This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Some supporters of the All Progressive
Congress (APC) staged a protest in Lagos yesterday to demand the expulsion of
the National Legal Adviser of the party, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN). The demand was
premised on the latter’s recent condemnation of the imposition of candidates in
the coming local government election in Lagos State.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regards the protest as a dangerous precedent.As victims of a 16-year pillaging
of the common wealth of the Nigerian people by the former ruling party, the
People’s Democratic Party (PDP), we are concerned that such internal wrangling
is likely to open a window of opportunity for the PDP and its army of greedy,
selfish and overtly corrupt politicians to stage a comeback.
It is natural for innocent onlookers
who are watching the unfolding scenario to start feeling unsafe. Corruption
drove Nigeria to the pitiable economic condition in which it found itself today
and the PDP should be blamed for the country’s present woes. The present
administration’s headlong attack on corrupt elements in the country gave hope
to the masses but crisis in APC is beginning to becloud this sense of security
moreso since the war against corruption is far from being over as new
challenges rear their ugly heads on a daily basis.
APC leaders should
borrow a leaf from its recent loss in Osun
senatorial election where victory was snatched by opportunists whose major
credential is dancing on their fathers’ grave. Charles Darwin’s wise words come
in handy in these circumstances: “It is not the
strongest of the species or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one
most adaptable to change”
By calling for
adherence to democratic principles as entrenched in the party’s constitution
and demanding a stop to the imposition of candidates, Banire was merely performing
his duty as the party’s legal adviser. The call for expulsion is therefore
arbitrary. It should be ignored in the interest of the party and that of the
Nigerian people at large.
We advise APC leadership at the national level to immediately
set its reconciliation machinery in motion and to up its internal democracy
game. At the local level, the leaders are advised to stoop to conquer. They
should remember that the hawks are waiting by the ringside. We appeal to all
stakeholders to sheath their swords in the interest of Nigeria. There is also
no need to feel slighted as this will not diminish an inch from the greatness
of the founding fathers of the party.
Banire represents the
new generation politician and any attempt to expel him for defending noble
principles of democracy will send the wrong signals to up and coming generation
of politicians. While Banire may have fallen foul
of Woodrow Wilson’s advice that, “If you want to make enemies, try to change
something”, APC leadership should be wary of ignoring Hegel’s warning that
history always repeats itself and Karl Marx’s rejoinder that the first
repetition of history is a tragedy and the second, a farce.
We further advice that
APC leadership should not see Banire as an enemy. Neither should it frown at
his exposure of certain autocratic propensities within the party. Former
President Goodluck Jonathan learnt too late that it is better to listen to
complaints coming from within and he paid dearly for it.
According to Aristotle in his Analytics, “Opposition is true friendship. The man who tells you that you have a
stinking rear is your friend. He is only drawing attention to your bodily filth
and asking you to do something about it. He is better than a sycophant who says
you can always come out of the sewage tank and smell roses!”
a last note, we affirm that we are not interested in any political party. Our
concern springs from genuine fear for a return to unbridled kleptomania,
reckless spending and free descent into corruption without tears in Nigeria.
MURIC’s advocacy is party-blind, ethnically neutral and religiously liberal. We
are middle-roaders and social jihadists seeking food for hungry Nigerians,
healing for the sick, clothing apparels for the naked and shelter for the
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
WHO IS AFRAID OF RETIRED CHRISTIAN
Some retired military generals and Christian
elders under the aegis of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) declared
on Thursday in Abuja that Nigeria was being Islamised. The retired generals included
Theophilus Danjuma, Joshua Dogonyaro and Zamani Lekwot while Elder Solomon
Asemota, Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Shyngle Wigwe and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife
were among the elders.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) totally rejects this
allegation. It is false, baseless, deceptive, malicious and provocative.
Using Christian and
Islamic studies (CRK and IRK) which are in the current school curriculum as a
launching pad for its tirades on Muslims in the country stands logic on its
head because both Christian and Muslim leaders asked the Federal Government
under ex-President Jonathan to make the two subjects compulsory for students
who belong to their respective faiths.
However, we are not
surprised at this latest development because Christian leaders are simply
behaving to type. They have always been shouting wolves where there is none.
Warnings against the ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria is now an old song and nobody is
interested any longer. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and its
attack megaphones like NCEF are adept at subterfuge and their false alarms
usually come after they might have committed an evil act. It is diversionary
Come to think of it. Why is the new
false alarm coming just after the bloody massacre of an entire Fulani Muslim
population in Taraba State? NCEF feels frustrated that its plot to Christianise
Muslim children by using the old deceptive curriculum failed when government
introduced a policy which grants religious freedom to all. What is wrong if
government makes Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory
for Christian students while Islamic Religious Knowledge is also made compulsory
for Muslim students? How on earth does that translate to Islamising Nigeria?
