Thursday, December 18, 2014

BOKO HARAM THREAT: BEEF UP SECURITY AROUND EMIR OF KANO



18th December, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
BOKO HARAM THREAT: BEEF UP SECURITY AROUND EMIR OF KANO
In the latest video clip released by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, he threatened to attack the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, in retaliation for the Emir’s call on Kano residents and other Nigerians to arm and defend themselves.

On account of this open threat, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hereby calls on the authorities to beef up security around Emir Sanusi. We invite Nigerian security agencies to take the threat seriously. The Emir’s palace should be made impregnable.

By the same token, we see the need for the security agencies to be more proactive by providing adequate security for all top religious leaders in the country. This should include, at least, the presidents and secretaries of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA).

This is not an empty threat. Emir Sanusi spoke in October, asking Nigerians to defend themselves against Boko Haram and his mosque was attacked on Friday, 28th November, 2014. More than 100 lives were lost in the deadly assault which involved the detonation of multiple bombs and sporadic shooting of worshippers. That attack showed how deadly Boko Haram has become. We also recall the killing of other emirs by the same insurgents.

MURIC therefore reminds the Nigerian security community that the latest threat by Boko Haram is a challenge to security agents. For terrorism to be defeated, the first rule is to ensure that terrorists fail in their stated goals. This is why the Nigerian security outfits must give their all to ensure that they thwart all attempts made by the terrorists.

Finally, we appeal to members of the public to cooperate with security agents in the fight against terrorism. Terrorists are not ghosts. They live among fellow Nigerians. We charge patriotic citizens to give information to security agencies early enough to nip terrorists’ evil plans in the bud. Above all, every citizen must be on alert. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

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



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

TOMPOLO’S ALLEGED ACQUISITION OF WARSHIPS: NIGERIAN NAVY, NIMASA SHOULD SPEAK OUT




17th December, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
TOMPOLO’S ALLEGED ACQUISITION OF WARSHIPS: NIGERIAN NAVY, NIMASA SHOULD SPEAK OUT

The former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) was recently alleged to have acquired four warships. The acquisition has also raised fears among ethnicities in the Niger Delta area.       

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regards this information as disturbing. Coming at the peak of electioneering excitement, a rumour like the acquisition of deadly weapons by a militant leader must be taken seriously by security conscious Nigerians.

The fear about such acquisition is heightened by earlier threats coming from Niger Delta militants to the effect that the latter would attack the rest of the country if President Jonathan fails to clinch a second term ticket. There must be apprehension if a witch cried yesterday and a child dies today.

It is however reassuring that Tompolo, through his spokesman, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, has denied the allegation. Although the Niger Delta warlord debunked the allegation of acquisition of warships, he admitted that he actually bought boats equipped with modern surveillance devices to track oil thieves.

He also assured members of the public that the ships had been in the care of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) for the past two years. According to Tompolo, NIMASA involved the Nigerian Navy in the usage and operations of the surveillance boats.

The ball is therefore in the courts of NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy. What does NIMASA know about the boats? Is it true that they were bought with NIMASA’s assistance as claimed by Tompolo? Can the NAVY also confirm that the boats are not equipped with war arsenals? The Nigerian public needs to know.

The responses of both NIMASA and the Nigerian Navy will go a long way to douse tension throughout the country. Nigerians have been on edge since the news broke in the media. It is capable of fueling an arms race among different ethnicities, not only in the Niger Delta but nationwide. This is a dangerous dimension particularly if the weapons fall into wrong hands. It may worsen the security challenge facing the country.

MURIC reminds people of the Niger Delta of the moral support they enjoyed from civil society in particular, the press and the Nigerian public in general during its armed struggle. We assure MEND and other groups in the region of our consistency in condemning the excesses of the oil companies, the nonchalance of past regimes and the criminal deprivation of the region of economic, health and education infrastructure.

However, we advise groups from the region to eschew threats and violence and to always resort to legal and constitutional means in finding lasting solution to problems facing the Niger Delta. This is the only way groups from the region can continue to enjoy public sympathy.

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


Sunday, December 14, 2014

CALL SERVICE PROVIDERS TO ORDER



14th December, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
CALL SERVICE PROVIDERS TO ORDER

Mobile telephone service which began actively during the regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (1999 – 2007) is fast becoming a curse rather than a blessing unless something is done urgently.   

Strange and unsolicited text messages are sent to telephone users at odd times. Those that are most disturbing are received between 1 am  and 4 am when hardworking citizens are fast asleep. The messages wake them forcefully from sleep. Many find it hard to fall asleep hours after the unholy invasion of their privacy. It is not only irritating but provocative. It is gross abuse of priviledge on the part of service providers.

