Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SUSPENSION OF SGF AND DG NIA: WHY IS CAN COMPLAINING?



26th April, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
SUSPENSION OF SGF AND DG NIA: WHY IS CAN COMPLAINING?


President Muhammadu Buhari recently suspended the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) David Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on allegations of sharp practices and violation of due process.      


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) immediately cried foul. The umbrella Christian body, speaking through the president of its Northern youth wing, Daniel David Kadzai, accused Buhari of suspending the duo simply for being Christians and not because of any allegation of graft. The parent body has not denied this statement.


We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) take exception to CAN’s allegation against Buhari. It is false, baseless and malicious. CAN’s allegation is short in modesty, long in indecency.

Does CAN recall that the grass-cutting scandal broke out since October 2016? Isn’t CAN aware that Nigerians have since been clamouring for the sack of the SGF?  Buhari, who is known for his zero tolerance for corruption, still allowed the SGF to continue in office for good eight months after the scandal broke out in spite of the avalanche of criticisms. He gave the SGF the benefit of the doubt while discreet investigation continued. The presidency even went out of its way to declare the SGF innocent in a letter to Senate. Buhari was only constrained to act after indubitable proof of impropriety was provided.  


It is therefore the height of ingratitude and the climax of impudence for CAN to turn round to accuse Buhari of suspending the SGF because he is a Christian. Why does CAN love blackmail so much? At what point exactly did the SGF become a Christian? Was it just yesterday?


Was he not a Christian when Buhari deemed it fit to appoint him? Was he not a Christian when Buhari defended him before Senate? Was he not a Christian when Buhari retained him in office for eight good months while Nigerians rained all sorts of abuses at the president for not sacking his ‘corrupt’ SGF?


Ditto for the DG of the NIA, Ayo Oke. Whereas it is customary for newly sworn-in presidents to appoint their own men to strategic positions, President Buhari magnanimously retained ex-President Jonathan’s men and many of them are still in office to date. Ayo Oke was one of them and we doubt if anything would have happened to him if the $43 million cash haul in the Ikoyi luxury apartment had not occurred.


Equally nauseating is the statement credited to one Suleiman who claims to be the son of Babachir Lawal. He alleged that his father was removed because he was a Christian. This may be understandingly infantile. We may ask him, nonetheless: did Jonathan appoint Ayo Oke as DG of NIA because he was a Christian or because he merited the post?


We call the attention of patriotic Nigerians to the antics of the leadership of Nigerian Christians: blackmail, arm-twisting, bad faith and ill-will. How can any Nigerian leader function effectively in this kind of atmosphere unless he is a Christian? The rough-tackles begin the moment a Muslim becomes president.    


We warn that this must not be allowed to go on. CAN is using religion to promote mediocrity. CAN is sheltering corrupt Christians in public office. This is a body that should concretise the values of transparency, honesty, probity and accountability. It is shameful, self-defeating and unpatriotic.


The amount of money involved in the grass-cutting scam (N220 million) was for weeding the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the North East. Is it not disgraceful for any public official to add salt to the injuries suffered by the IDPs? In the case of the DG of NIA, the amount involved is a staggering $43 million. This money alone is enough to electrify the whole South West of Nigeria.


This money belongs to all of us. Not to Muslims alone. Not to Christians alone. It is our commonwealth for crying out loud and somebody is playing pranks with it. But CAN seems to be telling Buhari to “keep off, this is a Christian affair. Touch not my anointed!...” or something that sounds like it.


MURIC says ‘No’ to religious politics. One they are indited, a grass-cutter thief is a grass-cutter thief whether he is a Michael or a Mikail. A dollar hoarder is a dollar hoarder whether he is a Joseph or a Yusuf. Corruption knows no religion. Let us allow the law to take its due course. CAN must stop protecting corrupt Christian public officials. Or is CAN telling us that a percentage of money stolen by Christians from government is always reserved for the church? So why the hullabaloo?  


For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC’s concern is the welfare of the jamaheer (the masses). Why should we continue to tolerate a situation where only 1% of the population corners 85% of our commonwealth to themselves leaving only 15%  of the country’s resources to the remaining 99%  of the population who are over-worked, under-paid and over-taxed workers, frail-looking and weather-beaten indigent students and the army of unemployed, hungry and homeless Nigerians?


As we round up, we affirm, for the umpteenth time, that our intellectual jihad is not for President Muhammadu Buhari. It is for socio-economic justice. It is for a Nigerian El Dorado, for the establishment of an egalitarian society where no Nigerian will be homeless, illiterate, hungry and sick.


