Tuesday, August 21, 2018

INEC AD HOC STAFF DISENFRANCHISING MUSLIM WOMEN


22nd August, 2018
PRESS RELEASE:
INEC AD HOC STAFF DISENFRANCHISING MUSLIM WOMEN

 
Thousands of Muslim women from the South West may not be able to vote in the 2019 general elections due to alleged overzealousness on the part of some ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who have been disallowing them from registering as voters.
 
 
This concern was raised by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in a press statement released early on Wednesday, 22nd August, 2018. The human rights organization reported that women in hijab are being disenfranchised right from the PVC Registration Centers.


According to the leader of the organization, Ishaq Akintola, “Muslim women are being asked to remove their hijab before capturing can take place. Some are asked to draw back the hijab from their faces to expose their ears. Of course the whole world knows that it is a taboo for Muslim women in hijab to expose their hair or ears. The Muslim women who refused to remove their hijab or to expose their ears are being turned back without being registered. This is unacceptable.


“It is cultural profiling. We are going to use every legitimate means to resist this aggression against Islam. We smell a rat. Religious fanatics have infested INEC’s ad hoc staff and their mission is to frustrate prospective Muslim voters. They want to reduce Muslim voting power in the sub-region.  


“The INEC ad hoc staff who commit this atrocity claim that they are following instructions from their head office. This is an old trick and a common line of argument. It suggests conspiracy. It means anti-Muslim elements have taken over in INEC head offices in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Oshogbo, Ondo and Akure (capitals of Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states). This abuse is widespread particularly in Lagos State but INEC may want to focus its attention on its office at Arigbanla Road, Orile-Agege LCDA, Iyana ipaja, very close to NYSC camp.



MURIC traced the history of the disenfranchisement of Muslims to 2003 elections. “The disenfranchisement of Muslims in the South West has great antiquity because this same scenario played itself out in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 and we complained on each occasion. We are surprised that it is happening again.


“We wrote INEC’s head office in Lagos in 2003 when Muslim males were being asked to remove their caps and turbans while the women were asked to remove their hijab before they could be registered for the national identity card scheme. The head office did nothing until we were forced to march on the streets to their office. Is INEC also daring us? It had better not be because we can march again.


“How can INEC allow Muslims to be treated like second hand citizens? We are disappointed. Is the system ready to integrate Muslims at all? Can the Nigerian nation enjoy peace where a large religious group is constantly marginalized and oppressed? Havent we had enough religious crisis? Should certain public officers take actions capable of precipitating religious violence?


“MURIC will not stand akimbo while Muslims are turned into mere laughing stock. We affirm our Allah-given fundamental right to vote and be voted for. We demand equal opportunities in all aspects of the Nigerian life. In particular, we assert clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that obtaining voters’ cards is the right of every Nigerian citizen regardless of creed, ethnic background, profession or level of education.


“We appeal to INEC national headquarters to intervene urgently. We suspect that the national headquarters may not be aware of what is going on in the South West.  It shows that voter awareness campaign alone is not enough. INEC should intensify staff training and enlightenment. Ad hoc officials as the first direct contact with the public need to be properly educated so as not to cause civil unrest over the ongoing PVC registration. 

“We cannot trivialize the issue of PVC. Apart from using it for voting, it can be used for various official transactions. The implication is that Muslim women who are denied access to PVC are deprived of their Allah-given fundamental right to perform their civic responsibilities like voting for their preferred candidates. They are also robbed of the right to possess means of identification whenever the need arises.

Worse still, Muslims who are coerced into agreeing to remove their hijab during capture will forever face the ignominy of being requested to remove their hijab each time they attempt to use their PVCs as means of identification. Why should Muslims be turned into dregs of the society? Why should we be made to face perpetual embarrassment? Is it not better to be free men in our graves than live as puppets and slaves?

“MURIC deplores the hypocrisy being exhibited by the elites of South Western Nigeria against Muslims. Every effort is calculated towards stigmatizing Muslims. It is interesting that this atrocity is not committed anywhere in the North. No Muslim male or female is being asked to remove any part of his or her dress. This is symptomatic of mischief. Muslims in the South West are being singled out for marginalization. There is no gainsaying the fact that the marginalization of a large section of the Nigerian population is a threat to our nascent democracy.

