Tuesday, October 16, 2018

OBASANJO/ATIKU DETENTE: LEAVE GUMI AND KUKAH ALONE


17th October, 2018
PRESS RELEASE:
OBASANJO/ATIKU DETENTE: LEAVE GUMI AND KUKAH ALONE

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has added to the cacophony of voices on the recent reconciliation between ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.      

According to MURIC in its press release of early Wednesday, 17th October, 2018, signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, there is nothing out of place in what took place during the Abeokuta armistice.

“People should stop blaming Shaykh Gumi and Reverend Kukah. They have every right to attend any occasion so long as they did not gatecrash. They are not from Sierra Leone. They are bona fide Nigerian citizens and to that extent they cannot be described as meddlers.

“Even those who blame them for showing interest in Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) missed the point. They should actually be commended for being bold enough to come out openly to be part of the event”.

Akintola, who recently bagged the Islamic title, Asadul-‘Aarifiin, i.e. Lion of Islamic Scholars (Kinniun Adinni), argued that the Abeokuta declaration has further buttressed the popular belief that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics, only common interest.


“We in MURIC do not subscribe to the idea that people should jettison politics because of religion. People who avoid politics because they are devoted Christians or Muslims end up being ruled by the disciples of Shaytan (Satan) who lack the fear of Allah. For social harmony, progress and good governance, religion and politics should go hand in hand. Tyranny, misrule and dictatorship of the left are bound to reign supreme where politics is left to men who do not fear Allah.


“Both Christians and Muslims should participate in politics to avoid being ruled by people who are inferior to them, people who are heartless, people who despise religion. Socrates was therefore right when he said, ‘The wise who refuse to rule should prepare to suffer the rule of idiots’

“We therefore urge Nigerians to stop the blame game. Both Shaykh Gumi and Reverend Kukah have merely exercised their Allah-given fundamental right of expression and freedom of association. It is a challenge to the rest of us. Although both drammatis personae have denied any political motive, the issue here is not whether the move was political or apolitical. The body language, particularly if we read it from the pre-Abeokuta detente is as clear as daylight.

“Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen once remarked that the refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision. It is a silent acquiescence to evil. He added further that the tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction, while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.


“This is not the time to sit on the fence. It is Nigeria’s moment of decision. We must therefore gird our loins not only in preparation for the coming general election but for the emergence of a new Nigeria. While we are aware that politicians will only prepare for the approaching 2019 general elections, we beseech statesmen and patriotic Nigerians to prepare for the evolution of a new nation where corruption, vote-buying, politics of stomach infrastructure, acrobatic religiousity and ethnic jingoism will give way to a civilized political culture, transparency, accountability and massive infrastructural buildup all over the country.


“MURIC has long taken a position and nothing has happened to change that stance. We stand with integrity. Project Nigeria is our priority. We believe in a strong, united Nigeria. We believe in a Nigeria where merit is the parameter, not religion, not ethnicity. The achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari in spite of the political landmines and gargantuan challenges inspire us and we believe that it is in the best interest of Nigeria that we allow him to continue beyond 2019”.

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


Sunday, October 14, 2018

MURIC HAILS CBN FOR BANNING SPRAYING AT PARTIES


15th October, 2018
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC HAILS CBN FOR BANNING SPRAYING AT PARTIES

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently placed a ban on spraying at parties. Speaking recently on the ban, CBN spokesman, Isaac Okoroafor, said anyone caught spraying faces a fine of N50,000 or six months imprisonment.

In a press statement issued on Monday 15th October, 2018, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) described the ban as long overdue. The statement which was signed by the director of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, appealed to the law enforcement agencies to enforce the ban in the interest of the coming generation.

Akintola added, “We hail CBN for the ban on spraying at parties. It is a nauseating practice. Ours is a culture of waste. We are so materialistic today that we have forsaken our core values. We worship money even in the house of God. Spraying money at parties is flambouyance. Those who do it are cutting their noses to spite their faces. They are inducing greed and encouraging crime.

“What do you expect when people who have not taken any meal throughout the day watch you spraying money so recklessly as if you are throwing ordinary pieces of paper? You may attract armed robbers to yourself as you spray money at parties. Hoodlums may surround you or trail you when you leave. The CBN ban on spraying is therefore capable of reducing crime in society.

“Apart from that, we live in a country where the average person lives on less than $1 per day. Per capita income is less than $300. More than 80% Nigerians live below poverty level. The average worker lives from hand to mouth while majority of Nigerian students manage to survive on one meal per day. It is either 1 – 0 – 0  or  0 – 0 – 1.

