Wednesday, February 21, 2018

PROBE ZAMFARA KILLINGS



21st February, 2018

PRESS RELEASE:
PROBE ZAMFARA KILLINGS 
About 41 people were gunned down by hoodlums who attacked Birane villa in Zurmi Local Government Area, Zamfara State on Wednesday 14th February 2018.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this gruesome killing. It is dastardly, inhuman and barbaric.

Although we appreciate the order given to the Minister of Defence to relocate to Zamfara State, we believe this is not enough compared to the high level premium the presidency placed on the Benue killings of 1st January, 2018 when Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Benue to condole with the governor and people of the state. The people of Zamfara also deserve a presidential visit.

We are equally dissatisfied with the lukewarm attitude of other state governors to the latest massacre in Zamfara State. It is on record that apart from the Vice President, about three state governors also visited Benue State. The visiting governors also donated huge amounts of money to the state to assist families of the victims. We are not aware of such visits and the extension of hand of fellowship to Zamfara.

Neither has the National Assembly (NASS) been fair to the state if its firebrand reaction to the Benue killings is compared to the mild statement issued on the Zamfara killings. As usual, the Christian Association of Nigeria played the advocatus diaboli on Benue, but went on sabbatical on Benue. We are not a little amused.

But most blameworthy are the security agencies whose complicity may not be in doubt in view of Governor Yari’s claim that security agents ignored warnings issued 24 hours before the killings started. This is most preposterous, highly suspicious and categorically unacceptable. We may be seeing the fallout of premeditated lopsided appointments into the secret services which took place under the watch of ex-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

MURIC corroborates the claim made by Senator Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central) that Zamfara has witnessed more than twenty times the killings in Benue. For while Benue lost 73 in January this year (and we sympathise with the families of those victims), Zamfara killings had been popular as far back as 2012.

The state lost more than thirty people in attacks which took place in June and October 2012 in its North Western part. About 150 heavily armed gunmen, who came on 38 motorcycles, killed more than 32 people on June 17, 2013 in Kizara Village, Tsafe Local Government. Again around February 8, 2014, sixteen persons were mowed down in a similar attack on the North Western villages of Zamfara State.    

More than 70 people were butchered in the state in clashes between cattle rustlers and youth vigilante groups early in April 2014. Early in 2015, life was sniffed out of 26 people in Maitsaba and Birnin-Tsaba villages in the Zurmi local government area by gunmen in military uniforms who burned down 20 houses and destroyed essential grains harvested by the locals.


36 miners were killed in the Maru area on 9th November 2016. 31 people were reportedly killed in the state while 40 were kidnapped by Fulani herdsmen on 18th November, 2016. Another 120 people were allegedly massacred by herdsmen late in October 2017. Again on Friday, Nov 17, 2017, another attack left 23 dead and properties worth hundreds of millions were destroyed in the villages of Mallamawa and Tungar Kahau.


The preponderance of the Zamfara killings have been corroborated by David Dabi, the Sector Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), who confirmed that no fewer than 1,135 persons have been killed by cattle rustlers and armed bandits from 2011 to February 2017 in the state.  The figure has since shot up if we add those killed in October 2017 (120), November 2017 (23) and the latest massacre (41).


MURIC is worried that little attention is given to Zamfara in spite of all evidence pointing at higher figure of killings in the state. While we denounce killings everywhere, we assert that Zamfara blood is no less sacred and no less human than that of Benue.


We charge Northern communities, particularly non-governmental organizations, to evolve means of compiling data on attacks, deaths, injuries and cost of destroyed properties and to make them available at the shortest time possible. The ministries of information and special duties must also provide pictorial evidence, including video (clips) of the dead, injured, and burial of victims.

We invite the Federal Government to halt the emerging pattern of systematic reduction of the population of Northern Nigeria, the methodical debilitation of its economy and the creation of panic via false alarms in the South West by certain vested interests. In addition, we call on states which have outlawed open grazing to reconsider their stand.   

