Sunday, April 12, 2015

MURIC CONDEMNS ELECTION VIOLENCE, CONGRATULATES WINNERS



12th April, 2015
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC CONDEMNS ELECTION VIOLENCE,
CONGRATULATES WINNERS

Nigerians went to the polls yesterday to decide who occupies the numero uno position in the states as well as members of the state legislature. Though generally peaceful, the elections were marred by violence in some states like Rivers and Akwa Ibom. More than six people were killed while a party stalwart was beheaded.
    
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is saddened by the spilling of the blood of the Nigerian electorate all in the name of an election. It is barbaric and despicable. We strongly denounce electoral violence in all its ramifications. We call on security agencies to fish out those behind the thuggery and hooliganism and deal with them according to the laws of the land. Elections cannot be free and fair as long as they are characterized by violence.

We regret that violence still features in Nigerian politics 55 years after independence. It shows that some major dramatis personae in the political terrain had failed to impart civilized political culture in their followers

Most regrettable is the statement credited to the Nigerian First Lady who told her followers to stone members of the main opposition. It is natural for stoning to graduate to shooting. It is didactic that her state (Rivers) have been the most volatile and the hottest trouble spot in the country during this 2015 election.


Nonetheless, we deem it fit to congratulate the winners in the gubernatorial and state assembly elections. In particular, we felicitate with the Governor-Elect in Lagos State, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode. We urge him to ignore ethnic provocations in order to integrate all and build a more virile and more prosperous Lagos. He must concentrate on greater achievements which he can fall back upon in 2019.


MURIC appeals to Mr. Akinwumi Ambode to come up with an acceptable plan of action in addressing the hijab affair which is of primary concern to the Muslim population of Lagos State. This will be in keeping with his promise to eschew discrimination of all sorts as contained in his acceptance speech shortly after he was declared winner today, Sunday, 12th April, 2015. We assure Governor –Elect  Akinwumi Ambode of the goodwill and full cooperation of Muslims in the state.

Finally, we laud the spirit of sportsmanship in candidates like Governor Yero of Kaduna State and Mr. Jimi Agbaje of Lagos State who saved their states from undue tension by quickly conceding defeat and congratulating the winners, Mr. El-Rufai and Mr. Ambode.

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

Monday, April 6, 2015

GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: RESPECT THE RULE OF LAW



7th April, 2015
PRESS RELEASE:
GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: RESPECT THE RULE OF LAW

Nigeria successfully held its presidential election on 28th March, 2015 amid allegations of harassment and intimidation by law enforcement agents. Gubernatorial and state assembly elections are now scheduled to hold throughout Nigeria on Saturday, 11th April, 2015.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) expresses disgust at the manifestation of impunity as the Federal Government ignored two court orders prohibiting the use of soldiers during the election. This is a big minus in the records of President Jonathan. It ranks him in the camp of noncompliant rulers in democratic practices.

Soldiers were drafted to the states in their thousands about one week to the day of election. A country that is fighting a daring insurgency is not expected to use soldiers for a purely civil exercise. It was an unnecessary diversion and we strongly condemn the manner court injunctions were ignored.

Although those who canvassed the use of soldiers for elections had insisted it was for security purpose, the sinister motive behind the drafting of soldiers for elections became manifest in the allegations of electoral malpractices perpetrated by soldiers in Benue, Rivers and other states in favour of the ruling party during the last presidential election.


Voters were reportedly coerced by gun-totting soldiers. Opposition party agents were allegedly chased out of polling units at gun point. Those who refused to leave were reportedly forced to roll on the floor.

This is highly disgraceful. Such treatment is inhuman and degrading. It is a violation of voters’ Allah-given fundamental human rights. We charge the National Assembly to compile reports of the maltreatment of voters throughout the country with a view to fishing out the culprits. This should not be difficult because there must be records of soldiers’ movements during the election. Those found culpable must be taught lessons tough enough to deter a repeat by others in future.

MURIC says no to impunity. There must be respect for rule of law. Like Ceasar’s wife, security agents must be above board. Our soldiers must learn to obey only lawful commands. They must not allow themselves to be used by politicians. Neither should they be overambitious.   

In addition, the Nigerian Army should not allow itself to be pushed into the murky waters of politics in future. MURIC strongly denounces the ignominous role played by the Nigerian Army in the certificate saga of the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).

It is most scandalous that the general’s certificate which the army insisted that it did not have was allegedly found in its files few days after the general emerged winner of the election.

