Monday, November 18, 2019

MURIC BACKS HATE SPEECH BILL


19th November, 2019
          
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC BACKS HATE SPEECH BILL

The Nigerian Senate on Tuesday, 12th November, 2019 reintroduced a bill that seeks to punish authors of hate speech. The bill was sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi. The bill prescribes death by hanging for culprits.       

But the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned critics of the bill for blowing the issue out of proportion and laying emphasis on the death penalty aspect only. MURIC’s statement was circulated to pressmen on Tuesday, 19th November, 2019 by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

“The evil perpetrated by merchants of hate speech is tremendous. Only confusionists will ignore the enormity of hate speech. The critics focus on the death penalty aspect and blow it out of proportion. It is deliberate. The aim is to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Most of the critics are either authors of hate speech or its promoters and sponsors.

“The proposed bill has recognized degrees of culpability and judiciability but cynics will not see this. We all know what constitutes hate speech but we must be able to measure the level of possible effect of a particular hate speech on society.

“That is why we agree with Senate that not all hate speeches should attract the maximum sentence of death. Some will only attract jail terms just to serve as deterrent. But in cases where a particular hate speech causes loss of life or lives and massive destruction of properties, only the death sentence can be commensurate. That is why we are on the same page with the nineth Senate as its proposed hate speech bill prescribes ‘not less than a five-year jail term or a fine of not less than N10 million or both’ for offences such as harassment on grounds of ethnicity.

“Those opposing the hate speech bill do not wish Nigeria well. Neither are they being sincere. They are speaking with their tongues in their cheeks. How can anyone extenuate the evil committed by those who told the whole world that President Buhari had died during his illness? They did not make their wicked wish secret. We all heard them. That was a grave threat to national security. What do we call that? Must such licentiousness be ranked as freedom of speech?

“We need the hate speech bill as a bulwark against those who spread dangerous fake news around the country. People who deliberately spread rumours capable of overturning the social order need to be punished. Some do it with the intention of causing chaos. The idea is to unleash a diabolical plan in the midst of the confusion. Such people should no longer be allowed to go scot free.

“How do we contend with those advocatus diaboli who falsely claim that herdsmen had started killing innocent people on Lagos-Ibadan expressway if you stop the hate speech bill? How do we discourage deliberate attempts to falsely incriminate public figures of sponsoring killings just to discredit them if there is no law against hate speech? Or how do we just ignore those who make inflammatory statements and incite Nigerians to kill and maim themselves while they recoil to the safety of their posh environments after causing the death of many?

“MURIC calls on Nigerians to unite against political shenanigans, religious charlatans and expired ideologues who are bent on bringing down a particular region and its people by causing mayhem. Those who use the house of God to preach hate and division along tribal and religious lines are enemies of this country. They are the same people mobilizing against the hate speech bill.

“We charge the nineth Senate to boldly march on in its quest for a saner society. Our lawmakers must rescue us from hypocrites, parasites and Jekyll and Hydes masquerading as saviours of the people and men of God. They grow in number and swell in venom when elections approach. Hate speech is the answer and the time to legislate against it is now. We must not wait until another election approaches.”  


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



Sunday, November 17, 2019

WE SUPPORT LAGOS WAR AGAINST NOISE POLLUTION - MURIC


18th November, 2019
          
PRESS RELEASE:
WE SUPPORT LAGOS WAR AGAINST NOISE POLLUTION - MURIC

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has thrown its weight behind the war against noise pollution currently being waged by the Lagos State Government (LASG). MURIC’s decision was made known in a statement circulated to media men on Monday, 18th November, 2019 by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

It will be recalled that the Lagos Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, declared last week that the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) had been mandated to apply the full weight of the law. He asserted that his office had received several complaints and petitions from many residents and associations across the state against some religious centres, clubs, hotels, etc.   
“We in MURIC back LASG’s move one hundred percent. There is an urgent need to inject a heavy dose of sanity in some religious centres in particular. The Lagos environment has been bastardised by tramadolised religiousity. Decorum is no longer respected in the way people preach.

“They raise noise level to the highest decibel and traumatize the neighbourhood. Dusk to dawn services rob Lagosians of sleep as preachers scream to high heaven. Worse still, the champions of articulated proselytisation take over commercial vehicles in the daytime preaching from one destination to the other and making it impossible for the drivers to concentrate. This is not allowed in sane societies. It is a mark of religious fanaticism.