Our jihad (i.e. struggle) is against corruption, injustice and bad governance and we will leave no stone unturned until every Nigerian, Christian, Muslim or animist, is free to work and worship in any part of the country he chooses to reside. It is therefore not about Buhari. It is about good governance and life more abundant. Any government that pursues transparency will get our support while tyrants and oppressors will always feel our sting.


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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

FAYOSE’S BULLDOZERS SURROUND EKITI MOSQUES



23rd April, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
FAYOSE’S BULLDOZERS SURROUND EKITI MOSQUES


In spite of the truce reached at a parley between Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Muslim leaders from the South West three weeks ago, members of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in Ekiti State have sighted the governor’s bulldozers strategically stationed near the mosques under threat in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Saturday 22nd April, 2017.     


This move is not only irrational but also highly provocative. Governor Fayose is deliberately provoking Muslims in Ekiti State and, by inference, in Yorubaland and the country as a whole for his own personal agenda. For reasons best known to him, Fayose wants to set Nigeria on fire. He knows that his action is capable of causing a breach of the peace yet he appears determined to go ahead. We warn that nobody should blame Muslims for any breakdown of law and order if those mosques are demolished.


We are bewildered that the chief security officer of a state can be hell-bent on stoking religious riot in a country heavily beleaguered with religious conflicts. Fayose’s belligerence and open display of hostility towards his Muslim citizens belies the perceived atmosphere of peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in South Western Nigeria.

Many people, including foreigners in the country, are under the impression that religious intolerance exists only in the northern part of the country. Nay, the truth of the matter is that Muslims in the region have been patiently bearing a long-drawn repression and denial of their Allah-given fundamental human rights.


Fayose’s latest exhibition of fascism and religious intolerance has just proved that the claim of peaceful coexistence among Yoruba Christians and Muslims is a myth, a mirage and a total illusion. There has been peace because the Muslims of the region have demonstrated extreme forbearance. The Muslims have continued to remain peaceful even in the face of gross provocations.  


We recall that the American Congress invited the former president of CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor, to address its members on the purported atrocities committed by Nigerian Muslims. He told the American lawmakers bundles of lies but, unfortunately, the US Congressmen are yet to grant Nigerian Muslims the right of response in the name of fair hearing.


The reality on ground is that while a handful of Christians may be amenable to the idea of religious tolerance, many others like Fayose have a phobia for Muslims and an allergy for seeing any Islamic monument in their neighbourhood. Fayose is determined to uproot every single Islamic landmark on Ekiti soil before his tenure expires in 2018.  


MURIC calls the attention of leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to Fayose’s aggression against Muslims. We appeal to Western diplomats in the country to spare a little time to study the religious landscape in Yorubaland. We charge leaders of the National Assembly, lawmakers from Ekiti State and all men of goodwill to make Fayose see reason. We invite notable traditional rulers in Yorubaland, particularly the much revered Ooni of Ife and the Alaafin of Oyo to intervene in the matter before it gets out of hand.


Finally, we warn that the fragile peace and one-sided religious ‘tolerance’ being enjoyed in the South West may come under severe threat if Fayose carries out his threat to destroy those mosques.


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


Thursday, April 20, 2017

MURIC COMMENDS FG ON MOVE TO RECRUIT 30,000 MORE POLICEMEN IN 2017



20th April, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC COMMENDS FG ON MOVE TO RECRUIT 30,000 MORE POLICEMEN IN 2017


The Federal Government (FG) is set to recruit 30,000 more policemen before the end of this year 2017. This was disclosed by the Deputy Inspector General DIG in charge of north-west zone, Maigari Dikko in Birnin Kebbi yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Abubakar Bagudu.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lauds FG’s decision. It is bold, visionary and pragmatic. It is calculated to ensure security for all. This is one step towards moving the panacea to Nigeria’s security challenges along global best practices.
By this action, the Buhari administration has proved that it is not battling corruption alone, it is equally tackling the problem of general insecurity in the country.


This decision will boost efforts aimed at curtailing crimes in Nigeria. It is also commendable particularly against the backdrop of 10,000 cops recruited earlier in January this year. If it is allowed to become a fait accompli, it will bring the total number of policemen recruited this year alone to 40,000. It is another feather in the Federal Government’s cap.


We are excited by this development. It is one of the best things that have happened in Nigeria since the Annual Police Report of 2008 which put the total figure of Nigerian policemen at 310,177. There has been no mass recruitment since then in spite of the astronomical rise in the country’s civilian population. The December 2016 population estimate released by the National Population Commission in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics is 193 million.


Considering the United Nation’s recommendation of at least one policeman for every 448 civilians, it becomes clear that we do not have enough policemen for our teeming population. This explains why many criminals get away with their nefarious activities at will and many crimes remain unsolved. The acute shortage has also informed the wanton killings across the country.