“The question MURIC is asking is this: how can any Nigerian, acting in good conscience, come out boldly to spray money in such circumstance? We have seen the faces of hungry youths hanging around party venues waiting for left-overs from the tables of party-goers. The pain in their eyes strikes our hearts with grief as we watch fellow Nigerians spraying money on the dance floor. It is heartless”,

MURIC also blamed parents for the descent of youths into the abyss of indiscipline. “Parents prefer to turn their children into money-spinners. This has led many parents to use their children for money ritual. It has led many parents to force their daughters to marry rich men who do not care about their happiness. It has also led many parents to close their eyes to the criminal sources of their children’s wealth. Our society has drifted and we need iron hands to instill discipline in society.

“Even the Nigerian electorate has been misled. Stomach infrastructure is valued above long-term investment. The government of the State of Osun was recently punished by voters in the state for building good roads, bridges, modern school buildings, etc. Nobody complained that the state governor stole one kobo but they rebelled against him for investing their money in infrastructure.

“The verdict shows that Nigeria scored zero in voter education. It is also a strong pointer to the level of awareness of citizens’ rights in our society. People are not thinking of tomorrow. Neither are they appreciating leaders who plan for the future. We are in a hurry to eat up our tomorrow today. Consumerism leads us by our noses. It is a pity”.

But MURIC disagreed with CBN on the punishment to be meted out to defaulters. According to Akintola, “We disagree with N50,000 fine across the board. The fine should be based on the amount sprayed and the currency involved. A man who sprays only ten N100 notes cannot be compared with another who sprays two hundred N1,000 notes. Neither can we compare someone who sprays foreign currency with one who sprays naira. What is N50,000 fine to someone who sprayed close to one million naira? The fine should be proportionate to the amount sprayed.


“But that is if there is going to be any fine at all. In a worse case scenario, we would have loved a situation whereby government scraps the fine and opts for imprisonment without any option of fine for anyone who sprays money at parties. The length of jail terms may depend on the amount sprayed and the currency used. It should be a non-bailable offence. Nigerians fear to go to jail but they do not mind paying fines. This is why we advocate the scraping of fines for spraying money at parties.


“MURIC calls the attention of CBN to those who sell brand new naira notes. They are the ones who aid and abet spraying at parties. The police should be empowered to seize such money and return it to government treasury.


“As we take a break, we hail CBN for taking the bull by the horn. Those who desecrate the naira deserve punishment. We charge CBN to walk its talk. Emphasis should be placed on imprisonment for spraying at parties. There should be no option of fine. Only thus can we save this society from materialism, consumerism and moral decadence.    

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


Monday, October 8, 2018

PRESS RELEASE: CAUTION CAN OVER POLITICAL OVERTURES


8th October, 2018
PRESS RELEASE:
CAUTION CAN OVER POLITICAL OVERTURES

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has reacted to moves by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to deploy 300 observers during the 2019 elections as well as certain subterranean manouvres in the political arena.

According to the Islamic human rights organization in a statement signed by its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday 8th October, 2018, CAN is over-reaching itself.

“CAN is overreaching itself. The monitoring of elections in this country has never been based on religious affiliation. The last time we checked, no country in the whole wide world has been doing that. The avalanche of non-govermental organizations (NGOs) are more than enough as neutral observers. We advise CAN to give unto Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar (Mathew 22:21).


“Come to think of it, how does CAN expect to guarantee its neutrality as an observer? Who doesn’t know what the reports of CAN’s observers will contain? It is very simple given the anti-Muslim threats and post-Christian comments of pastors in the past two years. Christian clergies have openly exhorted their followers not to vote for Muslims. So what they will be reporting as observers is very easy to guess. CAN has shown beyond any reasonable doubt that it has vested interest. We therefore advise the Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) to ignore CAN’s request on the issue of observers”.


MURIC also accused CAN of seeking to impose Christian governors in all South Western states.

“Our neighbours do not believe in sharing with others. They must take everything. To them the method does not matter. Fair or foul means mean the same to them.   Otherwise how does one explain CAN’s demand that INEC should declare Ademola Adeleke as the winner of Osun gubernatorial election when CAN is not unaware that Adeleke scored F9 parallel in WAEC and the police has a case of examination malpractice waiting for him?