“The noisy night vigils and preaching inside commercial vehicles have been partly responsible for road accidents as motorists deprived of sleep and proper rest at night often doze off at the steering wheels, killing innocent Lagosians. In addition, noise pollution has been party responsible for poor academic performance among students as they find it difficult to study in an acrobatically religionised environment.

“Furthermore, this gymnastic spirituality has been responsible for the death of many sick Lagosians while the illness of several others have deteriorated due to their inability to get proper rest in their homes.
“We note with great interest that Lagos has been paying attention to this social cankerworm over the years. We therefore hail LASG for being consistent in the war against environmental pollution. We urge the Ministry of Environment to fight the battle resiliently no matter whose ox is gored. We advise all mosques in the state to obey the rules on noise pollution or face the music.

“Except on Friday during the khutbah (sermon), mosques should switch off their public address systems after the call to prayer (adhan). Other irrelevant messages are for those inside the mosque, not for those in their private homes. Lagosians reserve the right to enjoy their privacy. Your own rights stop where those of others begin.

“As we take a break, we charge LASEPA to visit the full wrath of the law on any mosque or church that violates the noise pollution law. There should be no sacred cows. People who refuse to do things properly do a lot of harm to society. We advise the commissioner to dust up his files and step up the petitions. Offenders will not take LASEPA serious unless action is taken against them. It is all in the interest of a better society.”

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


Thursday, November 14, 2019

STOP DIVIDING MUSLIMS: MURIC WARNS MAKINDE


15th November, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
STOP DIVIDING MUSLIMS: MURIC WARNS MAKINDE

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has warned the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, to stop dividing Muslims in the state. It will be recalled that the governor recently boasted that a certain Muslim leader in the state is in full support of what he was doing. He further made derogatory remarks about a certain religious activist in the state.  

MURIC issued the warning in a statement circulated to the media on Friday, 15th November, 2019. The statement was signed by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

“Makinde is backing the wrong horse. He lost the support of mainstream Muslim Ummah long ago and the raison d’etre is not far fetched. Makinde has become notorious as a potential serial mosque destroyer. The same Makinde who threatened to demolish the mosque in Iwo Road is the same man who has threatened to pull down Olore Mosque. All within six months of resuming office. Do we still need a soothsayer to tell us Makinde’s real mission in government?

“We have no scintilla of doubt that the young governor is engaging in political masturbation. Worse still, Makinde’s decision to snub Kunle Sanni, the undisputed bona fide generalissimo of Islamic acvitism in Oyo State is a manifestation of poor judgement.

“Apart from being the sitting chairman of Oyo State Muslim Community, Kunle Sanni is the rallying point for both the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO) and the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN). Makinde must be a poor student of history and, most unfortunately for him, there is no Bola Ige to remind him how dangerous the cobra’s head can be.   

“For the sake of microscopic accuracy, we affirm that Makinde’s impression of a religiously united South West is a mirage, a looming phantom. Religious proliferation among the same families in the sub-region may be true, but religious hostility is most pronounced among the religious institutions in the same area.

“Yoruba people coexist peacefully in the same families and houses because they already know themselves. They hardly oppose one another’s faith as individuals but they are the most bitter enemies of their brothers’ and their neighbours’ religious institutions. The same brothers and sisters who belong to different religions and who live together peacefully in the same houses are the same faithfuls who fight tooth and nail against the interest of one anothers’ religious institution.

“For instance, whereas a pastor and an Imam may emerge from the same family and coexist peacefully at home, the same pastor will not blink an eyelid when opposing Islamic institutions like Islamic banking, shariah or use of hijab. Those who lock out Muslim girls from their schools on account of hijab are fellow Yoruba people and the victims (the poor Muslim girls) are also of Yoruba extraction. Those who ensure that 98% of available jobs go to Christians in the sub-region are also fellow Yorubas. Ditto for the oppressors of Muslim women in health centres and other public places in the zone.

“We advise Governor Makinde to desist from his game of divide et impera. He should look very well before he leaps. Kunle Sanni is the leader of Oyo State Muslims and those who want Oyo State Muslims to respect them must give him his due respect. Kunle Sanni is active on the field. We respect our title holders but we assert firmly that no armchair title holder can displace Kunle Sanni. It is just not their calling.  

“We remind the governor of Oyo State that any Christian governor can embark on mosque demolition crusade and some governors love to, but it takes Solomonic wisdom to consider the pros and cons before taking a leap into a dark pit on a pitch dark night. Makinde should remove the blindfold from his eyes.


