Friday, January 31, 2014
1st February, 2014
PROPOSED NATIONAL CONFERENCE:
FG HAS HIDDEN AGENDA
The Federal Government (FG) yesterday unveiled modalities for the proposed National Conference. Highlights of the modalities include the duration of the conference which is three months, the number of the delegates which is 492 out of which President Jonathan will pick 114.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) smells a rat in the conference blueprint revealed by the FG. In the first instance, FG has arrogated too much power to itself by planning to pick 114 delegates out of 492. President Jonathan alone wants to pick almost 25% of the total number of delegates. The race is finished before it starts.
We call on Nigerians to open their eyes. If it is true that he who pays the piper dictates the tune, delegates picked by the FG will have no other option than to articulate government’s position and seek to retain the status quo. The change for which Nigerians are yearning cannot materialize in that kind of environment.
Once bitten twice shy. Nigerians must not allow themselves to be cheated twice. Today was born from the wombs of yesterday. Only yesterday, this same government postulated an astounding mathematical theory which posited that 16 was higher than 19. This happened during the election of the chairman of Nigerian governors. FG recognized Jonah Jang of Plateau State who scored 16 votes. To date, government has not deemed it fit to correct this anomaly.
If the margin between 16 and 19 is not wide enough to arouse our utmost disgust, what of the difference between 5 and 27? Only five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly allegedly got Aso Rock’s blessing to unseat the speaker who had the support of 27 members. These are nauseating instances which conscious Nigerians will continue to use as barometers to measure the clime in Jonathan’s government.
MURIC puts it to FG that it has a hidden agenda. The outcome of a conference heavily tilted in favour of government cannot be the will of the people but an imposition of President Jonathan’s will, contrary to Rousseau’s General Will, the will of the Nigerian people.
We also wish to reiterate our fear of a booby trap in FG’s plan for the National Conference. We speculate that the main preoccupation of FG’s 114 delegates will be to create as much confusion as possible in order to cause delay in taking decisions. This will necessitate request for extension of time and eventually culminate in clamour for postponement of the 2015 general election which the presidency will ‘reluctantly’ accede to. It is all an agenda for extension of tenure.
The time frame is too tight. FG’s plan as revealed to the unsuspecting Nigerian public lacks forward-looking strategic positioning. It is too close to the period of next general election. We have to choose one of the two: National Conference or general election? Whereas the 2015 general election is statutory, the proposed National Conference can be rescheduled without infringing upon the constitution. The proposed National Conference should therefore take place after the 2015 general election.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC
Monday, January 27, 2014
28th January, 2014
MURIC CONDEMNS CIVIL DEFENCE BRUTALISATION OF JOURNALIST IN IBADAN
Men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCD) last Friday, 24th January, 2014, brutally assaulted Mr. Waheed Adebayo, Oyo State Correspondent of Leadership Newspapers, at the installation of a new Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Diocese.
An officer of the NSCD who was identified as Mr. Anjorin particularly singled out Mr. Adebayo. He beat him up and tore his cloth. His colleagues also joined him in dragging the reporter. The officials continued to rough-handle Mr. Adebayo despite efforts by other journalists to identify him.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condemn this outrageous display of impunity and overzealousness. By this barbaric action, NSCD men have exposed themselves as coming from the same stuff that most uniformed men are made in Nigeria.
With the exception of a few God-fearing and disciplined officers, most soldiers, police and para-military men become intoxicated with power the moment they don the uniform. Their actions are openly hostile and surprisingly anti-people, the same people they are paid to protect and the same people who pay the tax which is used to pay their salaries. This is one of the reasons why citizens are afraid to come forward to give useful information that may help in identifying criminals.
As the Fourth Estate of the Realm, journalists are held in high esteem in civilized countries and both governments and organizers of events should see them as partners in progress because activities of governments and public events will remain unknown without the support of journalists. Napoleon was reported as saying that he would rather face a thousand swords than the wrath of a single journalist. The NSCD officials who brutalized Mr. Adebayo have only manifested their ignorance and improper training. Knowledgeable people treat journalists with respect.
Neither democracy nor the rule of law can survive without a free press. The principles of equal rights, freedom and justice will go to the dogs without a virile press. Journalists are the voice of the voiceless and the strength of the jamaheer (masses) and the downtrodden. By implication therefore, any attack on journalists is an attack on the jamaheer. Who will speak for the poor and oppressed if journalists are intimidated?
