Wednesday, September 17, 2014
17th September, 2014
CASH-LOADED JET AND WEAPONS DEAL: IT IS A CONSPIRACY AGAINST MUSLIMS
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor was alleged to have admitted ownership of a private jet seized last weekend by South African authorities. The aircraft was stashed with $9.3 million in cash meant for arms purchase. In the same vein, the Federal Government (FG) issued a statement yesterday admitting ownership of the cash. Oritsejafor has sought to extenuate the deal by claiming that the jet was hired out by Eagle Air in which the pastor himself has “residual interest”.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is alarmed by this scandalous development. We have every reason to reject FG’s explanation and it is hereby rejected. Government is being economical with the truth. We suspect a grand conspiracy against Nigerian Muslims in this latest revelation.
Nigerian Muslims are enveloped with apprehension. All the ingredients of a plot are here for those who care to look beyond their noses. In a country in which two religions are most prominent and are hot rivals of each other, here is the national leader of a religious group who also happens to be the president’s kinsman, an undisguised Muslim hater, a man with a belligerent disposition towards his Muslim neighbours, a man who has been threatening hell and brimstone over the Boko Haram saga. Tie this to the Israeli connection, a country well known for its anti-Muslim and mass murder propensities. It raises more questions than answers.
For instance, was the intended arms purchase really meant for the Nigerian Armed Forces? What is the guaranty that it was not meant for Niger Delta militants, or Christian crusaders masquerading as Boko Haram? Afterall, under-the-table assistance for Boko Haram has been noticed in the past. Where did the arms and food drops for Boko Haram by helicopters come from? Only the Israelis are capable of doing that.
MURIC is shocked by the huge amount involved: $9.3 million! Conservatively, $1m is N163m. $9.3m is therefore N1,514,502,583.61 at the current exchange rate of N163 to $1. It is very disturbing for this to be happening in a country bedeviled by serious security challenges bordering on religious rivalry and ethnic jingoism. There is definitely something sinister about all these.
We assert that Nigerian Muslims are not safe any longer. We are not safe in the hands of Israeli military advisers breathing down the neck of the Nigerian government and encouraging it to arm the Christians to the teeth. The fate of Nigerian Muslims is therefore not certain.
We have lost confidence in FG and its security agencies, particularly with the involvement of Israel. Islamic scholars are disappearing at will all over the country.
Recruitment exercises into the security outfits favour Christians even in Muslim dominated areas. President Jonathan has just concluded a national conference whose composition was lopsided and in favour of Christians. FG relies heavily on Israel, a well-known anti-Muslim country for its security matters. Palpable fear of religious cleansing has therefore gripped Muslims.
Whole Muslim communities are already being wiped out in the North East under the guise of ‘Boko Haram’. Just two months ago, 34 Muslims who were followers of Shaykh Ibrahim Alzakzaky were massacred by soldiers in Zaria and nothing has been heard of it.
MURIC calls on the National Assembly to save Nigeria from total disintegration. This jet and cash story is a scandal of monumental proportion and it must not be swept under the carpet. The National Assembly must intervene in order to calm nerves.
This is not the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob. It is the hand of President Jonathan and the voice of Oritsejafor. There is an unholy union here. An aircraft owned by a war-mongering and current national president of CAN, the cash is being claimed by a Christian-led, Muslim-repressing government, there is more to this than meets the eye. We are no longer safe.
MURIC demands the termination of all security deals with the Israelis in Aso Rock, the seat of government. It is too dangerous to involve a country like Israel, an anti-Muslim country in the security matters of a country like Nigeria, deeply polarized by religious sentiments. Only a government with an anti-Muslim agenda will do such a thing. It is time for the Israelis to be kept at bay regarding key security issues in Nigeria.
We advise President Jonathan to change his tactics, to integrate Muslims into his government, to stop the political marginalization of Muslims, to review the Christian-loaded recruitment into the security agencies, to probe the disappearance of Islamic scholars and the killing of Muslims in Zaria and to balance the sharing of the dividends of democracy between Christians and Muslims.
We warn that the lopsided recruitment into the security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army in the past three years, smacks of a more sinister plot to systematically wipe out Nigerian Muslims through extra-judicial killings.
We draw the attention of the international community to acts of pro-Christian favouritism and anti-Muslim practices of President Jonathan. The Nigerian leader is deliberately dividing his citizens along religious lines.
MURIC affirms that it seeks peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. We are prepared to live with our neighbours. We urge those fanning the embers of war and amassing weapons to remember the plight of Liberia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Bosnia Herzegovina, etc. The ravages of war, the sufferings of millions of innocent young and old are better imagined than experienced.