We recall the frustrations of former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi (rtd) when he lamented in December 2011 that it was impossible for the security agencies to police the entire country. It was a euphemism for acute shortage of manpower among the security agencies and we were shocked that nothing was done to address the shortage until the Buhari administration came on board. FG’s decision to embark on another mass recruitment this year, therefore, is not only timely but also belongs to the class of Solomonic wisdom.


Although cities are said to be conquered by numbers, the efficacy of modern technology must not be ignored. Criminals are also getting more sophisticated. This is why FG must pay urgent attention to the need for technological gadgets. In other climes, every policeman is equipped with a walkie-talkie and a pistol. Communication equipment makes it possible for the police to work as a team.


MURIC charges FG to go the whole hug by adopting a policy of ‘one-cop-one-walkie’ and ‘one-cop-one-gun’. Not only that, our police deserves better pay, improved health delivery system, good accommodation and credible life insurance policy. We are ashamed to see policemen in uniform pushing their faulty ram-shackle police vehicles. We are embarrassed each time our policemen pack themselves like sardine inside their vehicles. In Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia, it is one car to two policemen. Why should our own policemen be different?


Nonetheless, FG must not concentrate on the police alone for improvements. Other arms of the security agencies like the Department of State Services (DSS) whose numerical strength stands at 33,000 officers and men as at 2008 need government’s intervention.


Permit us to throw in a word of caution before we round up. Former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero once admitted that there are armed robbers in the police. Therefore Police authorities must not allow the euphoria of mass recruitment to becloud their alertness. Imbeciles, area boys, hoodlums, sworn alcoholics, armed robbers, etc, must be weeded out via rigorous screenings.  


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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

EASTER MESSAGE: LETS USE RELIGION TO FIGHT EVIL



13th April, 2017
EASTER MESSAGE:
LETS USE RELIGION TO FIGHT EVIL


Nigerian Christians will join their counterparts across the globe to observe Good Friday tomorrow 14th April, 2017 as part of the Easter celebrations. The Easter activities will be rounded up on Monday 17th April, 2017 when they will mark Easter Monday.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) sends fraternal greetings to all Nigerian Christians on this august occasion. We love our Christian neighbours and we wish to coexist peacefully with them. Religion is love, not hatred. Religion is unity and togetherness, not division and rancor. Originally from the Greek word ‘religio’ meaning ‘to link’, or ‘to bind’ religion is expected to bring people together in peace and harmony.


 We call on the Nigerian body of Christ to consolidate the nation’s gains under the present administration by heightening its patriotism and its readiness to sacrifice.


We charge Nigerian churches to promote internal justice, equity and fairplay in all its dealings. We appeal to Christian leaders and clerics to guide the nation’s leaders both at state and national levels with scriptural wisdom, to redirect the focus of the youth from materialism to piety and to pay special attention to core family values which are now lacking in society.


In view of the fact that corruption has been identified as the major cancerous tumor afflicting the nation’s anatomy, MURIC urges Christian leaders to give full support to current efforts of the Federal Government aimed at energizing those vital cells in the Nigerian anatomy already affected by the cancer of corruption.

We remind our Christian neighbours that the impact of corruption in the areas of ignorance, disease, bad roads, poverty, poor power supply, technological backwardness, etc know no religion. It affects all of us whether we are Christians, Muslims or traditionalists. We are all victims. We must all stand together in a single file to fight this social cankerworm. No retreat, no surrender. We must speak with one voice and reject those who arrogate our commonwealth to themselves alone without caring whose faith is gored.


Both the church and the mosque have big roles to play in the fight against corruption because corruption begins from the home. It is also an open secret that the corrupt elements in our society are either Muslims or Christians. These anti-social elements also come to the church and the mosque. We therefore charge both the minbar and the altar to demonstrate the political will to stamp out corruption in every home. We must address their consciences. We must stop idolizing dubious characters. We must publicly appreciate hardworking and honest Nigerians and stop deriding them for their low financial status.  


Let us also come together in love and harmony to bring peace to our great nation once again. Christians and Muslims worshipping only one God must desist from seeing themselves as enemies. We are from one and the same God and unto him we shall return. Killing and maiming in the name of that same God is a huge dis-service to Him as our Creator. Let us use religion to fight evil, not ourselves. We all do not have to belong to the same religion as it is by chance that we were born in the South, East or Northern part of Nigeria. We could have been scattered in Siberia, Holland or Trinidad and Tobago.


Finally, we call on Christian clerics and prayer warriors to persistently pray for the survival of Nigeria, for peace and stability. We look forward to the day when our religious leaders will extend dinner invitations to each other and dine together while radio and television stations air the joyous event live. We have no doubt that such an incident will go a long way to promote love, forgiveness and peaceful co-existence. But who will bell the cat?


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