Monday, October 20, 2014

INVITATION TO PRESS CONFERENCE ON LAGOS HIJAB RULING


The Joint Muslim Forum (JMF) invites Muslim brothers & sisters to a press conference on Hijab Judgement on Thursday, 23/10/14  by 11 am. Venue: Rahmat Islamiyyah Hall, 3,Muslim Avenue, off Unity Rd, off Toyin Str, Ikeja,Lagos.

We must all attend this press conference to prove that we really want hijab. Spread the message. Re-BC to all contacts.

Friday, October 17, 2014

CEASEFIRE BETWEEN FG & BOKO HARAM: A LAUNCHING PAD FOR PEACE


17th October, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
CEASEFIRE BETWEEN FG & BOKO HARAM:
A LAUNCHING PAD FOR PEACE


The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Alex Badeh today confirmed reports that the Federal Government (FG) and Boko Haram insurgents have signed a ceasefire agreement. Consequently, he has directed all field officers in the troubled areas to comply immediately.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warmly welcomes this development. Boko Haram insurgency has cost Nigeria most dearly. Over 3,000 lives have been lost while properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed. The country’s image has also suffered worldwide while individual Nigerian citizens in diaspora have paid one price or the other.

MURIC congratulates the FG for achieving this historical feat. We affirm that no price is too high to bring peace to the North East and consequently to the entire country. We therefore urge the Nigerian authorities to build on this achievement by going beyond a ceasefire.

In particular, FG must push for the release of the Chibok girls from captivity. This will definitely put smiles on the lips of the suffering parents once again. The release of the Chibok girls should be followed by serious dialogue with Boko Haram aimed at discontinuing the orgy of violence in the North East.

In view of the fact that the casus belli of the insurgence has been traced to ignorance, idleness and joblessness, the next task should be to develop impoverished areas where extremism takes root and to extend the tentacles of education to all nooks and cranies of the North East. Thereafter, the youths of the sub-region must be engaged by giving them economic opportunities. It must be a total overhaul necessitating the creation of a North East development board as well as a ministry of North Eastern Nigeria.

MURIC charges the Federal Government to rigorously pursue these objectives knowing very well that it is always better to build peace because no matter how expensive the exercise, war is far more expensive, more painful, more destructive.

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

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

FG’S WARNING TO SOUTH AFRICA IS BLACKMAIL



8th October, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
FG’S WARNING TO SOUTH AFRICA IS BLACKMAIL

The Federal Government (FG) has warned South Africa about its business investments in Nigeria like MTN and DSTV. It reminded South Africa how it has hitherto provided a conducive business atmosphere for it to operate unhindered.

The warning came as a fallout of the diplomatic row between the two countries over the seizure of large amounts of money sent by the Nigerian government purportedly for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency. It will be recalled that the sum of $9.3 million was seized by the South African government about three weeks ago while another $5.7 million was again seized two days ago.  

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regards FG’s warning to South Africa as subtle blackmail. So FG can fight South African companies now? Where were you when MTN was milking us dry? Where were you when poor workers were being forced to buy sim cards at the rate of N33,000 each? Are you aware that the same sim cards now sell for N50 only today and sometimes given out free?

We know the meaning of providing “a beneficial environment for South African companies like MTN, DSTV and a host of others to do business unhindered”. Our government looked the other way as MTN exploited the Nigerian jamaheer (masses). As a digression we may ask FG if it is true that top Nigerian officials and members of the National Assembly use toll-free MTN sim cards. Does Aso Rock recharge its MTN sims? Our leaders allow service providers to skin us to a pulp just because the leaders enjoy toll-free calls 2-4-7! Nigerians are victims of divide et impera.

Yet we cannot blame South African companies which did legitimate business in Nigeria unlike our own government which seeks to conduct illegal and clumsy transactions in a foreign land, a land where executive impunity is taboo, a land where there are no sacred cows, a land that respects due process and the rule of law. Now the wind has blown and we have seen the ruff of the hen. FG should stop leading Nigerians by the nose.