Finally, we appeal to Muslims throughout Nigeria to allow the National Assembly to wade into the matter. Meanwhile, we charge them to remain calm and law-abiding.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
9th September, 2014
MURIC MOURNS IMAM AJISAFE
The death occurred yesterday of Shaykh Mustapha Olayiwola Ajisafe, the Chief Imam of Oshogboland and President-General of the League of Imams and Alfas, South-West, Edo and Delta States. Shaykh Ajisafe died in the evening of yesterday, Monday 8th September, 2014.
He will be buried by 2 p.m. today at his home, in Oshogbo, Osun State.
Until his death, Shaykh Mustapha Ajisafe was a member of the Ulama Committee of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). A brilliant and forthright Islamic scholar, Shaykh Ajisafe has been playing a prominent role in guiding pilgrims from the Southern part of Nigeria during hajj seasons in the past five years.
The deceased will be remembered for his friendliness and warmth and his closeness to the youth. He worked tirelessly for the progress of Yorubaland. He promoted peaceful coexistence among different religious and ethnic groups. His death will leave a yawning gap in the Muslim community of Southern Nigeria.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condoles the governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Ataoja of Oshogbo, Oba Jimoh Laranoye II, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the NSCIA, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Muslim community of Southern Nigeria.
We pray that Almighty Allah will repose his soul in Al-Jannah Firdaus and give his family and close associates the strength to bear this irreparable loss.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, August 25, 2014
25th August, 2014
BOKO HARAM CALIPHATE IS A MIRAGE
The leader of the Boko Haram insurgents, Abubakar Shekau, yesterday declared Gwoza as Boko Haram’s caliphate. Gwoza is a part of Borno State that was overrun by the insurgents a few days ago.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hereby totally and unequivocally reject this declaration. We reaffirm our faith in the unity and indissolubility of Nigeria.
Almighty Allah says, “Oh you who believe, obey Allah, His Messenger and those in position of authority.” (Qur’an 4:59). Islam therefore commands obedience to constituted authority but Boko Haram has chosen disobedience to and belligerence towards the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Whereas Boko Haram members are aware that the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III is the indisputable leader of all Nigerian Muslims, they have refused to heed all his appeals. Instead of giving honour to Muslim leaders and Emirs, Boko Haram has killed some of them and attacked some others.
Whereas all-encompassing education is one of the basic tenets of Islam (Qur’an 96:1-5), Boko Haram forbids Western education. Whereas the Prophet (SAW) in the hadith commands education for all, Boko Haram seeks to alienate women from education.
Again, whereas the Prophet (SAW) honoured the girl-child and commanded his followers to do same, Boko Haram kidnaps and enslaves young and innocent girls thereby exposing them to wild life and subjecting them to unimaginable psychological trauma.
Boko Haram’s declaration is a statement of secession. It must not be allowed. Gwoza must be liberated within days. Boko Haram or no Boko Haram, we cannot compromise the territorial integrity of Nigeria to anyone, no matter how barbaric.
We also charge the Nigerian Armed Forces to be more focused from this moment. Boko Haram must be flushed out with microscopic accuracy from all the villages occupied in Borno State. But there is a caveat: it must be done professionally so that innocent civilians do not fall victims.
MURIC calls attention to the declaration of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in which they outlawed Boko Haram and declared its practices outrageous and unacceptable in Islam.
From its latest statement, it is clear that Boko Haram is emulating the Islamic State in Iraq (ISIS) which declared a phantom caliphate a few months ago. It is didactic that world Muslim bodies have also rejected ISIS because of its unIslamic practices and its open and inhuman hostility towards its Christian population.
Gwoza Caliphate is definitely not the caliphate which we desire. Unlike that of ISIS and Boko Haram, the caliphate of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) which he established in Madinah was based on justice, love and peaceful coexistence.
MURIC therefore rejects Boko Haram’s caliphate. It is a mirage. It exists only in the figment of Shekau’s imagination. Like a good surgeon who will not hesitate to amputate a rotten limb from a patient’s anatomy, MURIC urges President Jonathan to immediately don the garb of a good surgeon.
Finally, we assure all Nigerians that Muslims want to live in peace and tranquility with their Christian neighbours and their traditionalist brothers and sisters in one and indivisible Nigeria. We have come a long way together so we will not emulate butchers of men. Islam strengthens humanity. It does not debase it.