“As a palliative measure and in the interest of justice and fairplay, we demand further extention of the registration deadline to enable those Muslim women who were maltreated by high-handed ad hoc officials to return for registration.  We also suggest that INEC headquarters should draft more ad hoc staff to the South West and open more registration centers.

“In our closing remarks, we appeal to Muslims nationwide to remain calm and law-abiding. However, we urge them to intensify efforts aimed at obtaining their PVCs, to maintain decorum at the registration centers even while being firm and uncompromising in matters of their Muslim identity and to be on alert for any announcement from INEC. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom”.  


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

Monday, August 20, 2018

EMPOWER NIGERIA POLICE


20th August, 2018
SALAH MESSAGE:
EMPOWER NIGERIA POLICE
 
Muslims across the globe will be marking the annual Id al-Kabiir tomorrow, Tuesday, 21st August, 2018. Consequently, the Federal Government (FG) has declared a two day holiday beginning from tomorrow to mark the festival.


In a special message to mark the occasion, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) felicitated with the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Nigerian Muslims and the Nigerian people in general.

 
The Islamic human rights organisation called on FG to empower the Nigerian Police in order to ensure an enduring security of lives and properties. The group reminded FG that the security of lives and properties is the basic function of government as enshrined in Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states inter alia, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.


This was contained in the Salah message issued by the group today, Monday, 20th August 2018. The message was signed by the leader of the group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.


MURIC lamented the spate of killings which took place around the country in the past few months. It commended FG, the police in particular and other security agencies for rising to the challenge and for bringing the killings to a halt. It however stressed that there is still much to be done in the area of empowering the police and improving their welfare.
 
MURIC said, “The Nigerian Police remains the best in West Africa. Yet there is no conducive working environment. The welfare situation is near zero. Police staff houses collapse at will. Many police stations have no generating sets. They rely on lanterns and candles to work at night. Policemen tax themselves to buy fuel for their patrol vehicles.


“Some police stations have no single patrol vehicle. An example is Iba Police Station in Ojo Local Government, Lagos State. It is more than pathetic. How can policemen in such a station patrol the streets? How can they effect stop and search operations? How can they chase criminals on our roads? How can they tackle armed hoodlums? How can we expect such a national security outfit to be efficient?

“As far back as the late 70s, every policeman in Cairo had a pistol attached to his belt and a walkie-talkie. But in our Nigeria of the 21st century, rifles cannot go round among the police. This is a national disaster and a big shame on a country that prides itself as the giant of Africa. Who did this to Nigeria?


“This poor working condition subjects men of the Nigerian Police to severe stress. Yet they are sometimes made to work round the clock thereby adding to their stress. The Inspector General of Police was once reported to have issued an order compelling divisional police officers (DPOs) to sleep in their offices in other to ensure their presence at all times. But how comfortable or convenient are the DPO’s offices?
 
“What happens to the wives, husbands and children of DPOs who practically live in the police stations? It has great impact on the family system. These are some of the causes of accidental discharge and extra-judicial killings. They are products of stress, built-up anger and frustration. We give the police too little but we expect too much from them. Policemen are not adequately compensated for the hazards of the profession.
 
 
“MURIC suggests a stress and anger management mechanism. The ministry of police affairs must, as a matter of urgency, establish psychotherapy clinics in every state command where psychiatry and psychology experts can attend to policemen from time to time. This will reduce incidents of accidental discharges and anger killings.


“Citizens are advised to cooperate with the police and to provide credible information. We urge people to remain calm and to exhibit warmness whenever they are accosted by policemen. They are advised not to say or do anything capable of annoying the police on such occasion in view of the stressfull condition under which the police work. We advise motorists to always dim their headlights and switch on the inner lights of their cars when stopped at night by the police.