Can FG really fight South Africa over this scandal? For instance, can FG ask Nigerians to boycott South African products? Will Nigerians support their government in this fight? The reality is that FG needs its citizens to fight South Africa. This is not likely with the current disconnect between the Nigerian rulers and the citizenry.

For FG therefore, asking Nigerians to boycott South African products is not even a viable option. FG has lost the moral right to do that. There is hunger in the land. Thousands are homeless and hopeless. Our graduates are jobless and all FG can do is to ask them to drop their MTN sim cards and their beloved DSTV. We advise FG not to step on the cobra’s tail.


MURIC reminds FG that leaders command respect through refined and dignifying behavior and taking the tax-payer’s money out through the backdoor has already deleted the words ‘dignity’ and ‘integrity’ from FG’s vocabulary. Patriotism cannot be pushed down people’s throats, it flows naturally down the funnel of good leadership.

Nigerians will be proud of their country when kleptomania in government circles becomes an alien culture; when there is respect for the rule of law; when 16 ceases to be higher than 19; when opposition figures, their vehicles and their aircrafts enjoy freedom of movement; when the police give due respect to opposition governors and the judiciary; when the party secretariats of the opposition are respected; when probity and accountability reigns; when…

In fact Nigerians are presently grateful to the South African authorities for exposing these illegal deals. Africans say everyday is for the thief, the owner has one day only and that single day is like D-day. This is what has happened.

Nigerians deserve respect. Those who voted for President Jonathan deserve better treatment. FG is dehumanizing Nigerians by ignoring every request for explanation when something goes wrong.

Has President Jonathan addressed Nigerians over the first $9.3 million? Has he given any explanation on the new $5.7 million? Where is our $20 billion? Where is our $10 billion? What happened to Stella Oduah’s armoured cars? Nothing.

FG acted with impunity in each of these cases but as we say in Africa, “A child who rejects home-training will be taught the lesson of his life outside”. That is what South Africa has done to FG. Nigerians are happy that their arrogant government met its Waterloo in Pretoria. Nobody should expect the over-worked, under-paid and over-taxed jamaheer to fight FG’s battle. Those who eat alone must fight alone.

We put it to FG that the money seized by the South African authorities was not meant to better the lot of Nigerians anyway. FG’s excuse is sheer afterthought while its warning is in bad taste. We advise FG not to play the bully with South Africa. Nigeria is not in a position to adopt gunboat diplomacy.  

Finally, we advise FG not to carry out its threat against South African businesses in the country because this is capable of backfiring. Thousands of Nigerians engage in legitimate works in South Africa. These innocent Nigerians will be exposed to both economic and physical threats if Nigeria hits South Africa’s business interests. Unlike Nigerians who are unhappy with their government, South Africans will quickly align with their government and treat every Nigerian on the street like a thief and a rogue.

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


Monday, October 6, 2014

NO MUSLIM CANDIDATE PLANS TO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY


7th October, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
NO MUSLIM CANDIDATE PLANS TO CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY

Our office has been inundated with requests for the clarification of a rumour currently going viral about a presidential candidate of the All Progressives Party (APC) who ‘plans’ to convert to Christianity in order to win the 2015 presidential election. The candidate was alleged to have said, “I can become a Christian if necessary so as to rule Nigeria”.  This rumour is being spread on facebook in Hausa language.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) wishes to debunk this wicked propaganda. It is false, baseless, malicious and calculated not only to tarnish the image of the Muslim candidate but also to destroy his chance at the polls. It is total balderdash.  

The rumour is obviously a dirty political gimmick which could only have been resorted to by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in its desperation to cling to power at all cost. Knowing that it is sacriledge in Islam for a Muslim to desert his faith, PDP intends to paint the Muslim candidate as extremely desperate, so desperate that he was ready to dump Islam for Christianity.

