure in core subjects like English and mathematics for some years now. Only 38.81% passed in 2012, 36.57% passed in 2013, 31.28% of the candidates passed in 2014 while 39% made it in 2015. Although more than 50% passed in 2016, this should be treated as an isolated case.

 

This mass failure is a reflection of the failure of successive governments at both federal and state levels to invest properly in education. Whereas the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommends the allocation of 26% of total budget to education, Nigerian governments have been consistently underfunding the sector and strangulating it almost to the point of death.

 

No government of this country has deemed it fit to raise the allocation to 26% as recommended. Although the Second National Development Plan (1970 – 74) raised the allocation to 13.5%, it fell to 7.5% in the Third National Development Plan (1975 – 1980). Although it rose again to 17.3% in the Fourth National Development Plan (1981 – 85), it has not been higher than 13.5% since 1990 except in 1997 when education was given 17.5%.  


Although it is higher than the 6% allocated to it in the previous budget (2017), MURIC is constrained to reject the infinitesimally small percentage (7%) allocated to education in the 2018 budget because it still cannot scratch the surface, talk less of reaching deep down to make the necessary impact where it matters.


How can we attain technological breakthrough without qualitative education? Pupils in primary schools sit on bare floor. Secondary school students learn under the tree. Roofs are leaking and students are soaked whenever it rains. Was this how our leaders were educated? Are their children in Nigerian schools?


It is a national embarrassment that 57 years after independence, only one Nigerian university is ranked among the world’s top 800 tertiary institutions and that university came 601st! The rating was done by the authoritative Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2015/16. University of Cape Town, South Africa, came 120th while Makerere University, Uganda, took number 401 beating Nigeria to it by 200 points.


As we round up, MURIC is asking FG to tell us who did this to Nigeria? Who is responsible for the colossal tragedy and monumental calamity in the education sector? We charge FG to do a quick, sincere and radical inward search. An emergency must be declared in the education sector. Government officials must be banned from sending their children abroad for education and this should include anyone voted into any position in the country.   


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
President,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)



Monday, November 6, 2017

BAYELSA GOVT MUST TELL US COST OF ECUMENICAL CENTER



6th November, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
BAYELSA GOVT MUST TELL US COST OF ECUMENICAL CENTER

An ecumenical centre or church which is capable of accommodating ten thousand Christian worshippers at a time built by the Bayelsa state government was officially commissioned two days ago. The elaborate commissioning exercise was transmitted live for hours by AIT and TVC television stations and officiated by prominent Nigerian pastors.

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is worried by the rate at which acrobatic religiousity is beclouding the ability of Nigerian politicians to think strategically and invest in the future of coming generations.

 

The low economic standing of Bayelsa does not call for such Father Christmas misadventure. With $5.5 billion Gross Domestic Product (GDP), $2,493 GDP per capita and a GDP growth rate of only 5.3%, the government of Bayelsa has little or nothing to boast of economically. Besides, Bayelsa is dwarfed standing at number 26 on the GDP list out of the 36 states of the federation. What is there for Bayelsa to celebrate when Bayelsa only manages to get $4,337 in GDP when Lagos has $33,679 and Rivers, Bayelsa’s neighbour, has $21,073, five times more than Bayelsa!  

 

Governor Henry Dickson owes Nigerians an explanation. He must tell us the cost of the ecumenical centre built by his government. Not only that, he must tell Nigerians the rationale for spending the tax payers’ money on the construction of a church when neither Nigeria nor Bayeslsa State has been declared a Christian enclave.

 

It should be noted that Bayelsa is among the states that are owing workers several months salary. Bayelsa is allegedly owing local government workers between ten and sixteen months salary. It is also allegedly owing teachers seven and a half months. What has Governor Dickson spent Bayelsa’s share of the Paris Club refund on?

 

What could have informed the governor’s decision to build such a gargantuan structure as a worship centre since he cannot pay salaries? Should people be worshipping and praise-singing on empty stomachs? Can a state which has failed to pay workers still go ahead to declare such surplus? Is it morally justifiable? Is there any scarcity of churches in Bayelsa? Is an ecumenical centre Bayelsa’s priority?

 

The last time we checked, the Nigerian society was long on places of worship but short on morality, transparency, probity and accountability. All we can exhibit is gymnastic religiousity without the commensurate high level piety and discipline. We spend the most productive part of our days on our knees in the church and on our mats in the mosque. Nigerians have mistaken stupidity for piety. We produce nothing, yet we brandish the tag ‘giant of Africa’. The rest of the world is laughing at us.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, we are not opposing prayers. We need prayers for individuals and for our country. But work and prayer must go pari passu. It should not be noisy congregations and lengthy, endless services all the time. It should be ora et labora. Yes, we must pray and work. It is the work of our hand that God Almighty will bless. Following the Weberian school of thought, religion can also help in shaping morality if we are moderate about it, but not religiousity as we now have in Nigeria.

 

We are so emotionally inclined that we no longer recognize truth even when it is brought close under our noses. The elites are the worst. Cries of ‘Islamisation agenda’ would have rented the air if a Muslim governor had built a mosque with state money the way Henry Dickson has built a church with tax payers’ money. Nigeria’s elitist secularists have always argued that religion is a private affair. Why are they quiet now? Can’t we face reality for once in this country?

 

What has Nigeria gained from the proliferation of churches and mosques except the idolization of society’s demons? What is there to celebrate when 30 states generate N516 billion naira but spent N1.4 trillion on wages? How can any state governor spend billions on the erection of a church when salaries are not being paid and workers are suffering? Is that part of industrialization or is Dickson simply dishing out Karl Marx opium in order to create a general amnesia in Bayelsa? Dickson is on the path of hero-worshipping. He is lining the pockets of his spiritual godfathers at the expense of the Bayelsa hoi polloi. Who did this to Nigeria?

 

According to the speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, the House received a bill for the management of the edifice and passed it into law within 24 hours. This is a violation of the ethos of democracy. Where is due process in this? When did Bayelsa House turn into a mere rubber stamp? We expect Nigerian elites to shout blue murder but they appear to have gone on sabbatical. Nobody is here to remind us that Nigeria is a ‘secular’ state. The objectivity of Nigerian elites is seasonal. Their thermometer only works when they see ‘Islamisation’ or its mirage.

 

In conclusion, we demand to know the cost of the Bayelsa ecumenical centre which has just been built with public funds. We thought the age of prodigal governors was over with the current war on corruption but this just cannot fit into the new orientation. It is as reckless as it is flambouyant and as irrational as it is insensitive. Bayelsa government must speak up.

 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
President,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)