NCEF is shouting blue murder because CAN’s plot of catching
Muslim children as ‘fishes’ through a deceptive curriculum has been floored. It
is a cardinal dogma of CAN that any child who lacks Christian moral training must end up as a
social outcast and a burden on society. They therefore seek to compel Muslim
children to take CRK and deny them the chance to study IRK. There is no
gainsaying the fact that researchers have long agreed that the colonial master
and later its ‘beloved son’ (CAN) used Western education as a tool of forceful
conversion of Muslim children.
We must also call the attention of the Federal and State
ministries of education to another grand plot of CAN which has been in
operation for long. Teachers of IRK are being cleverly diverted to teach other
subjects. Senior officials in the Ministry of Education who are Christians are
made to compromise their positions. They conspire with CAN to neutralize
teachers trained for IRK.
These teachers are not
allowed to teach IRK when employed. They are threatened with dismissal and
offered alternative subjects to secure their source of daily bread. Thus CAN
creates scarcity of IRK teachers by diverting experts in the field to other
subjects. On the other hand, Christian graduates of any subject under the sky
are given juicy offers to drop their core areas to teach CRK. This is how our
cunny neighbours who are now alleging Islamisation create scarcity by diversion
for IRK but ensure proliferation by the same diversion for CRK parri passu.
Our claims are verifiable and we charge the Federal
Ministry of Education in particular and the state ministries of education in
the South West to launch an investigation into this. Many graduates of Islamic
Studies who have been forcefully diverted to teach other subjects are ready to
come forward. Those clamouring for restructuring have something interesting
here. CAN has created a rot in the ministries of education all over the country
and restructuring must start from there.
Besides, what is this idea of using former military
generals to intimidate the country in an issue involving religion? When last
did Muslims use their own generals to make noise? Must we flex military muscle over
a civil matter? Why the emphasis on a statement “issued by retired military
generals and Christian leaders”? Are the generals there to represent the
Nigerian Army? To make what point? Who did this to CAN? The reference to war by
the group is an admission that they are already making secret plans to wage war
on Muslims. It must also be noted that the names of the army generals involved have
been linked with one crisis or another in the past and this is the danger.
Otherwise why the
assemblage of Christian war veterans in the form of army generals and why the
need for the emphasis on the military elements in the group? Why do Christian leaders always mobilize their
army generals? This attitude is suggestive of subtle intimidation and coercion.
Is there any connection between this surreptitious union and the South African
money-for-arms scandal which involved an aircraft belonging to Ayo Oritsejafor,
former CAN president? Also, can any sane mind rationalize the involvement of Dr.
Chukwuemeka Ezeife in this group? How does he fit in for crying out loud? So
how Northern is the Northern Christian Elders Forum?
We declare clearly, categorically and unequivocally that
Nigerian Muslims are not in any way moved by this subtle threat. Who is afraid
of the Northern Christian Elders Forum? Count Nigerian Muslims out. We get the
message but we dismiss it as the usual ranting of incorrigibly belligerent
neighbours. Our avowed role in this country as tutored by our leaders is to
work for peace, to pray for progress and to search for the stability of the
Instead of utilizing
precious times on hard work that will put bread on the tables of Nigerians, CAN
leadership has misled Nigerian Christians into superfluous religiousity,
leading to a situation where a large proportion of the Nigerian population
spends 17 hours daily searching for an ever elusive and perpetually fictitious
Every Christian civil
servant or businessman in Nigeria today is being indoctrinated and made to
believe that not only must he become a pastor, he must also own a church, a
situation which has led to unbearable noise pollution as churches spring up in
the most unlikely places: tiny 2 x 2 shops with huge signboards and gargantuan
loud speakers. Yet morality continues to sink to a very low ebb.
MURIC charges the
Nigerian military to caution its retired Christian generals. They must desist
from brandishing their expired medals in our faces. Something has gone terribly
wrong with their pre-retirement briefings. We appeal to CAN to allow Nigerians
to work together as compatriots and without religious bias. Only thus can we
forge a truly genuine nation where rewards for citizens are based on potentials
and performance rather than affiliation to a church, a mosque or a tribe. Allow
merit to be the deciding factor.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
NASS SHOULD LEARN FROM VENEZUELA AND
The National Assembly (NASS) has been at loggerheads with the executive
since the commencement of the Buhari-led administration on May 29, 2017. This
has retarded normal running of government, delayed the approval of budgets on
two occasions and slowed down other government-related activities.