Neither shall we listen to those who ask us to kill people of Western origin in our midst. We affirm that Islam is a universal religion. It does not hate on the basis of race, colour or sex. We therefore assure all foreigners in the country that they have nothing to fear from mainstream Muslims. We appreciate their presence in our midst and we will continue to honour them as our Prophet (SAW) commanded us to do.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Saturday, August 23, 2014
24th August, 2014
HARRASSMENT OF DAILY TRUST JOURNALISTS BY THE MILITARY: THREAT TO FREE SPEECH
Soldiers on Thursday invaded the Maiduguri offices of the Daily Trust after a story published by the paper on Wednesday alleged that Nigerian soldiers had refused orders to fight Boko Haram militants with their bare hands. Two managers of the paper, Jamilu Aliyu and Aminu Ado were detained for one hour at the army headquarters in Maiduguri.
The military later released a statement that said the Daily Trust should retract the story and, in the future, contact the military for any story on the army or national security or face sanctions. However, Nigerian Army spokesperson has since denied that any sanction was being planned against the newspaper.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) calls on the Nigerian military to regard cordial relation with the press as crucial in the war against insurgents. It is high time the Nigerian military realized that any war at all has three fronts: the battle field per se, public opinion at home and the opinion of the international community. It is only in the first front that weapons and soldiers feature. The rest is in the hands of the press.
Soldiers may win battles, it is the press that wins the war for them or vice versa. Of course the attitude of the press is largely informed by the military’s professional or unprofessional prosecution of the war.
The storming of Daily Trust office in Maiduguri falls in the category of the unprofessional. It was also unjust because Daily Trust was not the primary source of the report as it was first broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). MURIC strongly condemns this invasion. It is an undeniable symptom of dictatorship of the left. It was barbaric, unethical and in bad taste.
For improved relations between the press and the military, we suggest that future operations against insurgents should be conducted with the embedding of journalists. This will conform with international best practices. It is well known that journalists are often embedded in military convoys during advances on enemy targets in civilized countries and we see no reason why the Nigerian military cannot do it.
The fact that the two Daily Trust reporters who were arrested by the army were told to stop criticizing the military speaks volumes. The Nigerian military should realize that Gestapo tactics have become unpopular, archaic and myopic.
Those who muzzle the press have more than something to hide. It is sad that other democratic institutions remain quiet when these atrocities are committed. The National Assembly should wake up from its slumber because democracy cannot thrive where the press is gagged.
MURIC calls on the Nigerian military to respect Allah-given and fundamental rights of the press. Only thus can the freedom of the press be guaranteed. As a civilian institution and the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the press must be recognized by the military as a partner and not as an enemy or a rival.
The Nigerian press has assisted in enabling government to know about problems facing the military particularly in the area of needs. It was after the Nigerian press reported the problem of poor funding and crude weaponry that the Federal Government rose to the occasion. The same reports also enabled the international community to know the problems facing the Nigerian Army.
Consequently, Western powers have donated several modern equipments like bomb-detecting robots from the United States and jet bombers from Britain. This reveals that the Nigerian Army has started benefitting from the labour of the Nigerian press. How then can one good turn deserve invasion and arrest?
MURIC gives kudos to the two brave journalists from the Daily Trust. We urge them to regard the experience as part of the hazards of their noble profession. We charge the Nigerian press in general to remain as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.
We call on the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to file a complaint on the constant intimidation of its members before the presidency and the National Assembly. NUJ must be ready to sue the military for these constant infringements if government fails to take any action on their complaint.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Friday, August 15, 2014
15th August, 2014
SACK OF RESIDENT DOCTORS:
MURIC APPEALS TO FG TO REVISIT ACTION
Nigerian resident doctors who have been on strike since July 1, 2014 were sacked on Wednesday 13th August, 2014 by the Federal Government (FG). According to government sources, the strike has compounded the health crisis in the country. The FG argued that the striking doctors had rejected all moves to end the strike. The sack affected about 16,000 resident doctors.
It is not too difficult for the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) to understand where members of the Nigerian Medical Council (NMA) are coming from. With the deteriorating health situation in the country coupled with the presence of archaic health facilities in the public health sector, NMA as a union is seeking improvement in health delivery.
It is on record that NMA leadership raised the alarm last year concerning the implications of manpower flight. The body complained that out of the total number of registered doctors which stood at 65,000 in 2013, only 25,000 are practicing in Nigeria and this is the number that attends to 170 million Nigerians. 40,000 qualified and registered Nigerian medical doctors are practicing outside Nigeria.
We regard this development as pathetic, unfortunate and appalling. MURIC is of the opinion that those who chose to stay behind for love of their country deserve better treatment.
