Monday, May 2, 2016

FULANI HERDSMEN IMBROGLIO: NEED FOR CAUTION



3rd May, 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
FULANI HERDSMEN IMBROGLIO:
NEED FOR CAUTION  

The Nigerian community is currently facing an ethnic controversy as Fulani herdsmen are being accused of attacking their fellow Nigerians on their farmlands. The complaints have spread from the plains of Plateau State to Benue in the North and from Ondo in the South West to Enugu in the South East.      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns the alleged killings. In line with our avowed motto, ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’, we denounce all acts of violence, all actions capable of disturbing the peace and all statements calculated to cause public disorder.

We remind the Federal Government (FG) that security of lives and properties of all Nigerians is its inalienable responsibility. Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.


According to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4, Clause 1 & 2, “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.” As a signatory to the African Charter, the FG should take urgent steps to protect lives and properties and also bring perpetrators of crimes to book.



Nonetheless, MURIC still calls on all stakeholders to exercise restraint as nothing has so far been proved against anybody. We must allow the security agencies to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion. All allegations at this point remain assumptions. Article 7(b) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights stipulates the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court or tribunal.


We call on Nigerians to consider the huge pressure on the corporate existence of the country as manifested in the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967 to 1971, the June 12 saga from 1993 to 1999, the numerous religious crisis experienced in the country, the Niger Delta militancy over resource control which is still ongoing, the Boko Haram insurgency which is just about dying out and the reincarnation of Biafra in form of renewed agitations from the Eastern region.


All the above took heavy tolls on the Nigerian nation in terms of human lives and collateral damage and it has been a miracle that Nigeria has survived all. A new crisis under the guise of attacks by Fulani herdsmen poses a very serious threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria and no one can predict its outcome.


It is noteworthy that there are backlashes already. Seven youths of Northern extinction who engaged in tricycle business in Ugwuaji, Enugu South Local Government were allegedly killed and secretly buried in January this year. There are calls by ethnic groups and individuals from the South East and the South West for Northerners to leave the region.


MURIC considers these calls as premature, unjustifiable and untenable. The calls for certain ethnic groups to leave particular regions are tainted with ethnic jingoism. They are as parochial as they are myopic.


Our position is based on facts emerging from police investigations into alleged Fulani killings and attacks. For example, the Elogba and the Egba in Benue State clash which claimed 60 lives was blamed on Fulani herdsmen. The kidnappers of Chief Olu Falae who were citizens of Niger State were led by one Baba Olu, a Yoruba man, but Fulani herdsmen were blamed for it.


It is didactic that the police have absolved Fulani herdsmen from blame over the killings in Nimbo community of Enugu State. Equally instructive is the fact that the Inspector General of Police has issued a similar statement. We advise Nigerians to stop calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it.  


It is sad that pictures of herdsmen in Sudan, Mali, Niger and Chad brandishing AK 47 rifles are taken from the internet and displayed to gullible Nigerians as Fulanis on Nigerian soil. This is quite misleading, highly mischievous and grossly provocative. It is incitement on a large scale. The Nigerian press is advised to desist from playing to the gallery.   


We appeal to Nigerians to separate individuals with criminal propensity from their tribes and religions. Every Nigerian tribe has its own criminals, lay-abouts, never-do-wells, busy-bodies and area boys. Yet every Nigerian ethnic group has its men and women of honour, men and women of timber and caliber, including Fulanis and Igbos in particular.


We therefore call for objective appraisal of incidents and caution against generalization, sensationalisation, stigmatization of Fulani herdsmen and the profiling of Northerners or their religion. It is a time bomb waiting to explode and none can visualize its reach or its victims.


We must not allow people who nurse anti-Fulani and anti-North agenda to blow this country apart. Neither should we allow politics of resentment and unsubstantiated minority claims of marginalisation to becloud our sense of critical analysis at this point in time. We have all the law we need to punish the individual Fulani, Igbo or Yoruba if he commits any crime. But we have no moral right to target a whole ethnic group for annihilation.