“We call on FG to consider the supply of sophisticated weapons and communication gadgets a matter of paramount importance. Every policeman must have a pistol and a walkie-talkie. The police deserve a special salary scale. There must be a robust welfare package for them and they must not be overworked. Only then can Nigerians sleep with both eyes closed.


“On a last note, we reiterate our appeal to President Buhari to grant presidential pardon to the 54 soldiers serving a 10 year jail sentence for refusing to fight Boko Haram with bare hands. We charge Imams to pray for Nigeria during the Id prayers. Pray for peace, security, progress and full economic recovery. Pray for the exposure of masterminds of killings in Nigeria. Pray for good health and protection for President Muhammadu Buhari. Above all, pray that evil, selfish and corrupt leaders may not rule this country again”.
 
 
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

NO TO ORO CURFEW 24 HOURS TO SALAH



19th August, 2018
PRESS RELEASE:

NO TO ORO CURFEW 24 HOURS TO SALAH

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cried out to the Lagos State government (LASG) in particular and other state goverments in Yorubaland (Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti) to avert the looming religious crisis in the sub-region. According to the human rights organization, traditional worshippers are set to observe tomorrow, Monday 20th August, 2018 as Isheshe Day.

The traditionalists have, therefore, declared a general curfew to restrict the movements of people. The organization forsees trouble as the curfew declared for Isheshe Day is most likely to cause serious friction because Muslims throughout the federation will be marking Id al-Kabiir on Tuesday, 21st August, 2018 and millions of Muslims are already moving from one part of the country to the other.

In a press statement issued on Sunday evening, the director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, described the curfew imposed by Oro worshippers as illegal, unlawful, illegitimate and unconstitutional. It is calculated to cause a breach of the peace. Oro worshippers are deliberately looking for trouble.



“Chapter 4 Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) says, ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom.’



“Besides, only the state government on the advice of the state commissioner of police can impose curfew on a town. Even then, such imposition must be based on adverse security report.
“Traditionalists are taking the law into their hands. They have become another government on their own. This is unacceptable. Traditionalists have frequently usurped this power without being challenged. It is very unfortunate that state governments in the region lack the political will to enforce the law. They are afraid of the traditionalists. Worse still, the police and other law enforcement agents appear to be complicit as they adopt a lackadaisical attitude towards the excesses of traditional worshippers.

“It is not only cowardly but hypocritical to look the other way when one lawless group takes actions that are indubitably ultra vires while the same governments threaten hell and brimstone when other groups attempt to claim their Allah-given fundamental rights. Are we to assume that the only language which our state governments understand is force?

“We assert the right of Muslims to freely move around anywhere in this country. Tuesday 21st August, 2018 is Id al-Kabiir day and the Federal Government (FG) has declared Tuesday and Wednesday as holidays. Nobody has the right or the power to take those days from us. Neither does anybody have the right to make it impossible for Muslims heading towards their various towns to reach their various destinations.

“For the avoidance of doubts, MURIC is not averse to the declaration of a day for traditionalists. We made this clear in our statement issued on 10th May, 2018. We believe in equal rights. What we oppose is a situation whereby one religious group lords it over another. Traditionalists must respect the law.

“Traditional worshippers need to be told that they have limits. Christians and Muslims have never restricted the movements of adherents of other faiths. So why must traditionalists always compel others to remain indoors whenever they want to worship? Why must God be worshipped in secret? Their curfews have affected church and mosque goers in the past. It has also affected candidates writing critical examinations like WAEC and that means their curfews are counter-productive. This must not be allowed to continue.

“We therefore call on the governors of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ekiti states to call traditional worshippers to order. The traditional rulers of all Yoruba towns can be easily reached. They will pass the message to the leaders of traditional worshippers. Muslims will not surrender their Allah-given fundamental rights at this crucial moment.

“As we draw the curtain, we charge law enforcement agents in the region to perform their duties. Muslims traveling during this period need protection. Traditionalists must be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order if any Muslim is attacked by those who want to illegally restrict his or her movement. We appeal to traditional rulers in Yorubaland to prevail on leaders of traditional worshippers to immediately lift the illegal curfew in the interest of peace, law and order”.