“Our message to Makinde is this: Build a new mosque as replacement before demolishing any mosque. We do not want ordinary promises because we do not trust you. We know that we cannot force you to build before you demolish.  But it depends on what you want Muslim worshippers to send to you when they congregate every Friday: inna atayna or tabat yada…”


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


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

REVIEW NYSC CAMP TRAINING NOW


13th November, 2019
          
PRESS RELEASE:
REVIEW NYSC CAMP TRAINING NOW

A female Muslim corper yesterday refused to use the conventional short knicker at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp at Iyana Ipaja, Lagos State. NYSC authorities have allegedly initiated the process for decamping her and she may be sent out of the camp today, Wednesday, 13th November, 2019.   
   
It will be recalled that two female Christian youth corpers were also expelled from the NYSC camp in Ebonyi State on Saturday, 9th November, 2019 for the same reason. Both the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) have since condemned the expulsion.

But MURIC has added a new twist to the NYSC’s short knicker furore. In a press statement circulated to the media by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Wednesday, 13th November, 2019, the civil society organization berated NYSC for sacrificing morality on the altar of militarization. It called for immediate review of the NYSC training camp activities to allow female corpers whose creeds forbid them from wearing short knickers to freely and willingly partake in the activities.

MURIC said, “NYSC has placed military options above moral issues. It is affecting young ones in both Christianity and Islam. This is capable of destroying the moral fabrics of our society. What kind of leadership is NYSC trying to produce for the nation? Is it a God-fearing leadership that will give the nation good governance or one that has no fear of Allah that will embezzle the people’s funds, abuse power while in office and deprive the citizens of basic infrastructural facilities?

“NYSC should go into retrospection. What has it achieved in more than three decades of its existence? What has been the impact of its training on the youth? Our streets have been taken over by an army of jobless graduates. Yahoo Yahoo is the order of the day. Our graduates are heavily militarized. Cultism, kidnapping and ritual killing are their hobbies. Materialism is their religion. They are in a hurry to get rich. Meanwhile Nigeria holds its breath and trembles.

“But NYSC can do better if it pays attention to morality and vocational training instead of concentrating on physical fitness, climbing obstacles, crawling under barbed wires and other military exercises like marching, military parade, etc. Of what use have these activities been to the graduates? Of what use have those activities been to national development?

“What is the purpose of teaching graduates how to march on parade when they are not expected to continue military drills after camp? Why are we training them to cross obstacles and crawl under sharp objects when the training does not include the use of arms? Corpers finish up the one-year ritual without knowing how to cock a rifle or how to halt an advancing target for identification. It is sheer window-dressing.

“NYSC camp modus operandi is as irrelevant as it is distractive. As far as we are concerned, physical training for graduates in present day Nigeria is peripheral. It is their moral training that is tangential. It is a misplacement of priorities. A nation that has been dragged behind by corruption, a nation whose growth has been retarded by immorality cannot afford to ignore warnings coming from the altar and the minbar.

The organization suggested the way forward.

“What does NYSC or the nation as a whole stand to gain from decamping corpers for irrational and flimsy excuses? The effect is counter-productive. It wastes the efforts of serious-minded graduates while Yahoo Yahoo and cultist graduates multiply on our streets. What’s in a short knicker and what’s in a long skirt? NYSC is killing flies with a sledge-hammer.

“The way forward is to de-emphasise physical and pseudo-military exercises. NYSC handlers should turn attention to the reorientation of our young graduates during camping. Many of them are cynical about Nigeria. NYSC can partner with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in this regard. Lectures and interactive sessions on patriotism will go a long way to give corpers a new mindset. Motivational speakers should be on call.

“Besides, the period should be used for vocational training. This will change our young ones into entrepreneurs and reduce the number of jobless youths. Leadership retreat is another angle that should be considered. Our young graduates need to begin to see leadership as service to humanity. The camping period can also be used for anti-corruption campaigns. Ideologues of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may come in handy here.”
MURIC rubbished NYSC’s rationale for choice of short knickers for corpers in camp.

“The argument that corpers need short knickers for military drills does not hold any water at all. We have been able to prove that those drills are unnecessary. Corpers are not soldiers. Neither are they members of uniformed organisations. Their stay in camp is ephemeral, sometimes three or four weeks. 99.999% of them may never put on any uniform again in their lives. What then is the purpose of laying so much emphasis on drills, crossing the obstacle, climbing nets, jumping over heights and ascending walls? Has the Third World War started?  