Finally, MURIC calls for a judicial commission of inquiry to look into circumstances leading to killings in Zamfara State. We appeal to cattle rearers and billionaire cattle farmers to reorientate herdsmen under them with a view to halting the phenomenon of cows destroying farms. Criminal herders who attack innocent farmers should be made to face the full wrath of the law while compensation should be paid to farmers who lost their harvests to invading herdsmen and their cows.

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


Monday, February 19, 2018

WE MOURN SHAYKH TURETA



20th February, 2018

PRESS RELEASE:
WE MOURN SHAYKH TURETA 

The death of Kaduna-based Shaykh Abubakar Tureta has been announced. He died yesterday at Garkuwa Hospital, Kaduna, at the age of 74. He had been battling with injuries he sustained in an accident three years ago.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply saddened by Shaykh Tureta’s death. We commiserate with the Governor and people of Kaduna State over this irreplaceable loss.

Shaykh Abubakar Tureta was an ocean of knowledge, a teacher of teachers, a powerful orator and a model nulli secundus. He was a friend, an admirer and a mentor of MURIC. We will definitely miss his warmth, his kindness and his disarming smile.

Our hearts are heavy with grief today but we take solace in the Islamic fatalistic philosophy of death. We condole with the family on the occasion of this huge loss. We urge his children, particularly the eldest son, Justice Salisu Abubakar Tureta, to continue from where the Shaykh stopped.  

Finally, we pray that Almighty Allah forgives our dear Shaykh. May divine mercy be showered on him from the day he entered the grave till the Day of Resurrection.

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

VITAL CORRUPTION LESSON FROM SOUTH AFRICA



19th February, 2018

PRESS RELEASE:
VITAL CORRUPTION LESSON FROM SOUTH AFRICA
Former South African president, Jacob Zuma, was forced out of office last week for corruption charges. The South African Supreme Court had in October 2017 upheld about 800 corruption charges against Zuma before his party, the African National Congress (ANC) ordered him to quit. Although Zuma defied the order ab initio, he resigned on the eve of a parliamentary vote of no confidence.

Zuma’s exit from power is very didactic. It reveals South Africa’s mature democratic practice where a president is booted out for being corrupt whereas in Nigeria, our own president is being pressurized to leave office for fighting corruption.   

Here lies the monumental paradox. The outside world must be laughing at Nigeria as they watch the unfolding drama. Two former heads of state have openly asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek a second term. The National Assembly (NASS) is also fighting tooth and nail to get rid of the president as many of its members are enmeshed in corruption cases.


But Buhari’s major selling point has been his incorruptibility. He has no house in London. None in Paris or any foreign country for that matter. Neither has any stolen fund been traced to him before and during his tenure. He has succeeded in blocking leakages through which our common patrimony has been siphoned into the private pockets of greedy politicians. Foreign countries endorse him as a leader of unassailable integrity and the naira is getting back its lost glory as a result of all these. Prices of goods are falling.


Diversification of the economy is turning other sectors into veritable sources of income. The railways are roaring back. Agriculture is once again taking its prime of place, electricity supply is witnessing unprecedented improvement while macadam roads are fast replacing the death traps which claimed hundreds of lives on a regular basis. Buhari’s social welfare scheme is already taking care of thousands of Nigerian youths.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) urges Nigerians to open their eyes very wide. Those who stole Nigeria’s money have become very powerful and they are using their stolen money to spread false propaganda to de-market Buhari. All the allegations of nepotism, religious bias and incompetence are tales from moonlight concocted by corrupt elements who want to bring back corruption.


For blocking their access to easy money, they wished Buhari dead. Based on their knowledge of the potency of the alleged gas poison conspiracy theory, they said Buhari was on life-support machine. They claimed he was dead and secretly buried. They made the claims with so much vehemence and total confidence that, with hindsight, we are constrained to believe that only those involved in the alleged attempt could have made such strong claims.