What kind of governor will Adeleke be? What example can he give the youths of the State of Osun? Will he have the moral right to condemn students who engage in examination malpractice or cultism? Adeleke will certainly desecrate the revered office of the governor. Or does CAN think dancing alone is enough as qualification for the post of governor? CAN wants to sacrifice excellence on the altar of mediocrity. Just because of religion? How does a governor with such a low level of education appreciate the value of education in the state? How will he relate with professors and doctorate degree holders in his executive when no hospital has the cure for inferiority complex?

“We like to place it on record that CAN is the one that often forces MURIC to engage it in polemics. We cannot keep quiet when CAN adopts an aggressive political agenda which is detrimental to the interest of Muslims. MURIC has a moral obligation to defend the interest of Muslims. The atmosphere will be cleaner and safer if CAN will not seek to arrogate all political offices to Christians or make ridiculous demands like seeking to enthrone the least qualified citizen in a state as governor.

“Can CAN deny that its leaders met the Oyo State governor about three weeks ago to demand that the next governor of the state must be a Christian? Was that also not CAN’s battle cry for the heart of Lagos in 2015? Today, Lagos, Ondo and Ekiti are ruled by Christian governors while Ogun, Osun and Oyo have Muslims as governors. That means Christians have three governors while Muslims also have three. But CAN is not satisfied. Its own idea of neighbourliness is to seize the whole South West. Our people say that the eagle that perches on a tree top does not know that those on the ground are watching it.

“We know the rationale for CAN’s interest and we understand. Patronage becomes specially juicy, pecuniary benefits become more secretive and political appointments get more lopsided when its cronies are made governors. But should religion be the main criterion for choice of state governors?

“We advise CAN to do away with its domineering complex. Religious leaders should allow the electorate to choose candidates with the right leadership qualities like vision, high level intelligence, accessibility, credibility, integrity, probity and accountability. Any candidate who possesses these qualities should be the favourite of the electorate. It does not matter whether he is a Christian or a Muslim. Only thus can such candidates perform when they get into office. For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC is prepared to accept and support any Christian candidate who possesses the right qualities.  

“Let us pick candidates on the basis of what they are capable of doing and not on the basis of their religious affiliation. We must look for candidates who will eliminate corruption, improve infrastructure, provide job opportunities, care for retirees and senior citizens, diversify the economy, pursue a rigorous public health scheme, provide 24-hour power supply and turn the education sector into the pride of scholars. CAN should therefore stop making demands for Christians to be picked as gubernatorial candidates or presidents. It is parochial, myopic and counter-productive.

“CAN should also realize the Utopian nature of the ‘Christians vote for Christians’ dogma. It is unrealistic in the Nigerian setting. For example now, former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and President Muhammadu Buhari have emerged as candidates of the two major political parties and both happen to be Muslims. How does that fit into the Christian agenda?


“MURIC appeals to CAN to think Nigeria and to work towards emancipating the masses from the grip of the few wealthy, greedy and selfish citizens. How do we explain a situation where only 1% of the population arrogate to themselves 85% of the total wealth while the overwhelming 99% fight over just 15% of the resources? The hard fact is that Christians and Muslims are among the 1% superfluously rich while the 99% hoi polloi are also Christians and Muslims.


“This is the area that should concern religious leaders. We should find solutions to poverty, illiteracy and disease. Christian and Muslim leaders should put their heads under the same thinking cap to find solution to corruption, insecurity and other problems plagueing the nation. We should think less of the religion of the president or the governor because that is often done for personal aggrandisement and other narrow ends.


“A political culture based on religious affiliation cannot give us good roads, efficient electricity supply, qualitative education, reliable public health system, etc. It can only give the religious leaders and their families more private jets, more private universities and more contracts while the followers continue to wallow in abject poverty. Directing our followers to focus on religious affiliation alone is symptomatic of acute desertification of patriotism.


“We appeal to well-meaning Nigerians to caution CAN leadership on its political misadventures. Nigerian Muslims and their leaders are not known for making explosive or provocative statements. Neither are they known for hobnobbing with people in the corridor of power. CAN has had a field day in that respect for a very long time. It can no longer enjoy that monopoly. CAN should know when the ovation is loudest. The world is now a tiny village and nothing is hidden any longer.


“We confuse Nigerians when Christian leaders speak and Muslim leaders react or vice versa. It stokes the fire of religious crisis. It also confuses and embarrasses political leaders. A more mature way is for us to follow the path of dialogue based on mutual respect. We need to interface frequently at both high and grassroot levels. Leaders from both divides should invite one another to their homes and allow Nigerians to see how they relate cordially. This will boost peaceful coexistence.   