“Nigerians should shine their eyes. Those military exercises were introduced at the time because NYSC was started by the military. They added all those irrelevant aspects because those are activities best known to soldiers. But we should review the camping activities now that we are in a civilian regime.

“We therefore appeal to the National Assembly (NASS) to take an urgent look at activities in NYSC camps with a view to reviewing them as discussed above. This is a democracy. The NYSC decree should be radically reviewed by the NASS. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is also advised to study the matter and bring it to the attention of the presidency. We call on the leadership of CAN to join us in the call for a review of the modus operandi of NYSC training camp.

“In our closing remarks, we reject NYSC’s excuse for insisting on using short knickers. We assert that corpers do not need any exercise that cannot be done with skirts. We call for the introduction of re-orientation lectures, leadership training talks and anti-corrption campaigns to replace irrelevant military drills. We also advocate vocational training for corpers in order to turn their attention to entrepreneurship rather than remaining wild goose chasers of non-available white-collar jobs.”

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



Monday, November 11, 2019

MURIC SUPPORTS CAN ON EXPELLED CHRISTIAN CORPERS


12th November, 2019
          
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC SUPPORTS CAN ON EXPELLED CHRISTIAN CORPERS

An Islamic human rights organization has declared its support for the position held by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on the expulsion of two female Christian youth corpers from the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) camp in Ebonyi State.     
It will be recalled that the two corpers, Okafor Love Obianuju and Odji Oritsetsolaye were expelled from the 2019 Batch C Stream 1 in Ebonyi camp on Saturday, 9th November, 2019 for refusing to wear short knickers and trousers as instructed by NYSC officials. The umbrella Christian association, CAN, immediately condemned the expulsion of the corpers. CAN called on NYSC to be more tolerant.

In an interesting development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has thrown its weight behind CAN’s position. This was revealed to pressmen in a statement issued by MURIC’s arrowhead, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Tuesday, 12th November, 2019.

According to MURIC, “Those two Christian girls have the right to satisfy their conscience regarding what to wear and what not to wear in public. There is freedom of religion in the Nigerian Constitution and NYSC is flagrantly violating Section 38 (i) and (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. NYSC is behaving like the notorious Gestapo. It is time to liberalise.

“It is not just a religious matter. Morality is involved here. NYSC seeks to destroy our norms and values. Our sons and daughters who were trained in good Christian and Muslim homes are stripped nude when they go for NYSC. This is unacceptable. Something must be done urgently if this is the mission of NYSC.

“It is absolutely wrong to force our daughters to appear in short knickers in public. It is against strict Christian and Islamic teachings. It is also an assault on the dignity of their human persons. They feel humiliated. It is a big shame. NYSC is flagrantly infringing the Nigerian constitution.

Right to the dignity of the human person is entrenched in Section 34 (b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended (2011) which says, ‘Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly…(b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.’

The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 also says, ‘Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.’ We must therefore ask why NYSC authorities are turning their facilities to slave camps.
“But it was never meant to be like this. NYSC was introduced to instill patriotism and discipline in Nigerian youth. But what kind of discipline can NYSC instill in corpers if the female members are instructed to wear atrociously short knickers that expose sensitive parts of their anatomy to prying eyes? This is a direct way of encouraging immorality and corruption.

“We have it on good authority that NYSC uniforms were not sexually inducing ab initio. Pictures of youth corpers in the 70s show female members in long skirts that reached below the knees. Parents were proud of this but we are miffed by what we have today. So what has happened between then and now? Why must NYSC display our daughters in the public like prostitutes?”

MURIC invited CAN to join hands with it in fighting corruption and immorality in the country.

“We invite CAN to join us in the fight against corruption and immorality. We can stop moral debauchery in Nigeria if we can all come together. Greed, avarice, massive accumulation of wealth and criminality will reduce drastically if Christian and Muslim leaders speak with one voice against all vices. This is better for Nigeria than being at logger-heads all the time.”

The group also narrated a ‘tale of two girls’, the Christian girl and the Muslim girl.
“We commend CAN leadership for speaking out in support of the two Christian girls who wish to dress decently. Nonetheless, we call CAN’s attention to the plight of Muslim female students who are facing persecution in South Western schools on account of hijab. It is a tale of two girls. The Muslim girl and the Christian girl from good homes. Both of them wish to dress decently. They feel assaulted if they are disallowed from doing so and they are both prepared to face the repercursion for challenging the status quo.