But when all that failed they are now trying to incite the populace against him. They claimed that herdsmen were killing travelers on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. They also claimed that the same herdsmen were slaughtering people like rams on Shagamu-Ore expressway. Now they are claiming that herdsmen have attacked workers in Ondo council office. But police debunked all these false alarms within hours.


We reaffirm our conviction that it was corruption that brought poverty and disease to the Nigerian nation. Corruption was responsible for the bad roads. Corruption robbed us of a reliable public health and transport system. Corruption brought death in the air via frequent plane crashes. Corruption wrecked the Nigerian Airways and the Nigerian Railway Corporation. Corruption is responsible for insecurity. Corruption caused mass unemployment. Corruption turned the education sector into a comatose environment. This enemy numero uno is now being tackled by the Buhari administration. Who wants all these evils to come back?


To cap the edifice, we testify that we have seen signs that corruption is receiving deadly blows from the Buhari administration and it may eventually die for our great country to survive if we give Buhari the chance to consolidate on the present gains. If it is true that South Africa expelled its corrupt president for the sake of South Africa, Nigeria must retain its incorruptible leader for the sake of Nigeria.


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


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOLS PROVOKING MUSLIMS




14th February, 2018

PRESS RELEASE:
NIGERIAN LAW SCHOOLS PROVOKING MUSLIMS
Although the dust is yet to settle on the call to bar hijab saga featuring Amasa Firdaus, the six Nigerian Law School campuses across the nation may not allow female Muslim students due for Bar Part II to wear their hijabs during the 2017/2018 First Term Law Dinner, which started yesterday, Wednesday, 13th February, 2018. The dinners will run till tomorrow, Thursday, 15th February, 2018. 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warns that any attempt to bar female Muslim law students who wish to use hijab from doing so is an infringement on Allah-given fundamental rights of those students as entrenched in Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Already, MURIC has received reports of a number of female Muslim law students at the Agbani, Enugu, Lagos and Abuja campuses who are allegedly being threatened with disciplinary measures should they use the Hijab at the Law Dinner.

We remind authorities of these Law School campuses of the provisions of Section 42 of the Nigerian Constitution which prohibits the placing of any citizen under any internally formulated restriction. We also call attention to Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (1991) which forbids officials from taking any action “prejudicial to the rights of any person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy”


We affirm clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that whatever emanates from any circular in any Nigerian institution (the Law Schools included) must comply with the dictates of the Nigerian Constitution which is the font et origo of all laws, rules, regulations, provisions and directives in this country.


MURIC warns that certain campuses of the Nigerian Law Schools are deliberately precipitating crisis by stereotyping female Muslim students on the issue of hijab. Those who seek to play God in the lives of Nigerian Muslims are religious fanatics bent on intimidating, oppressing and persecuting Muslims.


This is a dangerous situation capable of snowballing into a religious crisis whose consequences no one can predict. The Qur’an affirms that oppression is worse than killing (Qur’an 2:191). This verse underlines the gravity of the hijab phenomenon. Female Muslims are being persecuted in order to give undue advantage to non-Muslims. It is religious apartheid. It is unacceptable. We will rather be free men in our graves than live like puppets and second class citizens.

Those who make rules and regulations impossible to obey make it impossible not to disobey. Law Schools where anti-Muslim dressing codes are issued in a multi-religious Nigeria do not belong to decent and accommodating communities of men and women.


While MURIC advocates non-violence in its interventions (based on its avowed motto, ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’), Nigerian Law Schools should not wait until radical and anti-dialogue elements hijack the initiative and start disrupting Law School Dinners. They may even do more. The fact that these anti-Muslim antics are not attempted anywhere in the core North suggests tactical conspiracy against Nigerian Muslims by authorities of those Law Schools where the profiling and persecution of Muslims have become the stock-in-trade.


Finally, we call on the Federal Government and the National Assembly (particularly the House of Representatives where the Amasa Firdaus case is still being investigated) to turn its attention to what is going on in the Law School Dinners across the country. Muslims are not being violent now but they are being persecuted. Those who fail to listen to the dialogue group may have cause to regret it sooner or later.    


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