In conclusion, MURIC calls on all Nigerians to allow one love to keep us together. Let us think Nigeria and stop thinking of ethnicities. Let us rise as one to punish individual criminals and not their tribes.


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

Sunday, April 24, 2016

PRAY FOR KIDNAPPED OSUN OFFICIALS



24th April, 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
PRAY FOR KIDNAPPED OSUN OFFICIALS  

Three government officials of the State of Osun were kidnapped in Lokoja, Kogi State, on Friday 22nd April, 2016. The officials were returning from an official assignment in Abuja when the kidnappers struck.

Those kidnapped included the state’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Adebimpe Ogunlumade, the Director, State Audit, Mr. Tajudeen Badejoko, and the Driver, Mr. Oladapo Ajani Arogundade.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this criminal attack on innocent civil servants. Our thoughts go to the victims’ families. We stand by them in this hour of despair and pray for the early and safe reunion of the victims with their families.

In the same vein, we commiserate with the government of the State of Osun. In particular, we console the state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

MURIC appeals to those behind this gory incident to consider the travails of the State of Osun against the background of the transparency and simple life style of the state governor.

To identify with the poor masses, Aregbesola refuses to be called ‘His Excellency’, he goes round the state without siren, without pomp without pageantry. His government has been implementing schemes supporting the poor (e.g. giving monthly allowance to elderly people, free lunch for all students in the state, free books to all students in form of ipad or ‘Opon Imo’for more than six years now.

If it is true that most kidnappings and armed robberies are acts of reprisal by the poor against oppression by the rich and influential people, attacking Aregbesola’s officials is, indeed, a paradox. Men of the underworld are known to have certain moral principles, rules, regulations and general guidelines for their operations. Aregbesola’s government is a true government of the people and targeting his officials is an irony of fate.

We appeal to the kidnappers to consider the above and let the officials go. We call on the good people of Nigeria in general and particularly the ‘Omoluabi’ people of the State of Osun to don their prayer gowns from this moment for these innocent officials. Let us pray for their early and safe release. Let us pray for the families of the victims who are presently in trauma. Let us also pray for our country, Nigeria. Let us pray for peace and security. Let us pray for the return of the glory of our land.

As we round up, we appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on steps aimed at alleviating poverty in this country. We charge Ogbeni Aregbesola not to be disappointed that the poor people for whom he has been fighting so passionately are the same people who have kidnapped his own officials.


We remind him that the nose is a wicked sensory organ, it can neither perceive the sweet aroma of saints nor smell the offensive odour of evil doers. Had this been possible, the kidnappers would never have touched anyone working for Aregbesola. This sad incident will soon be over by the Good Grace of Allah but Ogbeni must not relent in his good works for the poor masses.       

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

Monday, April 18, 2016

FG SHOULD LEAVE RELIGIOUS STUDIES INTACT



19th April, 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
FG SHOULD LEAVE RELIGIOUS STUDIES INTACT  

There are indications that the Federal Government (FG) is planning to collapse Bible Knowledge (BK), Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) and Civil Education into a single subject.  

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warns the FG to leave both BK and IRK alone as separate subjects. The plan to marry them into a single subject with Civil Education is an ill wind that will blow no one any good.       

Such a plan can only be the handiwork of confusionists and apostles of the misleading concept of secularism. The Federal Ministry of Education should therefore look before it leaps. It will be a disaster of monumental proportion to merge those subjects.


There is also a legal angle to the planned move. It contravenes both the letter and spirit of Section 38 (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates religious instruction in own religion in schools.

The sub-section states inter alia, “No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction …if such instruction …relates to a religion other than his own, or a religion not approved by his parent or guardian.”

We are therefore constrained to put it to the Federal Ministry of Education that its purported plan to merge BK, IRK and Civil Education into one subject is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. The plan should therefore be put in abeyance.


Authors of this sinister plan should tell us how any subject teacher can effectively handle BK, IRK and Civil Education together all at once and in a single class? What educational qualification would such a teacher have attained and from which university? This plan can only succeed in confusing our young ones.