“In a nutshell, MURIC implores INEC to ignore CAN’s request on the monitoring of 2019 elections. CAN should allow sleeping dogs to lie. Religious leaders must help in changing this country’s political culture. Merit should be the watchword, not mediocrity. We must not make demands for the emergence of Christian or Muslim candidates. We must educate our followers to appreciate transparency, credibility, integrity and good antecedence in candidates”.

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



Thursday, October 4, 2018

PROSECUTE ARRESTED BEROM TERRORISTS


4th October, 2018
PRESS RELEASE:
PROSECUTE ARRESTED BEROM TERRORISTS

Sequel to the discovery of the car of General Muhammad Idris Alkali (rtd) at the bottom of the notorious Dura-Du pond, Kayode Ogunsanya, the Nigerian Army Deputy Director of Information, yesterday announced the arrest of some people in the Berom community of Jos, Plateau State. The retired general had been missing since 3rd September, 2018. Four other cars were also found under the pond’s water. Women in the community had staged a deceptive protest to dissuade the army from draining the pond.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), in a statement issued on Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018 had called for action against those behind the disappearance of the retired general. The group fingered the Berom community, accusing it of engaging in terrorist activities. It also alleged that the Berom Christian community was responsible for the killing of hundreds of innocent Muslim and Fulani travelers. The group charged the Nigerian Army to find the missing general dead or alive.

In a followup statement released on Thursday, 4th October, 2018, the Islamic human rights organization commended the Nigerian Army for living up to expectation and for conducting the operation in a professional manner. It urged the army to leave no stone unturned in its effort to bring a lasting solution to the recurrent Jos crisis. The statement which was signed by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, called for the prosecution of all those arrested after the army might have completed its operation.

“Though long overdue, this is a laudable operation. We hail the Nigerian Army for taking this action. Hundreds of Muslim civilians have disappeared mysteriously in this zone. The offence cannot be bailable. It is even more than murder. These people are terrorists. Anyone who engages in actions capable of creating terror in the hearts of innocent people is a terrorist. The suspects should be tried for terrorist activities.

“We appeal to members of the civil society, particularly human rights groups to get a clear picture of what is happening here before intervening. This is not just a civil matter. Nigerian and international human rights groups who wish to intervene must first tell us what they did when the Muslims were crying out for help each time their members disappeared in the terror-laden enclave of Berom.  

“Civil society must appreciate the army for the vital role it is playing. Our gallant soldiers are in the trenches. They are down there drenched in the rain, sweating under the hostile North East sun. They are dodging bullets coming from sophiosticated weapons of insurgents and at the same time stepping carefully to avoid the enemy’s land mines. But here we are enjoying peace in our homes. We must realize that it is the sacrifices of our gallant soldiers that give us the opportunity to enjoy peace.

“This is where the Berom terrorists got it wrong. No civilian in his right senses should toy with a private soldier, talk less messing up with a whole army general particularly after the Odi incident of November 1999. It is acrobatic religiousity taken far above Kilimanjaro Mountain. The Berom terrorists must be taught such a lesson that they will never touch anyone in khaki uniform again no matter how low his rank.

Civil society as well as the security agencies should also note the alarm raised by Joyce Ogwu, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET), yesterday over alleged grand plots to unleash a nationwide instability across Nigeria using Plateau state as the launch pad. According to CESJET, the plot had been hatched by a former governor of Plateau State, Jonah David Jang to provoke ethno-religious crisis on a large scale. CESJET claimed that Jang has ‘drafted the Beroms, his ethnic group, for this deadly plot that is now unfolding on a daily basis’ http://starconnectmedia.com/plateau-killings-jang-plots-nationwide-genocide-says-cesjet/ 

“The army should also maintain a heavy presence in the Berom community for a very long time. They should not leave until the community leaders, including the youth leaders and members of the excutive of the various Berom societies sign an undertaking never to block the highways again. This is very important.

“The Beroms have no business blocking the highway each time they have a disagreement with their neighbours. Why should they vent their deadly spleen on innocent Fulani and Muslim travelers? It is religious extremism taken to the highest pedestal.

In summary, we hail the Nigerian Army for making progress in its investigations into the disappearance of General Alkali (rtd) and for its professional prosecution of the operation. We appeal to the army not to relent until the retired general is found dead or alive. The culprits should be prosecuted for terrorism. We invite civil society and the international community to allow the Nigerian Army to do the job for which it is well trained. Discipline must be instilled in the Berom community.   

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