The barbaric attack on Mr. Adebayo has once again revealed the dangers to which journalists are exposed on a daily basis. MURIC appeals to the courageous members of this noble profession to remain focused in spite of this brutal attack. we call for strong disciplinary action against the NSCD officials for behaving like thugs in uniform and for dragging the name of the organization in the mud.
We charge the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to rise to the occasion. NUJ must regard this as ‘attack on one, attack on all’. Why should a journalist be treated like a thief caught in the act? Many journalists have suffered this kind of humiliation in the past and the uniformed culprits have often gone scot free due to the inability to identify them. But this is a different case. We have names and pictures of suspects. NUJ must insist on their arrest and prosecution. Those behind the public humiliation of Mr. Adebayo must be taught a lesson as a deterrent for other overzealous uniformed men.
Finally, we remind security agencies and all men in uniform that civility is sine qua non in the fight against crime. Criminals cannot be fought single-handedly by security agents alone. They need the cooperation of the general public. To get this vital cooperation, they need to be friendly and civil in the discharge of their duties. This is how to win the confidence of the citizenry.
To assure the general public that it is a well-trained security agency, NSCD must punish those behind the brutal assault on Mr. Adebayo and issue a public apology. There must be no attempt to sweep this matter under the carpet.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Thursday, January 16, 2014
16th January, 2014
SIGNING OF ANTI-GAY BILL:
MURIC COMMENDS JONATHAN
President Goodluck Jonathan this week signed the anti-gay bill into law. The law seeks to jail offenders for 14 years. Nigeria’s anti-gay law has so far drawn the ire of the United States and the European Union. The United Kingdom in particular expressed disappointment in President Jonathan while Banki Moon, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, posited that Nigeria’s anti-gay law would fuel violence.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) affirms that President Jonathan transmitted on the same wave-length with the rest of Nigerians by signing the anti-gay bill into law.
Pervasive sexual life is absolutely unIslamic and unAfrican and this explains why other African countries have stood their ground on the matter. It is also on record that both Christian and Muslim clerics and their leaders have vehemently expressed opposition to gay marriage.
We commend the Nigerian president for resisting pressure from Western powers and for boldly identifying with the cultural and religious yearning and aspiration of Nigerians.
In the same vein, we condemn this meddling in the affairs of other nations. We also denounce attempts by Western powers to impose their Bohemian practices on poor countries. Most reprehensible is the attempt by foreign powers to intimidate and coerce Nigeria into absorbing their despicable culture by threatening to withhold foreign aids if the anti-gay bill was signed into law.
UN Secretary General’s fear that Nigeria’s anti-gay law would generate violence is misplaced. Banki Moon should not incite an infinitesimally small proportion of misguided Nigerians against the large majority of law-abiding citizens.
We assert that it is the other way round as the practice of homosexualism and lesbianism is most capable of instigating widespread hatred and turning society upside down. By openly condemning Nigeria’s anti-gay law, Banki Moon has confirmed fears expressed in several quarters that the UN is no more than a tool in the hands of a few powerful capitalist nations.
Finally, MURIC warns Western countries to respect the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to desist from interfering in its internal affairs.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Matters are advised to activate the checks and balances mechanisms on the activities and pronouncements of the leaders of Western countries. Nigeria should not be turned into a mere satellite of neo-imperialists.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
MUSLIM RIGHTS CONCERN (MURIC)
Motto: Dialogue, Not Violence
Teledawah Plaza, Zone ‘E’, GRA, Iba Estate, Iba, P.O. Box 10211, LASU Post Office, HO 102 101, Ojo, Lagos State. Tel. 08182119714
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org BLOG: muslimrightsmuric.blogspot.com Website: www.muric.net 10th January, 2014
Our office has been inundated with calls for action on the demand of Lagos Christians for a Christian governor come 2015. We are not perturbed. We believe that Christians have the right to make demands. This is a democracy. There must be freedom of speech. But we believe in merit. Lagosians must open their eyes and vote for a trustworthy person, somebody with an intimidating pedigree, someone who can perform, someone who will fulfill the yearnings and aspirations of the good people of Lagos State. Religion cannot fill that vacuum. It is all sentiment. Sheer sentiment. What the people need is a performer, a man of dignity, a humanist, an upholder of the rule of law and a champion of the principles of freedom, fairplay, equal rights and justice: somebody who will treat Christians, Muslims and traditionalists as well as people of all tribes equally.