MURIC is disturbed by FG’s poor response to the allocation to and provision of sufficient funds for the health sector. Whereas the 2001 Abuja Declaration stipulates that 15% of every African country’s budget should be devoted to the health sector, FG allocated a paltry 4% to the sector in 2011, 5% in 2012, 6.04% in 2013 and even reduced the allocation to the sector in 2014. The N262.74 billion budget for the health sector in 2014 represents a 6.7 percent decrease against the 2013 allocation of N273billion.
The result is quite glaring in terms of health challenges in Nigeria. Whereas by 2013 life span in Japan was 82.6 years and in America it is 78 years, it is still 48 years in Nigeria.
The scenario sends the red signal when one considers the poor data in the health sector. For instance, 30 million Nigerians are hypertensive. 4 million suffer from diabetes. Pneumonia kills 130,000 Nigerians yearly. Malaria kills 4,500 pregnant women yearly in Nigeria alone. 400,000 Nigerians are infected by tuberculosis while 32 million Nigerians have river blindness.
The maternal mortality ratio is bad enough to shoot up the adrenalin. Whereas the MDG sets a ratio of 75 deaths only per every 100,000 pregnant women, Nigeria’s ratio is 948 per 100,000.
As a result, 52,000 Nigerian women die annually from maternal mortality. Why should 145 women die during childbirth on a daily basis in Nigeria alone when only 6 out of 100,000 die annually in Canada and an average of 9 in every 100,000 yearly in the United States?
Nigerian children are the worst victims of our poor health delivery system. Malaria kills 300,000 Nigerian children annually. As if that is not enough for our children, Nigeria’s figure is the highest among the 3.5 million world children who die annually from diarrhea and other infections.
Whereas the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) aspires to 30 per 1000 live births or 64 per every 1,000 by the year 2015, Nigeria’s rate is 115 per 1,000. Under-5 mortality is worse as it stands at 210 per 1,000.
MURIC therefore advises FG to revisit its decision to sack 16,000 resident doctors. If we sack 16,000 doctors, it leaves only 9,000 doctors to attend to 170 million Nigerians. It is paradoxical coming at a time when the nation faces the Ebola saga.
The decision to sack is therefore rash, reckless and ill-advised. The international community must be laughing its head off by now. We therefore appeal to FG to recall the doctors for the survival of 170 million Nigerians.
Flexing muscles will not solve the problem at a time like this. One does not cut off his head because of headache. What next after the sack? Is FG going to import doctors from the US or from Canada? Those ones will not want to risk their lives by coming to Nigeria when ebola is ravaging the population.
Can we think of getting doctors from Liberia or Sierra Leone? This sack will not only complicate matters, it will also endanger the lives of millions of Nigerians.
Yet NMA must not abdicate its responsibility to lead the nation at this critical stage when we are all faced with the threat of annihilation a la Ebola. The medical profession belongs to the humanitarian arena. NMA should have been more responsive particularly with the outbreak of Ebola.
How can it be reasonable for firefighters to go on strike when whole cities are on fire? MURIC appeals to the NMA leadership to exhibit greater sense of sacrifice and patriotism. It should therefore call off the strike as soon as the FG recalls the sacked doctors. The agitation can start afresh when the Ebola emergency is lifted.
Finally, MURIC urges all Nigerian ex-heads of State, the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Union (NLC) and all other stakeholders to intervene in this crucial matter and save our country from imminent self-destruction. Both sides appear to have taken extreme measures in the conflict and compromise must emerge from either side in the interest of the common man.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
12th August, 2014
OSHUN 2014: AREGBESOLA’S VICTORY IS PREGNANT WITH LESSONS
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, winner of the Osun 2014 gubernatorial election held on Saturday, 9th August, 2014, having scored 394,684 votes. He defeated his main opponent, Senator Iyiola Omisore of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 292, 747 votes. With this official outcome, Aregbesola has won a second term in office as governor of the State of Osun. Ceteris paribus, Aregbesola will rule the state for the next four years (2014 – 2018).
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) congratulates Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola for this resounding victory. He has exhibited high level of faith in the Supreme Creator and, like Daud (David, peace be upon him) in front of Jalut (Goliath), he manifested unusual bravery in the face of state-sponsored political terrorism. We salute INEC for its meticulousness, impartiality and high level professionalism. We also felicitate with the good people of Osun who stood resolutely by the side of truth even in the face of invasion a la Mussolini.
Ogbeni’s victory is pregnant with lessons. There are lessons here for Nigerian politicians, for the Nigerian citizens, for the press, for the practitioners of social media, for the adherents of Christianity and Islam, for the security agents and for the victims of fascism.