“This is why we find it curious that CAN has joined issues with Muslim parents who have gone to court to challenge tyrannical school authorities in Ibadan, Abeokuta, etc who lock out female Muslim students for using hijab. While the girls’ parents have gone to court to challenge the schools’ illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional decisions, CAN (which was not sued in the case) has approached the courts asking to be joined in the suits as interested parties on the schools’ side.

“We find it paradoxical that the same CAN has asked the Christian girls expelled in Ebonyi to sue NYSC. Now, how would CAN feel if an Islamic organization should also approach the same court stating reasons why the case should be thrown out? It is obvious that Muslims have nothing to do with the Ebonyi case in the first place, so why join issues over it? But why did CAN join schools sued by Muslim parents whose daughters are being persecuted? Is it for Jacob or for Esau?
“To cap the edifice, we call on the new director general of the NYSC to intervene in the issue of the two Christian girls expelled in Ebonyi. Those two girls should be recalled. We also advise the new NYSC leadership to set the machinery in motion for a review of the NYSC dress code in line with the issues raised by religious groups. We advise CAN to retrace its steps in the cases initiated by Muslims against some South West schools. Christian and Muslim organisations should seek ways of moving the nation forward while emphasis should be laid on areas of uniformity at all times. Nigeria needs peace more than anything else at this material time.”

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


Sunday, November 10, 2019

MAOLUD MESSAGE: MURIC URGES NIGERIANS TO EMBRACE FG’S PROGRAMMES


11th November, 2019
          
MAOLUD MESSAGE:
MURIC URGES NIGERIANS TO EMBRACE FG’S PROGRAMMES

As Nigerian Muslims join more than 2.6 billion Muslims around the globe in celebrating the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has urged Nigerians from all walks of life to embrace programmes initiated by the Federal Government (FG) instead of searching endlessly for white collar jobs thereby remaining jobless and idle.
This was contained in a Maolud Nabiyy message circulated by the human rights organization on Monday, 11th November, 2019. MURIC felicitated with the head of the Nigerian Muslim community, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar on the occasion of 2019 Maolud Nabiyy.
In the message which was issued by the Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari for witnessing the occasion and for his visionary and exemplary leadership. The group also wished all Nigerians a Happy Maolud Nabiyy.
“We are indeed elated by the purpose driven leadership style of President Muhammadu Buhari. We single out various empowerment programmes initiated by his administration which offer economic opportunities for different classes of Nigerians. Equally laudable is the president’s successful investment drive with foreign countries like Russia, China, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.
“We condemn in very strong terms attempts being made by critics and the opposition to whittle down President Buhari’s achievements particularly cynic’s criticism of the president’s trips to foreign countries. These criticisms are manifestations of kindergarten political mentality. It is quite obvious that the Nigerian opposition groups need to enroll in the institute of forward-looking political ballgame.
“Instead of running round in circles looking for white collar jobs or embarking on suicidal trips across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, we urge Nigerians to embrace FG’s empowerment programmes. The advanced facilities which Nigerians crave in Europe and America were not produced by an indolent citizenry or a cynical labour force. They are products of dogged industry.
Sitting down idly and waiting for manna to fall from heaven via endless visitations to miracle centers and asalatu grounds will not bring the change we need. We must embrace the philosophy of ora et labora by combining work with prayers.  
“Prophet Muhammad whom we are celebrating today hated laziness with a passion. He toiled relentlessly as a youth and worked harder even after marriage. He condemned beggary and encouraged hardwork. This is why Nigerian Muslims in particular and other citizens have no business begging around or remaining idle when the opportunities offered by FG are there just for asking.
“Many Nigerians have been bitten by the lazy citizenry bug. The government initiated several empowerment projects and asked them to register free. Government is giving land free. Government will open the land free. Tractor work is free. They are giving seedlings to plant free and soft loan to every registered Nigerian. The icing on the cake is that there is no interest and no collateral for the loan. This is unprecedented in the history of this country. Yet enemies of progress ignore these golden opportunities. All they do is complain of poverty and hunger. It is our contention that those who refuse to take opportunities deserve whatever befalls them.

“As we round off, we urge Nigerians to emulate Prophet Muhammad’s philosophy of the dignity of labour. In view of FG’s aggressive economic empowerment for citizens and investment partnership with foreign countries, we invite Nigerians from all strata of society to avail themselves of the opportunities. This is the only way to turn the country to a nation of producers after being a consumer state for so long.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)