We have all seen how Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola performed both during his first and second terms (which is still ongoing). Oshodi was a haven of criminals which successive Lagos regimes found a hard nut to crack. Even the military governments in Lagos failed to do it. But Fashola injected a heavy dose of sanity in the hoodlums who were making life uncomfortable for people in that area. Take the macadamized Lekki Toll Gate as another example. It is marvelous, so marvelous that first visitors think they are somewhere in Boston, M. A. Another example is the ongoing train project which is expected to run from Badagry through Okokomaiko to Orile. We can go on and on. We are happy that a Muslim Governor is delivering on his campaign promises.
Yet Fashola has his major minus in the way and manner he relates with Muslims in the state. Fashola must hear this. Fashola must hear what the Muslims are saying about him. The Muslims say no governor has ever hurt Muslims the way he has done. He destroyed all the mosques in the government’s secretariat at Alausa despite protests by Muslims. The mosque he promised to build in order to placate the Muslims is yet to see the light of day. The Muslims say it was Fashola who introduced the anti-Islam policy of compulsory post mortem for corpses. Fashola it was whose commissioner for education told Muslims to go and build their own schools if they want their children to use hijab (though government later retracted this statement). They complain that Fashola hardly attend Islamic functions physically since assuming office seven years ago, unlike Christian events.
Perhaps it is high time Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola realized that he is no longer popular among mainstream Islamdom in Lagos. This has nothing to do with his political party but with his attitude to Muslims generally. Let him not be deceived by the obeisance being paid him by Muslim leaders in the state. We make bold to say there is a disconnect between the leadership and the grassroot Muslims in Lagos State.
An attempt to register the grievances of Lagos State Muslims in a civilized and non-violent manner failed woefully on Sunday 5th January, 2014 during a programme tagged ‘MUSLIMS PRAY’ held at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS). Some Muslim leaders present at the occasion ‘persuaded’ speakers not to mention any of the grievances. This was rather unfortunate and a great disservice to the governor. Even the two masters of ceremony at the TBS event chased us all over the podium to stop us from mentioning grievances of Lagos Muslims. The truth of the matter is that although some Muslim leaders have good rapport with the governor, they have not been telling him the truth. Instead, they have deceived him into believing that they can control the jama’ah so the governor should not worry about the rest of us who are paraded before him as ‘terrorists’, ‘fundamentalists’ and ‘extremists’.
MURIC is neither a terrorist organization nor an extremist group. Our motto is ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’ and we have always stood by this avowed philosophy. We also believe in peaceful coexistence. We see our Christian neighbours as fellow homo sapiens whose rights must be respected at all times. But we have a fault, namely, we always demand our legitimate rights albeit using constitutional means.
This is not intended to disparage Muslim leaders in the state. They are doing their best to ensure that there is peace in Lagos State and we appreciate and support this. But they are too eager to keep the governor’s ears from hearing that Muslims in the state have grievances. This is not in the best interest of the governor who, ceteris paribus, should know the exact situation in his domain at all times. We are all aware that Barrack Obama was once accused of being a secret Muslim due to his softness towards Arab nations. In the same vein, some Muslims are accusing the governor of being a secret Christian. While we know that Fashola is no more a Christian than Obama is a Muslim, care must be taken that the governor does not totally alienate Muslims in the state. It is for this reason that we now appeal through this medium, since we know no other means of reaching His Excellency.
Fashola must hear this: Ekiti State by circular No. EK/SSG/01/375 of 12th December, 2013 has permitted female Muslim pupils in public schools to use hijab. Governor Kayode Fayemi is a Christian and Muslims constitute only about 40% of the state’s population. Lagos has a Muslim governor. Lagos has a preponderant Muslim population. Yet the Muslim governor has not respected the Allah-given and fundamental rights of his fellow Muslims in the state in spite of several petitions. So we have a dilemma on our hands. Oshun State was the first to take this giant step into freedom. Muslim pupils in public schools now enjoy the comfort of hijab. Osun State also declared 1st Muharram as a public holiday and heaven did not fall.
Without being confrontational, we appeal to Governor Fashola to consider the demands of Muslims as demand for parity. Yes, we want parity. What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander. The governor is the father of all in the state. The Christians enjoy the luxury of using Christian school uniform. It is indubitable that the uniform imposed on Nigerians by Christian colonial masters is a Christian uniform and that is why Christians feel comfortable with it whereas Muslims want hijab. This demand is legitimate and constitutional. It should be granted if indeed we are practicing true democracy in this country. Democracy is about participation and inclusiveness. But Muslims are being excluded from the scheme of things in Lagos.