These unsolicited text messages are not limited to nights and early morning hours alone. They also come during the day. The high volume of text messages sent by service providers has exposed these shylock business concerns as relentless capitalist compradore bourgeoisie. Some customers receive as many as 40 messages per day.

The question here is, “If the service providers can afford to send so many text messages to all customers at no extra charges to themselves, why do they charge so high for the text messages sent by individual customers?” It is our contention that Nigerians are being taken for a ride by service providers and both the Federal Government and the legislators have entered into a partnership with service providers to inflict pain on innocent subscribers and tax-payers.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) expresses grave concern for the Federal Government’s lackadaisical attitude to this exploitation of consumers by service providers. We are also irked by the conspiratorial yet deafening silence of members of the National Assembly who, as elected representatives of the people, are expected to protect the interests of the jamaheer (poor masses).

MURIC calls attention to the great havoc in the torrential outpouring of text messages from service providers to innocent tax-payers. The havoc is mainly in health hazards but what could be more damaging to a nation than threat to the health of its citizens?

Experts agree that sound sleep means ability to think clearly, to plan and to design the next line of action in day-to-day endeavours. The reverse is the case when sleep is brutally cut. There is no gainsaying the fact that stress and fatigue are certain to occur when people are stinted of sleep. We suspect that the current rise in mental illnesses all over the country is partly informed by this flagrant disregard for people’s privacy and the rate at which text messages have been disturbing Nigerians.

Another angle is the impact of this phenomenon on the nation’s economy. If it is true that the health of the individual reflects on the performance of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), then we must agree that our leaders are not serving the interest of our country.

We must also ask the Presidency and the National Assembly (NASS) if it is true that service providers extend free telephone lines to those in the corridors of power as well as legislators. It had better not be; otherwise we will be constrained to conclude that our leaders have mortgaged our liberty for a pot of porridge.

MURIC appeals to service providers to respect Allah-given fundamental human rights of subscribers. We warn that from January 2015, unsolicited text messages should be drastically reduced and limited to day-time. We invite the Consumer Protection Society to wake up to its responsibility. We also charge the NASS to legislate adequately on this very important subject-matter.

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


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2015 PRIMARIES: AVOID SAME-FAITH TICKETS



3rd December, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
2015 PRIMARIES: AVOID SAME-FAITH TICKETS

Nigerian political parties have started the race towards 2015 general elections. Some of the parties have actually held the first leg of their primaries. However, none of them has held gubernatorial or presidential primaries even though several candidates who are interested in becoming state governors and presidents have been struggling to emerge as the flagbearers of their parties.

It is therefore germane at this point in time to caution all political parties against the emergence of Christian-Christian or Muslim-Muslim tickets. Apart from the past hue and cry from well-meaning stakeholders as well as blackmailers over this possibility, the current political atmosphere is not conducive for such a situation.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) therefore invites prospective Muslim flagbearers particularly at the presidential level to choose candidates from other faiths as running mates. This advice also goes for all states where other faiths have substantial showing in the population.

Nigerian Muslims have no interest in dominating anyone so long as they are left alone to practice their religion as enshrined in the constitution. We are equally willing to coexist with our Christian and traditionalist neighbours. Neither can we stand in the way of Christians willing to lead the country.

The faith of this country’s president does not matter. What matters is his ability to dispense justice and equity in his handling of issues. What matters is his capacity for giving equal opportunity to people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. What matters is his readiness to shun favouritism, discrimination and primordial sentiment in the discharge of his duties.

Above all, we are more interested in the ability of the person at the helm of affairs in this country to put bread on our table, secure lives and properties, respect Allah-given fundamental human rights, generate policies capable of attracting foreign investors and to provide necessary infrastructure, qualitative education and a sound public health policy. In short, what matters is good governance.

We remind Muslim candidates that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) exhorted Muslims to assist both the oppressed Muslims as well as the oppressor who happens to be a Muslim (Unsur akhaaka zaaliman ao mazluuman). Asked how one could help a Muslim oppressor, he replied, “Ta’khudhuhu faoqa yadayhi”, meaning, “Hold him by the wrist”, i. e. don’t allow him to oppress people.   

MURIC therefore warns Muslims among the emerging candidates at all levels of the contest to ensure that they have what it takes to establish good governance before committing themselves to the adventure. We warn those who regard governance as an opportunity to perfect their kleptomania propensity to bury their ambition now because we will be among the first to blow the whistle on them.

In conclusion, we call on Islamic organizations nationwide as well as individual Muslims to educate Muslim candidates on good governance in Islam. According to the Prophet (SAW), a Muslim ruler who fails to establish good governance will not even smell the sweet aroma of Al-Jannah, talk less entering it. The Qur’an affirms that leaders will be made to account for their tenure in office (Qur’an 7:6) and promises double punishment for bad rulers in Al-Qiyaamah (the Hereafter; Qur’an 33:68).

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