Our policy makers love to build castles in the air. They also love to entangle the citizenry in the abyss of complicated conceptualization. Why not make things as simple as possible for everybody to understand? Why are we always changing from one policy to another like a camellion? We have lost count of the number of times the Federal Ministry of Education has changed the curriculum.


Yet such changes have not improved the levels of delivery, perspicacity and performance. A standard six certificate holder of the 50s is better than a university graduate of today. Some graduates cannot form simple sentences and you need to keep stress-relieving drugs by your side if you have to read materials authored by new ‘Jambites’.


By the way, what is the rationale behind the plan to merge BK, IRK and Civil Education at a time when moral standards are falling everywhere in the world? Why must we play ‘super bureaucrats’ with religious subjects when FG is waging a war against corruption?


From where will the citizens draw their spiritual strength if we have already destroyed the foundation of the citizens’ individual religions. Every religion has its special appeal and that appeal resides in its peculiarity. There will be nothing special left after a merger. Nothing. This proposed merger will be the last nail in the coffin of morality.  


The current rush for science and technology must be pursued with caution. While we admit that both science and technology are crucial to human development, we call attention to the dangers inherent in full concentration on material development at the expense of balanced spiritual growth. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are bitter memoirs of misuse of technology. The 9/11 attack, the wars around the globe and the attendant humanitarian disaster are eloquent testimonies of the abuse of technology.


Both science and technology need some form of control and mankind can only find the effective control in religion. Science without religion is a wild, ferocious dog. It has the propensity to bite indiscriminately, including its own master.


It is true that we need science and technology, but the moral subjects are necessary as bulwark against misuse of scientific discoveries. Ditto for the rush to read accounting, banking and finance, law, etc. Why are huge sums of money always missing despite the existence of hundreds of accountants and auditors? Even self-confessed armed robbers escape justice if they have access to clever lawyers.

In conclusion, we advise the Federal Ministry of Education to put on hold its plan to collapse BK, IRK and Civil Education into one subject. If the FG educates Nigerians without a special place for religion, it will only succeed in producing clever devils.


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

Monday, April 11, 2016

JONATHAN NOT FINISHED WITH NIGERIA? AN EXPENSIVE JOKE



12th April, 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
JONATHAN NOT FINISHED WITH NIGERIA?
AN EXPENSIVE JOKE  

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was recently quoted as saying that he had not yet finished with Nigeria.      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) takes this statement with a pinch of salt. It is an expensive joke. Coming at a time when Nigeria faces fuel shortages and poor electricity output, the former president must have read the signs upside down.

Jonathan’s latest remark is pregnant with meanings. It exposes the cunning subterfuge behind the reluctant handover of power on May 29, 2015. That handover was never meant to be and the ex-president had meticulously laid landmines on all paths that led to Aso Rock.

A vivid example is the twilight appointments and sacks ordered by Jonathan on the eve of his exit from office. He was deliberately packing the civil service with his own loyalists in order to make things difficult for the incoming administration. Jonathan at the time was not thinking or building Nigeria. He was destroying his fatherland.

Another glaring instance is the refusal of the Jonathan administration to pay oil marketers thereby amassing debts for the incoming Buhari regime. Nigerians will recall that oil marketers refused to lift oil by the middle of May 2015. There were long queues at filling stations all over the country and a liter of petrol sold for as high as N300. It was a well-rehearsed maneuver to scuttle the incoming administration and a cruel parting gift.

This explains the recent fuel crisis and Jonathan’s statement which coincided with the fuel shortage was a coded message. But the wind has blown and we have seen the ruff of the hen. Nigerians are not fools. They remember ‘the evil that men do’.


Jonathan’s party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) supervised the destruction of the Nigerian economy for sixteen years. They turned Nigeria into an orange, squeezed out all the juice and left nothing but the peel for the Buhari regime. That is why we are where we are today.