The calculation is that by selling this wicked dummy, the candidate would lose his teeming Muslim supporters. It is an attempt at eliminating a political opponent by subterfuge. It is demeaning, insulting and ridiculous. It is infra dignitatem.

MURIC is aware of at least three presidential candidates in the APC, viz: former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Musa Kwankwaso of Kano and former head of state Gen. (rtd) Muhammadu Buhari. We affirm that all three Muslim candidates are fine gentlemen and good Muslims who cannot contemplate the idea of leaving Islam for any other religion.

MURIC again warns the ruling party to desist from demonising Islam. Nigerian Muslims have no anointed political party. Neither does MURIC, which is no more than a non-violent, dialogue-committed Islamic human rights organization promoting Allah-given and fundamental human rights of Muslims and other Nigerians. We advocate voting based on conviction about candidates’ capabilities, not along religious lines. We also wish to remind the PDP in particular and Nigerians in general that Muslims exist as members in all political parties, the PDP inclusive.

We therefore advise the ruling party to stop playing religious politics. If the PDP has mortgaged the franchise of its members nationwide by imposing President Jonathan as its sole candidate, it should not attempt the ‘elimination by substitution’ trick on its most feared candidate in the opposition party.

Finally, MURIC advises APC leaders not to commit the same political blunder like the ruling party. All candidates must be given a level playing field during the primaries while no single religion must occupy the two main slots as presidential candidate and the running mate.

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



ANOTHER $5.7M SEIZED IN SOUTH AFRICA: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH


6th October, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
ANOTHER $5.7M SEIZED IN SOUTH AFRICA: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

The South African Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has allegedly seized another $5.7 million belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria. It will be recalled that the whopping sum of $9.3 million was seized in the same manner last month in the same country.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is greatly perturbed by this festival of international embarrassments as a result of clandestine misadventures of the Nigerian government.

We told Nigerians when the first incident occurred that there was more to it than met the eyes. We have been proved right. With this second international misconduct, we are convinced that our government has been engaging in this criminal act for long.

We strongly suspect that billions of dollars have been siphoned outside this country by the powers of today. It cannot be South Africa alone. Fortunes must have been illegally shipped to Eastern Europe, Switzerland and South America. Israel must also have been seen as a safe haven by the kleptomaniacs in government.

It is needless asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to investigate. They cannot investigate their employer. President Jonathan institutionalized corruption when on 5th May, 2014 he described “70% of corruption cases” in Nigeria as “common stealing”. That statement was meant for Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies. The top echelons of the Federal Government appear to possess the noun ‘thief’ and the verb ‘to steal’.

Apart from the corruption angle, the involvement of the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in one of the deals is still a curious development. It evolves a conspiracy theory capable of igniting tension between Christians and Muslims.

The National Assembly must not desert the electorate at this crucial hour. Our legislators must ask probing questions on our behalf. There must be no sacred cows. Enough is enough.

MURIC appeals to the international community not to leave Nigeria alone in these trying times. We call on other countries through which Nigerian money has been ferried to speak up. We charge the United Nations to institute an international investigation into these cases of money-laundering and illegal arms deals.     


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



Friday, October 3, 2014

SALAH MESSAGE: MURIC INVITES LEADERS TO MAKE TANGIBLE SACRIFICES


4th October, 2014

SALAH MESSAGE:
MURIC INVITES LEADERS TO MAKE TANGIBLE SACRIFICES

Nigerian Muslims will today join millions of others across the globe in marking the Id ul-Kabiir.       

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) seizes the opportunity of this grand event to felicitate with the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim community, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’d Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), all Nigerian Muslims and every Nigerian citizen who is witnessing the occasion today.

We remind Nigerian leaders of the core lesson in Id ul-Kabiir which is sacrifice. Prophet Ibraheem (peace be upon him) who is the father of the Ibrahimic faiths remains a universal model today because of the huge sacrifice he made by offering to sacrifice his son.