In conclusion, we demand the full concentration of the army in the fight against insurgents in North Eastern Nigeria. No soldier should be used for the state assembly election. Allegations of high-handedness and partisanship on the part of soldiers during the March 2015 presidential election should be investigated and the culprits must be punished. We advise serving soldiers not to ruin their careers by turning professional sycophants and riggers of elections.

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


Sunday, April 5, 2015

EASTER MESSAGE: LET NIGERIA LIVE AGAIN




5th April, 2015
PRESS RELEASE:
EASTER MESSAGE: LET NIGERIA LIVE AGAIN
Nigerian Christians joined their counterparts all over the world to celebrate Easter from Good Friday to Easter Monday for the year 2015.
      
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) sends special greetings to all Christians here in Nigeria and the rest of the world. We affirm our love for all our Christian neighbours and express the wish to continue to coexist peacefully in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

We reject the hate messages of Al-Qaidah, Boko Haram and other misguided elements who engage in killings and destructions. We denounce those who ask Muslims to kill Americans, Britons and other people in the West. We assert clearly and unambiguously that Islam does not destroy, it builds. Islam gives life. It does not teach killing. Islam is a religion of peace, not of terrorism.

This 2015 Easter celebration is significant as it coincides with the paradigm shift in Nigeria’s political arena. We call on Christians and Muslims to unite in order to consolidate the new wind of change currently blowing across Nigeria.

In tandem with the divine and highly revolutionary message in the Qur’an that Allah will not change the condition of a people until they themselves change the (evil) among them (Qur’an 13:11), Nigerians voted for change in the March 2015 presidential election. This means that Nigerians have hearkened to the divine message and they have taken their destiny in their hands.

Our religious leaders, Christians, Muslims and animists must also allow this change to reflect in their attitudes. We must put an end to mutual suspicion, unhealthy rivalry and violence. Above all, never again should we allow politicians to use religion to divide us. We must allow Nigeria to live again.

Finally, we urge all churches to pray for Nigeria focusing on the following prayer points: that God should direct the minds of Nigerian politicians to think of the masses first before their personal interests; that God should put an end to insurgency within a very short time; calm in the Niger Delta; peace and prosperity for the country and, above all, that God should open the eyes of Nigerians to stop seeing corruption as ordinary stealing and to recognize it as a huge monster with jaws wide open to swallow up the social order.

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



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

PRESIDENT JONATHAN LIFTS NIGERIA TO A LOFTY HEIGHT


31st March, 2015
PRESS RELEASE:
PRESIDENT JONATHAN LIFTS NIGERIA TO A LOFTY HEIGHT
With the collation of the results in the 2015 presidential and National Assembly elections gradually coming to an end after the official announcement of results of 35 out of the 36 states of Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has held a telephone conversation with  his main contender in the presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and congratulated him.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends President Jonathan for this singular gesture. It is a highly patriotic move revealing the latent democratic value in the president. This magnanimous action of President Jonathan has lifted Nigeria to a lofty height in the comity of nations. The rest of Africa, in particular and the world in general will now begin to respect Nigeria as a nation with rich democratic values. We doff our hat to President Jonathan for seizing the initiative. He is our man of the moment.

We congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari for this historical feat. We laud his determination, his iron will and his faith in hard work. We also felicitate with the Nigerian electorate, party agents and Nigeria’s sole electoral body, INEC.

In keeping with our avowed commitment to dialogue, we register our total condemnation of the violent protest which led to the burning of INEC’s office in Port Harcourt. In like manner, we strongly denounce the disruption of the collation process in Abuja by the representative of the ruling party.

It was most despicable, malicious and preposterous. There are better ways of registering a protest without destroying public property or turning oneself into a laughing stock. All grievances must be channeled through the courts. Giving violent expression on the streets is barbaric and uncivilized.

We urge the judiciary to treat cases that may arise on this election with dispatch. This will encourage Nigerians to eschew jungle justice and to take the court option in future. The National Assembly should also enact laws which will spell out punitive measures to be taken against perpetrators of electoral fraud.

 We believe that it is not enough to simply restore mandate to the owner, the culprits behind rigging of elections must be identified and pwinnerunished.

Finally, we remind the various political parties and Nigerians in general that President Jonathan has played the role of a responsible leader with the way he ended the 2015 presidential election by calling to congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari.

We urge every Nigerian to emulate him by immediately sinking our differences. Let us rally behind the new leader to build a strong and prosperous Nigeria. There has been no victor in this election. Neither has anyone or any political party been vanquished. The real winner is Nigeria because she is going to remain one.  

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