However, the new regime is picking the seeds and replanting them. Seeds do not grow into trees overnight. That is why Nigerians need to be patient with the Buhari administration. We just cannot afford to go back to those who wasted this generation. There is very little choice in rotten apples.


We disagree with those who ask President Muhammadu Buhari to abandon the war against corruption. We believe that this is a war that must be fought to a logical conclusion if we must save coming generation from ruination. The fight against corruption is a priority and it must be steadily prosecuted because corruption is at the root of all challenges facing Nigeria today.


What is killing the power sector? Why can’t Nigeria fix its roads? What is responsible for falling standards in education?  Why have our hospitals turned into public mortuaries? Why are Nigeria’s gallant security agents unable to nip crime in the bud? Why are Nigerian judges compromising on matters of principle? Why can’t the average Nigerian get three square meals per day?


 It is all due to the cancer called corruption. Cancer destroys anything it touches. It also spreads fast and only a good surgeon will remove a cancerous tumor to save the rest of the body. Nigeria is bedridden with the cancer of corruption. Let the surgery operation continue otherwise total collapse of the anatomy will follow.

    
That is why we cannot consider the possibility of Jonathan’s return to mainstream Nigerian politics. This is a man under whom massive plundering of Nigeria’s economy took place and he did not bat an eyelid. What did Jonathan do despite loud outcries against former aviation minister’s scandalous purchase of bullet proof cars? What did he do about the fatal immigration recruitment exercise?


Jonathan’s reaction to the monumental kleptomania during his administration was to institutionalize corruption. He dined with drug barons, hobnobbed with ex-convicts and dashed out our national honours to bail-jumpers on a platter of gold.


He said stealing was not corruption. He followed up this preposterous statement by describing public officials as goats and the tax payers’ money as yam! He reportedly said “You cannot stop a goat from eating yam”. So the ‘impossible’ task of keeping a goat away from eating yam became Jonathan’s parable of corruption. Jonathan is an interesting study for political scientists.  


It is just two days to the anniversary of the abduction of more than 200 Chibok girls. Those girls would have been found had Jonathan reacted early enough. The whole Northern Nigeria would have been history had Jonathan won a second term going by his lackadaisical attitude to the war on insurgency. Allowing $2.1 billion arms money to be frittered away during his administration is culpable treason.


How then can Jonathan be thinking of coming back for an unfinished business? Nigerians are chanting ‘Bring back our girls’! Jonathan and PDP are singing ‘Bring Back Corruption’! It is unacceptable. We reject any attempt to bring back corruption. We denounce Jonathan’s glorification of stealing and his trivialisation of kleptomania.


What is Jonathan coming back for? What did he do with Nigeria’s money when Nigeria was producing 2.4 million barrels per day and selling at $93.61 per barrel. He was making $224 million per day, $81billion per annum (a whopping N12.8 trillion naira)). What did he do with that money? Where is Niger Bridge? Where are Ore-Benin and Lagos-Ibadan Expressways? How much of all that money did he save? So come back for what?


Let no one be under any illusion that corrupt public officials should be treated with kid gloves just to please saboteurs and bourgeoisie cabals. Islamic liberation theology rejects economic oppression. We will rather be free men in our graves than live as puppets and slaves. The fact remains that greedy people will never willingly let go one kobo from their massive loots unless ‘by fire by thunder’. Neither will there be any genuine moral reformation in this country unless thieves who plundered our common wealth are made scapegoats.


Nigeria’s current setbacks are temporary. It is corruption fighting back. Bad times do not last but strong men do. How do you shoot an arrow from a bow? Is it not by bending the bow backwards? We are simply bending back our bow to shoot the arrow. Nigeria is not finished. We are not finished except with looters and clueless leaders.


Not finished with Nigeria? We advise Jonathan to perish the dream. In what capacity is he coming back? To pick the annual million naira cutleries he forgot in Aso Rock or to finish the job of rocking the Rock? Not finished with Nigeria? This must be a joke and an expensive one at that. The truth is that if Jonathan thinks he has not finished with Nigeria, Nigeria is finished with Jonathan.


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