His exemplary role therefore became a model for both Muslims and Christians because the same Ibraheem (Abraham) was the father of both Ishaq and Ismail (Isaac and Ishmael, peace be upon both of them) who were the forebearers of Islam and Christianity respectively.

Our leaders must ask themselves why the Nigerian president have ten aircrafts when the American president has two only? What is our president doing with twenty five official cars when the British Prime Minister has only two?

Why does a Nigerian senator earn N245 million per year when his counterpart in the United States collects a meager $6,000 (approximately N990,000 @ N165 to $1) annually. Why must Nigeria have about 42 cabinet ministers when the US has 24 only?

Excellence is being sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. Nigeria is being mortgaged unless our leaders follow the Abrahamic model. Except for a few among them, the present leaders are not making the necessary sacrifices. Neither are they living by example. Otherwise the case of the missing $20 billion would not have been swept under the carpet. Neither would those who preach cashlessness siphon $9.3m to Pretoria. International criminals are granted state pardon and given national awards.
Anti-corruption agencies have taken the cue from our leadership, treating corruption cases with kid gloves. MURIC is shocked that at a time when the Ghanaian president fired a minister for merely wishing to be rich (February 2014), President Jonathan on May 5, 2014 described 70% of corruption cases in Nigeria as “common stealing”.

No wonder, therefore, that Ekpo Nta , the chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), one of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies, taking the cue from his boss in Aso Rock, said “stealing is erroneously reported as corruption” even by the “educated”. How then can we expect ICPC to seriously tackle any corruption case?

Nigerians have no business being poor if it is true that this country produces 2.4 million barrels of oil per day and sell the oil at N93.61 per barrel. No Nigerian should sleep under the bridge if it is true that we make $224 million per day from the same oil alone. This daily income from oil gives us $81 billion or N12.8 trillion per annum. Paradoxically, Nigeria remains the 20th hungriest nation and the 26th poorest country in the world.

If our budget for year 2014 is N4.6 trillion and our annual income from oil alone is N12.8 trillion, what business have we going out to borrow a single dollar from outside? The sum of $1 billion loan approved by Senate for President Jonathan to buy weapons to fight Boko Haram was therefore a prodigal adventure.

70% of Nigerian school children failed in the last West African Examination Council tests. 1 million Nigerians are totally blind. 32 million have river blindness. 300,000 die of malaria every year. 30 million are hypertensive. 4 million suffer from diabetes. 80 million Nigerians live below poverty level. The average Nigerian lives on less than $1 per day. Per capita income is around $300.  Life span in Nigeria which was 74 before independence is now 47! So where are we going? Forward or backward?

MURIC therefore invites Nigerian leaders, from Aso Rock to the local government councils to reflect on the sufferings of millions of Nigerian citizens and make palpable sacrifices before it is too late. We call the attention of President Jonathan to Article 14:2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says inter alia, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.

Finally, we offer the following pieces of advice for the way forward in Nigeria:

1.  There must be huge cuts in government’s spending at all levels.
2.  The salaries and other emoluments of public officers and members of the National Assembly should be drastically reduced.
3.  Corruption agencies must be given full autonomy in such a way that their appointment, funding and dismissal should not be in the hands of the Nigerian president.
4.  No public office holder should be allowed to train his children or wards abroad (this will make them pay attention to the education of Nigerian children).
5.   No public office holder should seek medical attention outside the country. This will compel them to improve the health sector at home.
6.  Public officers should be banned from using helicopters or private jets to shuttle from one part of the country to another. This will force them to build good roads for us.

Qur’an 33:68 attests to the fate of corrupt and inept leaders on the Day of Judgement when their citizens will accuse them of mismanaging their affairs and they will ask Allah to double the punishment of such leaders (rabbana atihim di’fayn minal adhab).

