Wednesday, August 30, 2017

ASUU STRIKE: TIME TO REVISIT THE EDUCATION SECTOR



31st August, 2017
SALAH MESSAGE:
ASUU STRIKE: TIME TO REVISIT THE EDUCATION SECTOR  


The Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) started its strike action two weeks ago. About 80% of Nigerian universities have since suspended academic activities.     


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is greatly disturbed by this unhealthy development in the education sector.


Strikes have negative impacts on students, their lecturers as well as the institutions. Unscheduled breaks in academic programmes cause disruptions in academic calendars and these have devastating effects on so many other activities relating to the education of the youth. Most importantly, constant strikes impact negatively on the quality of education thereby diminishing the value of degrees awarded by Nigerian universities.


Students who were compelled to go home during strikes in tertiary institutions become liabilities at home and nuisance in society as a result of unguided idle life to which they are suddenly exposed. No serious country engages in such sheer waste of the most productive years of its young generation. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.  


MURIC recalls that a similar strike by ASUU which commenced in July 2013 was called off after five long months. Although former President Goodluck Jonathan held a 13-hour meeting with the leadership of ASUU before that strike was suspended, Jonathan’s administration failed to fully implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed at the end of the meeting. This is why the crisis spilled into the current dispensation.


MURIC hangs the blame for this strike squarely on the necks of Nigeria’s political leaders and the Federal Government (FG). Why does government always wait until workers go on full strike before showing interest? What did they do when ASUU embarked on one week warning strike in November 2016? What was their reaction to ASUU’s letters, press statements and communiqu├ęs?


As for the political class, they are yet to get their bearing. They pay more attention to their personal gains to the detriment of the education of our youth. They forget that no nation can rise if the youth are not properly educated and technologically oriented.


That is why senators and members of the House of Representatives allocate all the milk and honey in the land to themselves. A former minister of education once lamented how Nigeria’s lawmakers forced him to give them a huge amount of money before the education budget of that year was approved. Nigeria’s political elite are adept at gambling with the future of the youths.


The Nigerian political class can afford to care less about the education sector because their children are in safe and comfortable environments overseas. Those whose children are not schooling abroad put their children in private universities. That is why they are prepared to ignore public tertiary institutions.  


Nigerians must have seen pictures of leading political figures as they appear with those of their children on the pages of newspapers or on television screens announcing the graduation of their children from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, London School of Economics and other high ranking universities in the world. But they forget that those foreign countries spent huge amounts of money on their own education sector. What legacy are our leaders leaving behind in the Nigerian education sector?


How many of our leaders send their children to Nigerian universities? How can they be bothered whether ASUU downs tools or not? Unfortunately for this capitalist comprador bourgeoisie class the same children of the poor whose education system they ignored until it collapsed are the ones who gun down children of their oppressors when the latter return from abroad driving sleek cars.      


The Federal Government (FG) too has not been fair enough to ASUU if in 2017 we are still talking about FG/ASUU agreement of 2009. FG is also fully aware that the total debt arising from the 2013 agreement up till now is N850 billion. Yet the same FG allocated a paltry N369 billion to the Ministry of Education. It is clear that FG never intended to keep its words with ASUU this year. That is bad faith and FG should own up. Neither can FG save its face by passing the buck because government is a continuum.


MURIC calls on the political class to face reality by joining hands with the federal and state governments to improve the education sector. Nigeria’s political elite should desist from sending their children to foreign institutions. We charge FG in particular to make the education sector its priority. FG should declare an emergency in tertiary institutions to save the sector from total collapse.


Although our hope for an early resolution of the current crisis was raised when we heard of a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, 28th August, 2017, the decision of ASUU to back out of the meeting dashed this hope. We enjoin ASUU to remain amenable to dialogue.


To cap the edifice, we appeal to FG to meet the demands of striking members of ASUU so that our young ones may return to school. This strike should not be unnecessarily elongated. We invite the National Assembly to make such laws that will forbid anyone whose children are schooling abroad from taking public office. We believe that they will all show enough interest in the education sector at home if their own biological sons and daughters are in those institutions. Even the authorities of Nigerian universities will tighten their seat belts once they know that the children of the president, governors and ministers are in their campuses.  


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


Thursday, August 24, 2017

MURIC LAUDS WITHDRAWAL OF QUIT NOTICE TO IGBO



25th August, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC LAUDS WITHDRAWAL OF QUIT NOTICE TO IGBO  


The quit notice given to Igbos living in Northern Nigeria by the coalition of Northern youths under the banner of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) was temporarily vacated yesterday.  


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lauds the temporary withdrawal and commends the leaders of AYCF for listening to appeals made by stakeholders.


We urge other separatist groups to reciprocate by backing down on their aggressive stance and mellowing down their language of engagement.  

We see an urgent need for tension to be doused in order to allow peace to reign. Nigeria is not the only country populated by various ethnic groups. Europe, Asia, North and South America as well as other African countries have their own shares of ethnic enclaves but they are being civilized, accommodating and generous with it. Again, apart from Biafra which is seeking to secede, there are many other groups on the African continent demanding separation.


Examples are Bubi from Equatorial Guinea, Lunda-Tchokwe from Angola, Mombassa from Kenya, Ambazonia from Cameroon and Western Sahara from Morocco. We must not allow anger and bitterness to set in here when others are adopting diplomacy and maturity to resolve their differences.