The governor recognizes Muslim leaders. Yes. But of what benefit is that individual recognition to the Muslim Ummah? We want institutional recognition, i.e. recognition for Islam and its culture which must translate into approval of the demands of Muslims in the state. That is what will benefit all Muslims in the state, not just the Muslim leaders. The governor will not want to be accused of adopting the tortuous policy of divide et impera.
Lest we be misunderstood, we support continued recognition for Christianity and the approval of demands of Christians (if any). What we are frowning against is a situation where Christians tell government not to approve the demands of Muslims. Christians already have all what they need. The Christian colonial masters bequeathed a legacy of Christian culture to Nigeria. This is why Christians hardly make demands. But justice and fairness demands that Nigerian governments should have reviewed the situation after independence to accommodate all religions. That would have made Nigeria a truly independent nation.
In essence we are saying that Christians can still ask for whatever they want, but they have no moral right, for whatever reason, to tell government not to listen to the Muslims. That will tantamount to acting the dog in the manger. It is all about the dividends of democracy. We Muslims want hijab as part of the spiritual dividend. We want government to stop the burning of corpses and put an end to autopsy on Muslim corpses. The governor’s promise to build a befitting mosque to placate Muslims for the mosques destroyed by him also needs to be fulfilled.
We have therefore come to Governor Fashola as children come to their father for their own share. If other children who have received their own portion should object to our demand, it behoves the father to caution them and let them realize that they had collected their own share. Our father should give us our own. It is our Allah-given and fundamental right and our right is our right. Only thus can justice be upheld. Only thus can social harmony be guaranteed. Fashola should set the Muslims free. Let the Muslims go.
Finally, MURIC appeals to Governor Fashola to speedily address the hijab issue. What else should the Muslims do? Instead of taking the law into their hands, the Muslims of Lagos State (not the leaders, mind you) went to the courts to seek redress over the hijab imbroglio. Knowing fully well that it was going to lose the case, the government of Lagos State requested for out of court settlement and we are obliging but Lagos has since been procrastinating and the Muslim leaders in the state are conniving. It is very sad. All these notwithstanding, Muslims in the state will remain law abiding. It is our hope that Fashola will hearken to our tiding soonest otherwise we will meet again in court, to seek parity in equity, and our hands shall be clean. Eko o ni baje o.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern/MURIC)
Sunday, January 12, 2014
13th January, 2014
POLICE SHOOTING OF SENATOR MAGNUS:
NASS MUST SUMMON IG NOW
Men of the Nigerian Police on Sunday morning fired rubber bullets and teargas at Senator Magnus Abe, the Senator representing Rivers South East zone and Chief Tony Okocha, the Chief of Staff to Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. The shooting incident occurred at Sunday’s political rally organized by the Save Rivers Movement at the College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt. The flying bullets allegedly killed five children.
Latest reports reaching the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) indicate that Senator Abe has been flown abroad for treatment. He was reportedly shot twice in the chest.
MURIC considers this invasion and subsequent shooting of unarmed civilians by the police as a cowardly act and the height of bestiality. We strongly condemn the shooting. It is another manifestation of police tyranny. The police is expected to be neutral arbiters. It is alarming to find them engaging in unprovoked attack on one party while providing cover for another.
This ugly incident is a danger signpost for 2015 general elections. It lends credence to the fear of cynics who doubt the ability of the Jonathan administration to organize a free, fair and peaceful election.
The man in the street is not safe if this can happen to high profile citizens like a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the chief of staff of a state governor. It is therefore unacceptable. The political situation in Rivers State has degenerated to the Hobbesian state as Gestapo style becomes the choice of the powers at the center.
The National Assembly (NASS) must act on this. A serving senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) has been felled by a trigger-happy policeman. This is a challenge for the NASS and this is the time the latter must bare its fangs. NASS must prove to Nigerians that it is not a toothless bulldog.
To start with, NASS must summon the Inspector General of Police and demand, among other things, the immediate suspension of CP Mbu (the Rivers State Commissioner of Police), immediate identification, arrest and trial of the trigger-happy cop or cops and a thorough investigation into the shooting affair.