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


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

TEXT OF JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE ON LAGOS 2015 GOVERNORSHIP


In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE BY ISLAMIC ORGANISATIONS ON
LAGOS 2015 HELD AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE MUSLIM RIGHTS CONCERN (MURIC) ON WEDNESDAY 1ST OCTOBER, 2014

Distinguished Muslim leaders,
Gentlemen of the Press,
As-Salaam Alaykum,

We welcome you to this press briefing. This event is informed by our commitment to the adoption of dialogue on key issues in our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society. All civilized societies adopt this option as an alternative to violent reactions. We intend to address two major issues today: the 2015 gubernatorial election in Lagos State and the demand of Muslims for the use of hijab in Lagos public schools.  

2015 GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION:
You are all aware of the hue and cry made by our Christian neighbours over who should be the next governor of Lagos State come 2015. The Christians have insisted that the next governor must be a Christian. This demand being made by Lagos Christians is not a secret affair. It was in the newspapers, on radio and television.

We wish to place it on record that by demanding that the next governor of Lagos State must be a Christian, the Christians of Lagos have strayed into the realm of religious politics. They are now the ones who started religious politics and nobody should try to falsify history by turning round to accuse Muslims of mixing politics with religion or vice versa.

We the Muslims of Lagos State believe that the faith of the next governor should not really be the issue, rather Lagosians should fish out a trustworthy person, somebody with the right credentials of transparency, hardwork, vision and integrity.

Lagos State needs someone who can guarantee employment for young graduates, security of lives and properties, freedom of speech, equal rights, justice, respect for Allah-given and fundamental human rights as well as freedom of religion. In particular, Lagos State needs a governor who is prepared to treat both Christians and Muslims equally, no matter his personal religious affiliation. 

In this regard, we are constrained to reject the candidature of anyone who is being pushed down the throat of Lagosians by Lagos Christians. This method of choosing candidates is not only archaic and myopic but degrading and undemocratic. A choice based on primordial sentiment must not be allowed if we want performance in office. Religion as a major criterion for choosing a governor is highly reactionary and very conservative.

It has also come to our knowledge that an Islamic scholar and former member of the Lagos House of Assembly opened declared his support for a Christian gubernatorial candidate. This Islamic scholar claimed that he was acting on behalf of all Islamic organizations in Lagos State.  We hereby dissociate ourselves from the so called ‘endorsement’. The purported endorsement which occurred at a rally held at the National Stadium and beamed nationwide on television stations is nothing short of an hocus pocus and an ego-massaging exercise.

We assert clearly, unambiguously and categorically that Islamic organizations were not consulted before the unauthorised ‘endorsement’. The Islamic scholar is advised to desist forthwith from parading himself as the mouthpiece of Islamic organizations in Lagos State while we advise gubernatorial candidates to explore the possibility of genuine dialogue with leaders of Islamic organizations in the state. We warn that any attempt to shave our heads in our absence will be an exercise in futility.

We also affirm that the Muslims of Lagos State are not aware of and have not endorsed any candidate as running mate or Deputy Governor for any political party, a position for which the Islamic scholar has been parading himself as a candidate.

We affirm without any apology to anybody that we Muslims are not second best. Neither are we pushovers in the political arena or any field whatsoever.

Any gubernatorial candidate or political party seeking the support of the Muslims of Lagos State must therefore put his cards on the table by holding direct discussions with leaders of Islamic organizations in the state. We reject clandestine arrangements with individuals driven by their narrow and personal objectives.

We have been deceived for so long by Lagos politicians. We have had unfulfilled promises. We have also suffered deprivation of our Allah-given and fundamental human rights in this same Lagos. So we say “Never again!” Never again will any single politician or group of politicians be allowed to hoodwink Lagos Muslims into selling their birthrights for a pot of porridge. Never again will any religious charlatan be allowed to railroad us into submitting our political power for his personal gains. Never again will Lagos Muslims open their doors wide for hypocrites and parasites to enslave Muslim children.

We will take our destiny in our hands and match forward with truth and the fear of Allah as our only weapon. We demand respect for the dignity of the Muslim person. We demand a halt to dehumanization of Muslims, degradation of Islamic culture and contempt for Islamic norms, values and landmarks.   