The outcome of this election has shown Nigerian politicians that one good term deserves another. Ogbeni’s 20,000 jobs within his first 100 days, free lunch and free uniforms for school children, N10,000 monthly for senior citizens in the state, his new school buildings, his macadam roads, his O’Yes programmes, etc were too much to be ignored.
These achievements opened the eyes of the Osun electorate. It raised their political awareness. They could separate the wheat from the chaff, the down-to-earth politician from the hypocrites and parasites, the grassroot politicians from the political shenanigans and the men-of-the-people from the capitalist comprador bourgeoisie.
For the citizens of Osun, Ogbeni’s victory has vindicated their resolve. They have learnt that it is better to be dead men and women in the graveyard than living like puppets and slaves. Whereas the flooding of the state was designed to cow them, they refused to be intimidated. If the Gestapo’s tactics of coercion had succeeded, thousands of Ogbeni’s supporters would have preferred to stay indoors on election day for fear of being assaulted, arrested or killed while the supporters of Ogbeni’s main opponent would have flooded the polling booths to clinch undeserved victory.
MURIC therefore gives kudos to the people of Osun, not only did they troop out in large numbers to cast their votes for their beloved candidate, they waited after voting to protect their votes and they refused to leave until after the votes had been counted. They are the true heroes and heroines of Nigeria’s democracy.
In spite of the hostile attitude of some enemies of democracy towards journalists as exemplified by the brutalization of two journalists of Television Continental (TVC), members of the press continued to do their duties until truth prevailed. The lesson for social media practitioners can be seen in their role as the invisible bulwark against election rigging. Election results tweeted and posted on Facebook dwarfed Jalut (Goliath) and rendered any attempt to alter figures ridiculous and infantile. The role of social media in Osun 2014, facilitated by developments in information technology, tends to prove that the days of election rigging are over in Nigeria.
In the same vein, the victims of totalitarian dictatorship must accept their ordeal as the price they had to pay for democracy, for free speech and for the liberty of the Nigerian person. They must see Aregbesola’s victory as the triumph of powerless conscience over conscienceless power.
For the apostles of primordial religious sentiment who always advocate for the retention of political office for either a Christian or Muslim candidate, Ogbeni’s victory is a monumental lesson. Abdul Rauf Aregbesola has never hidden his identity as a committed Muslim but he has accorded due recognition to Christianity and traditional religion. As a Muslim leader, he has shown Nigerians that it is not the leader’s religion that matters, it is the values which he pursues in office.
Therefore Nigerians must no longer allow themselves to be misled by those who canvass for candidates or those who campaign against them on the basis of religion. MURIC advises Nigerians to either cast their votes for patriotic, altruistic and Christ-like Christians or knowledgeable and practicing Muslims.
Finally, MURIC rejects President Jonathan’s excuse for flooding the State of Osun with security agents simply because of the need to maintain law and order. We assert that this excuse is an afterthought. We cannot accept the Commander-in-Chief’s explanation because he has failed to explain why some of the soldiers wore masks. From all indications, Osun 2014 was designed to be a fait accompli.
Neither has the president commented on the massive arrest of members of the opposition on the eve of election, particularly the spokesman of the APC, Alhaji Lai Muhammed. That is a crime against democracy. It is an assault on the liberty-loving people of Osun. It is an attempted civilian coup. The president is offering the excuse now because the coup apparently failed woefully. It should never be repeated again.
Another reason for rejecting President Jonathan’s explanation is that, except to the mischievous, the undiscerning and the blind, Mr. President comes across as reactionary and undemocratic in disposition.
Two out of many examples will suffice for now: his recognition of Governor Jonah Jang who scored 16 votes against 19 scored by Governor Rotimi Amechi in the Governors’ Forum election about one year ago. Secondly, whereas Muslim leaders met President Jonathan to complain about the lopsidedness in the composition of the National Conference whose membership tilted strongly towards Christians and he promised to review the situation, Mr. President has failed to keep the promise of review to this day.
We assert that true democrats respect numerical superiority. Neither do they change the simple principles of mathematics. Leaders who walk their talk earn respect, others demand it. Nigerians must therefore replicate the Osun model as we approach 2015. What we need is not religion. It is a God-fearing man from any religion. What we need is good governance.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Salaam All, sequel to several requests from Muslim brothers and sisters expressing their desire to join MURIC, we hereby reveal to you that all Muslims have the right to be members. To enjoy this right and become a full member, please go to:
Click on join and follow the instructions.
Caveat: this message is for Muslims only. It is fraudulent to claim to be one if you are not really a Muslim.