MURIC contends that this shooting has dragged democracy in the mud. We charge civil society to rise in defence of freedom, justice and the rule of law. Whereas this illegal invasion is designed to cow the opposition, we urge the latter to engage high gear in its campaign to emancipate Nigerians from the clutches of desperate tyrants.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
9th January, 2014
WARNING TO POLITICIANS: DON’T DEMONISE ISLAM
The attention of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has been drawn to a statement credited to the spokesperson of Nigeria’s ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), in which he said that Nigeria’s main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) is an agenda for the Islamisation of Nigeria.
This statement is unguarded, unprofessional, parochial and myopic. Such a statement is only to be heard from a man running diarrhea of the mouth. We challenge him to produce evidence. While we believe it is meant for a few gullible Nigerians, we have no doubt that majority of Nigerians will not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by self-serving politicians.
MURIC appeals to PDP mainstream to call its spokesperson to order. Religion is a very sensitive issue in this country and no political party should attempt to turn Islam into a pawn in its political chess game. We warn that any political party which attempts to drag the name of Islam into the murky waters of Nigerian politics will have the Muslims to contend with.
Instead of crying wolf where there is none, we advise PDP’s spokesman to engage in critical self-examination. PDP’s political woes are self-inflicted and they should blame none but themselves.
X-rayed with microscopic accuracy, PDP will find that the raison d’etre for its current dwindling fortunes are not unconnected with complacency, executive impunity, managerial ineptitude, moral bankruptcy, poverty of integrity among its leadership, etc, etc.
Above all, PDP must trace its present calamity to the arrogance of its political leadership and the failure of its ruling arrowhead to honour pledges. Even the Glorious Qur’an assures that “Those who break Allah’s covenants after it has been ratified, those who put asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined and those who do mischief on earth: these are the people who cause loss unto themselves” (Qur’an 2:27).
Nigerian politicians must know that the promise of Allah often starts its manifestation in this world. The Qur’an also affirms that men will be held accountable for their promises (Qur’an 17:34). This accountability may have begun in present-day Nigeria for some political parties and their leaders. All three signs of the hypocrite as enumerated by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in his hadith are now manifest in Nigeria’s leaders: lying, breaking their pledges and betraying trust.
The way forward for PDP leadership is to withdraw the fraudulent statement credited to its spokesman, apologise to Nigerian Muslims in particular and all Nigerians in general and seek Allah’s forgiveness.
Finally, we assure Nigerians that Muslims have no anointed political party. We are in all political parties (PDP, APC, Labour, PDM, APGA, etc) and we cannot afford to be partial or parochial. We wish all of them well. Our members voted for all political parties (including the PDP) and they will continue to vote for political parties of their inclination without being prompted from the minbar (mosque’s pulpit).
We are not interested in religious politics. Nonetheless, we cannot keep quiet in the face of the unwarranted, unprovoked, unsolicited, irrational and inexplicable statement credited to the PDP spokesman.
APC as an Islamic agenda exists only in the figment of the imagination of dreamers who lack drive. We have no doubt that Allah is waiting for any political party or leader who seeks to persecute Muslims or to mock the religion of Islam. “Innah rabaka labilmirsaad”, i.e. Verily indeed your Lord is on the watch-tower (Qur’an 89:14).
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, January 6, 2014
7th January, 2014
BOMB BLASTS IN RIVERS STATE: THREAT TO DEMOCRACY
Ahoada East High Court was bombed and set ablaze yesterday by some hoodlums. The High Court was bombed shortly before a case against Hon. Evans Bipi was due to commence. The case which was to be heard by Justice Charles Wali is to seek an injunction seeking to restrain Hon. Bipi from parading himself as the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is greatly alarmed by this brazen and barbaric attack on the judiciary. We recall that there had been two other bomb attacks earlier in the state. Unknown assailants had bombed the Office of the Deputy Governor of the same state on Tuesday 17th December, 2013. 24 hours later, a second bomb exploded in the office of Justice Charles Wali around 3.00 pm.
The unfolding scenario is not only frightening but senseless and disgusting. Nigeria appears torn between fanatical religionists and extremist politicians.
Once again MURIC is constrained to warn the major dramatis personae in Nigeria’s turbulent political waters to go back to the terra firma of reason before our ship of state gets drowned.
We appeal to all stakeholders to hold the fire. We call on elders, particularly all former heads of state, to seize the initiative of reconciling the warring parties in Rivers State. We also call on all men of goodwill to do whatever they can in dousing tension in Rivers State because whatever happens there is bound to ricochet throughout the country.
Finally, we remind the presidency that posterity will not fail to see its fingers in every pie fried in the politics of Rivers State. True statesmen care more about their country and care less about bruised ego.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)