Professor Ishaq Akintola,

Director,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

STOP HARASSING PREMIUM TIMES JOURNALISTS



14th August, 2018


PRESS RELEASE:


STOP HARASSING PREMIUM TIMES JOURNALISTS



The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Nigeria Police to stop harassing Premium Times journalists. An operative of the Special Anti-robbery Squad (SARS) allegedly assaulted the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Mr. Musikilu Mojeed today, Tuesday, 14th August, 2018. A journalist working for the same media house, Mr. Samuel Ogundipe, was also detained today.


“We strongly condemn any attempt to coerce journalists performing their legitimate duties. The police know the rules. The Fourth Estate of the Realm deserves a conducive atmosphere to carry out its daily routine of informing and educating the people about government’s activities.


“The impression must not be created that we are in a police state. A Gestapo-style intimidation of journalists stifles freedom of expression. The police can still carry out its duties in a professional manner without curtailing freedom of movement and without undermining freedom of speech. Democracy comes under threat when reporters work in an atmosphere of siege.


We therefore demand the immediate release of Samuel Ogundipe and an apology for the manhandling of the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times.





Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Director,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, August 13, 2018

STOP BORROWING TO SLAUGHTER RAM FOR SALAH




14th August, 2018

PRESS RELEASE:


STOP BORROWING TO SLAUGHTER RAM FOR SALAH


Saudi Arabia has announced Sunday, 12th August, 2018 as the first day of Dhul-Hijjah, 1439. Sequel to this announcement, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the able leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar III, followed suit by announcing that Monday 20th August will be Arafat Day while the next day, Tuesday 21st August will be Id al-Kabiir.


As Nigerian Muslims warm up for the festival, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cautioned Nigerian Muslims to spend within the limit of their incomes.


“Just like hajj, the sacrifice of ram is only for those who have the wherewithal. It is not mandatory. This dogma of compulsory annual sacrifice is sheer bunkum. We urge every Muslim bread-winner to be wary of the dire consequencies of overspending. Allah does not place a burden heavier than any soul can bear on him or her (Qur’an 2:286). The Glorious Qur’an warns against extravagance and calls spendthrifts brothers of Shaytan (Qur’an 17:26 – 27). It is even our piety that Allah needs, neither the meat nor the blood of the rams which we sacrifice reaches Allah (Qur’an 22:37).


“We must distance ourselves from this culture of waste. What pride is there if we borrow money to slaughter ram but whistle for our dinner for weeks after the festival? What wisdom lies behind wasting money on sacrificial ram or festival clothes when we are yet to settle our children’s school fees? Which one should come first: the children’s education or Salah ram and clothes? We must get our priorities right”.


MURIC also descended on pilgrims who embark on hajj for primordial reasons. “Hajj is a spiritual journey for closeness to Allah. What is your business in a golden teeth shop? Why must you change your dentures to gold in Makkah or Madinah? Did the Prophet (peace be upon him) carry a golden teeth? Must you adorn your teeth with gold just to announce your hajj status? Is your hajj a publicity stunt or a spiritual exercise?


“Nigerian pilgrims who are currently in Saudi Arabia are strongly advised to get the hajj message right. Hajj should not be commercialized. It is not for a shopping spree. Please go to Dubai if your intention is to go shopping and leave Makkah and Madinah for genuine worshippers. While it is true that purchases are allowed in the holy land, this should be after the hajj and it should be done moderately.


“It is not your business to buy up all goods and merchandise inside a Saudi shop just because you want to share out gifts on your return from hajj. You must let friends and neighbours know the difference between going on hajj and going for shopping. Combining the two is not only ridiculous but also self-defeating”.


Concluding, Akintola advised Nigerians to desist from pressurizing returning pilgrims for gifts. He argued that what we should be eager to get from those who return from hajj is prayers. “We must de-emphasise materialism. Stop asking them what they brought for you from Saudi. Stop begging for Salah meat. These are precursors to corrupt enrichment as some are pushed to borrow or overspend or steal just to satisfy colleagues at work, friends and neighbours.”




Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Director,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)