For the avoidance of doubt, nothing in our statements suggests that we do not want Christians to rule in Lagos State. All we are saying is that due process and objective assessment of candidates should be the criteria, not religious sentiment. We challenge anybody to provide proof that Lagos Muslims came out openly to demand the installation of Muslim governors in the past.

In Fact, when we trace the history of politics in Lagos State from 1914 when the Southern and Northern protectorates were amalgamated we had Christians who had been governing us, we Muslims did not complain. Why the hue and cry now?

Asiwaju Bola Hamed Tinubu became governor on merit. Nobody brandished the banner of Islam at his party’s convention. So did Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola. They emerged on the platform of their political parties without any religious consideration. Their pedigree overwhelmed all others within their party.

Paradoxically, it is on record that the governors who returned schools to the missionaries, demolished mosques, stopped female Muslim students from using Hijab, passed and signed the anti-Muslim Coroner Law and Cremation Law, blocked the application of Shariah since its passage on 2nd August 2011, were also Muslims.

If it is true that Muslim governors were instrumental to evolving anti-Muslim policies, it defeats the subjective notion that Lagos Christians want a Christian governor. Sentiments apart, the demand currently being made by Lagos Christians for a Christian governor in 2015 is therefore parochial, divisive and ridiculous. It makes a mockery of democracy. It is laughable that such a demand is coming from educated people.

Worse still, the demand by Lagos Christians for a Christian governor seeks to set a very dangerous precedent. If allowed to stay, future contests are likely to be preceded by conflicting demands from Muslims, Christians and traditionalists, each gunning for one of its adherents to become the next governor with little regard for ability to perform, probity and accountability. How do we ensure good governance in such a situation?

In conclusion, we reject the demand being made by Lagos Christians for a Christian to emerge as the next governor in 2015.

We affirm that such an arrangement is alien to Lagos political culture. The demand is an insult to Lagos Muslims and an assault on the psyche of the peace-loving and progressive people of Lagos State. It also smacks of religious extremism.

We invite the Christians of Lagos State to embrace reason by withdrawing their demand. Lagos State has been peaceful all these years. Nobody should use religious sentiment to turn this state of excellence into a theater of war.

This notwithstanding, we will continue to coexist peacefully with our Christian neighbours. We envisage a Lagos State where both Christians and Muslims enjoy freedom of religion including freedom to practice and manifest without let or hinderance, where they live side by side in harmony, loving, sharing and building a strong and virile Lagos State.

CAVEAT:
We the Muslims of Lagos State will not vote for any candidate who fails to integrate Islamic values, norms and culture into his vision. Appointments into public offices (commissioners, special advisers, board members and chairmen, etc) must reflect adequate representation of Muslims.

‘NO HIJAB NO VOTE’:
The slogan of Muslims for Lagos 2015 is ‘No Hijab, No Vote’. Hijab here is a symbol of respect for the way of life of Muslims and a commitment by politicians to accept the legitimate demands of Muslims. These demands will be tabled before candidates when they meet leaders of Islamic organizations.

Let us reiterate that no secret meeting with any individual leader, no matter how credible, will be acceptable to Lagos Muslims. Individual leaders of Islamic organizations are therefore given the caveat in this regard, i. e. Do not meet any political candidate alone on behalf of Lagos Muslims. A word is enough for the wise.

Gentlemen of the press, we thank you for listening and for devoting your time to this event. Allah bless you all.


Professor Ishaq Akintola                                                        
             Director                                                                                      
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)                               

Barrister Musoddiq Sanni,
Chairman
Muslim Lawyers Association (MULAN)

Barrister Ishaq Adesina,
Chairman,                                                                                                    
Supreme Council For Shariah in Nigeria
(Lagos Chapter)                                                          

Alhaji Murtada A. Balogun
National Council of Muslim Youth Organizations (NACOMYO)