Worse still, the executive-parliamentary faceoff appears rooted in their
diametrically opposing approaches to the issue of corruption and how to tackle
it. While the executive demonstrates unflinching determination to eliminate
graft and punish looters, the legislature whose membership contains some
law-makers who are facing corruption charges is not so keen. It is even on the
verge of promulgating a law granting amnesty to looters of the nation’s
treasury, a move widely believed to benefit some of its members.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is
deeply disturbed by this cat and mouse game between the executive and the
legislature. From all indications, it appears that the eighth NASS was set up
ab initio to frustrate the efforts of the Buhari regime in its fight against
legislature is embroiled in a litany of sins ranging from its alleged outrageous emoluments,
tampering with budgets, rejection of government’s nominees, arm-twisting the
executive over sundry issues thereby virtually railroading the government to
bend over backwards to meet lawmakers’ frivolous demands.
Against the background of the threat issued by the NASS to Acting
President Yemi Osinbajo who has been asked to sack Ibrahim Magu, head of the economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or face the consequences, we warn
against any rash action.
Our message to the Nigerian lawmakers
is loud and clear: touch the Acting President and face the wrath of the
Nigerian people. We believe that the NASS is taking too much for granted. This
law-making body should not invite anarchy. Nigerians are not really the fools
they think they are.
Our legislators should
learn from countries like Venezuela, Paraguay, Macedonia, Moldova, Iraq and
Burkina Faso. These are six countries whose parliaments were attacked by
patriotic citizens for adopting anti-people policies in the last three years. Just
five days ago, precisely on Wednesday 5th
July, 2017 in Venezuela, pro-Maduro
groups stormed Caracas congress accusing the lawmakers of standing in the way
of President Nicolas Maduro’s reform policies and programmes.
Also, for adopting an
unacceptable amendment to the country’s constitution, Paraguayans invaded
parliament on 1st April, 2017. The amendment would have allowed current President Horacio Cartes to be re-elected for
another term. In the Balkans, the Macedonian congress at Skopje was invaded by
supporters of President Zoran Zaev on 27th April 2017.
Last year, Moldovan parliament in Chisinau was also stormed
on Wednesday 20th January 2016 by hundreds of demonstrators shouting
‘thieves!’ after parliament appointed a third prime minister within one year. Iraq’s
protesters stormed parliament on 1st May, 2016 demanding an end to
parliament in Ouagadougou was burned down on
October 30, 2014 when demonstrators vent their anger over
a proposal to extend President Blaise Compaore's 27-year rule. The storming of
the parliament building marked the culmination of several days of demonstrations.
These scenarios can be replicated in Abuja. Members of the NASS should not be deceived by the elitist
environment of Abuja which, unlike Lagos, Kano, or Enugu, makes mobilization
difficult. Our lawmakers should know that it is not impossible for a determined
citizenry. Neither should they underestimate the Nigerian electorate. Nigerian
not test our will. Nigerians are sick and tired with legislative oligarchy and
This eighth NASS is
severely detached from the citizenry. We voted the present administration into
office to fight corruption. We are disappointed that the NASS has become the
recruitment sergeant for corruption and a weapon for harassing, coercing and
intimidating the symbols of change and champions of accountability like
President Muhammadu Buhari, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Babatunde Fashola,
We can no longer stand akimbo watching
lawmakers who are paid with our hard-earned money destroying the future of
coming generation of Nigerians. We want to see looters in jail. We want our
stolen money recovered. We want special courts to try these sophisticated
against parliaments in other countries in the examples cited above have been
characterized by violence resulting in injuries inflicted on lawmakers as well
as destruction of properties, MURIC advocates non-violent action like the
occupation of the NASS and peaceful rallies and protests in state assemblies by
placard carrying patriots. We know the hawks in the NASS will not succumb
easily. Nigerians must therefore be ready for a prolonged struggle. We must be
determined. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Dare to struggle, dare
to win. There must be no retreat, no surrender.
Islamic liberation theological teachings enjoin citizens to
stop evil doers and oppressors from perpetrating further evil (wa
yanhawna ‘anil-munkar : Glorious Qur’an 3:104, 110; 31:17; 16:90). It warns
that the wrongs committed by a few will sooner or later affect all if citizens
do nothing (Qur’an 8:25) and that citizens must take necessary actions to
effect change because Allah will not come down by Himself to change things for
them (Qur’an 13:11). The hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) equally exhorts
mankind to “hold the hands of evil doers” (ta’khudhuhu faoqa yadayhi).
As our concluding remarks, we remind Nigerians of the wise words of great
men in history. Uthman Dan Fodio said, “In an unjust
society, silence is a crime.” Dante
Alighieri, an Italian Poet opined,“The hottest part of hell will be reserved for those who in times of moral
crisis maintain their neutrality.” Lastly, Elie Wiesel fired man’s
revolutionary instinct when he observed, "There may be times when
we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we
fail to protest."
We remain oppressed until the hungry are fed, the
sick healed, the naked clothed and the homeless sheltered.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)