While the Nigerian authorities must not allow the nation to degenerate into the Hobbesian state of nature, we contend that the idea of a totally egalitarian society as pontificated by certain pressure groups is Utopian. We therefore caution against extreme positions on both sides in the interest of peace. Perceived imbalance can only be addressed gradually and methodically and not in a fire-brigade manner otherwise it will be counter-productive.


On a last note, we appeal to the various separatist groups to eschew hate speech and abuses. Qur’an 49:11 warns against the use of mockery, sarcasm and outright abuse by one tribe against another. Again, Qur’an 49:13 affirms that no single tribe or group of people is better than the other while Muhammad (SAW) the Prophet of Peace posited that mankind is all one. “You are all from Adam and Adam was created from dust. Therefore you are all equal”, Prophet Muhammad maintained.      


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


Saturday, August 19, 2017

BUHARI’S ARRIVAL: WILL FAYOSE COMMIT SUICIDE AS PLEDGED?



19th August, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
BUHARI’S ARRIVAL:
WILL FAYOSE COMMIT SUICIDE AS PLEDGED?  


President Muhammadu Buhari arrived Abuja around 4.35 pm today. He had been in London on medical vacation since 7th May, 2017.       


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomes the president. We thank Almighty Allah for his recovery. We also thank Nigerians for praying for him during his illness.

We recall the #ResumeorResign and #OurMumuDonDo protests staged in Abuja and London against the continued absence of Buhari. Those protesters manifested heartlessness, pettiness and the inhumanity of man to man. There was no reasonable casus belli for protests when no law has been broken and there was no palpable lacuna in the presidency. How can you protest against a man for seeking medical attention? It is the height of wickedness.


It is clear to discerning minds that Buhari’s departure from London was not due to pressure from protesters. He had confirmed two weeks ago that he was physically fit but waiting for his doctor’s orders. He had also said he was feeling homesick and willing to return to Nigeria.


Besides, those protests stood logic on its head. Where on earth have you seen a man who won a presidential election abandoning his plump job, the pump and pageantry just for the fun of it? Where is it done? We have heard of sit-tight syndrome in presidencies but we have never heard of any run-away phenomenon in governance. Not in Europe, not in Asia, not to talk of it happening on the African continent where leaders are known to love staying in power for decades.


But the wind has blown and we have seen the ruff of the hen. Looters used part of the humongous amounts of money stashed away in secret accounts to rent idle and jobless stowaways to stage protests. It is corruption fighting back. The sponsors of those protests in Abuja and London should bury their heads in shame.


It is quite germane at this juncture to remind Nigerians that Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State allegedly promised to commit suicide if Buhari returns to Nigeria alive. Well, the president is back and Nigerians owe it a duty to ask whether or not Fayose would redeem his pledge. Is Fayose a man of his words? Will Fayose commit suicide? Will he be man enough to do just that? Fayose is an interesting study in political fanaticism and executive exuberance. The garrulous self-confessed danfo conductor just pushed his luck too far this time around. We are constrained to ask, “Where is Fayose’s integrity?”


For closing his ears to Satanic whispers, we single out Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for glowing encomiums. Osinbajo demonstrated faith in Project Nigeria, exhibited strong character and manifested self-satisfaction cum exemplary statesmanship.


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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

FISH OUT ATTACKERS OF EFCC HEADQUARTERS



17th August, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
FISH OUT ATTACKERS OF EFCC HEADQUARTERS 


Daredevil gunmen have shot into the premises of the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) located at Wuse Zone 7, Abuja. The incident occurred yesterday, Wednesday 16th August, 2017 around 5 am. 


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly denounces this attack. It is not only cowardly but also devilish. This attack is an open challenge to the Nigerian security agencies.


Even a kindergarten kid can easily guess those behind the attack. Desperate attempts have been made to get the EFCC boss out of the anti-graft body. These attempts included subterfuge, blackmail and harassment but they all failed to yield the required result. Yesterday’s attack shows that looters of the Nigerian treasury are tired of using a willing National Assembly (NASS) to achieve its diabolical objective. This explains their resort to armed confrontation.


Though disheartening, the invasion of EFCC headquarters has opened another phase in the war against corruption. It has revealed very clearly that looters will stop at nothing to frustrate the ongoing anti-graft war. They are ready to shed blood.


MURIC calls for a strong response to this cowardly act. All arms of the Nigerian security agencies have a duty to unveil the identity of the hoodlums and their sponsors. EFCC headquarters and other offices must be well fortified from now on with quick-response squads on permanent standby.


We charge Nigerians to renew their commitment to the war against corruption. This is a war between light and darkness, a struggle between truth and falsehood, a tussle between good and evil. There must be no retreat, no surrender. We must not allow agents of darkness to overwhelm EFCC. It is about our future and the destiny of generations yet unborn.

To this end, we commend the resilience, steadfastness and outstanding courage of the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. In particular, we appreciate their refusal to succumb to undue pressure from the NASS, their iron-cast political will to prosecute the war against corruption, their personal sacrifices and their commitment to prudence.


As we round up, we urge the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS) to rise to the occasion, accept the challenge thrown by the attackers and bring them to book within a reasonable time.


The personal safety of EFCC operatives must be guaranteed and this is the responsibility of our security agencies. Only thus can they be able to concentrate on their special assignments. Only thus can confidence be restored in the ability of the Federal Government to effectively prosecute the war against corruption.


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