Wednesday, April 23, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: CAN IS BLACKMAILING NATIONAL CONFERENCE


23rd April, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
CAN IS BLACKMAILING NATIONAL CONFERENCE

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday accused Justice Idris Kutigi, Chairman of the National Conference, of religious bias against Christians in the appointment of chairmen of committees.

Speaking through Sunny Oibe, its Director on National Affairs, CAN in a press statement issued on Tuesday complained about the composition of the committee on religion which CAN claimed is chaired by Alhaji Nurudeen Lemu.

Perhaps we should start by raising a point of correction. The committee on religion is co-chaired by a Christian and a Muslim, not just by a Muslim. The Christian co-chairman is Bishop Felix Ajakaiye.

We are perturbed that a religious body can openly indulge in subterfuge. CAN has deliberately ignored the macro to focus on the microcosm. CAN should tell the world the number of Christians and the number of Muslims at the national conference.

How can a body which takes the lion share of 303 complain about bias in favour of a group that has 189? It beats imagination. There is only one logical conclusion here, namely, that CAN is playing smart, blackmailing the national conference to ensure a win-win situation.

Where exactly is the injustice done to CAN? The committee on religion has two chairmen: a Muslim and a Christian. Imagine CAN disowning the Christian co-chairman, Bishop Felix Ajakaiye and the Christian member, Jonathan Obaje. It is laughable. CAN claims its co-chairman is representing Ekiti State at the confab and not CAN! Yet this co-chairman bears the title ‘bishop’. What is CAN’s problem?

It further goes to prove the Muslims right. MURIC had complained that Christians dominate the delegates from the South West and that Christian clerics were selected as Yoruba delegates. Ironically, Bishop Felix Ajakaiye who is representing Ekiti State is now being rejected by CAN. The question we should ask CAN is who would the bishop vote for in case of a division? Will he vote in favour of the Muslims? The world can now see who is being too clever by half.

Christians have an oppressively overwhelming majority of 303 while Muslims in the conference are just 189. Although the Muslims have gone crying to the father of the nation, President Jonathan, who promised to do something about it, nothing has been done weeks after the promise. While the Muslims are waiting patiently for the president to do justice, CAN deems it a good ploy to cry wolf again where there is none just to blackmail everyone into silence and retain the status quo.

CAN is simply showing the world that the best form of defence is to attack but only fools are deceived when the pot calls the kettle black. It is left to the conscience of the leadership of the national conference and the honourable delegates to decide whether or not they will allow themselves to be railroaded into submission.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) advises CAN to desist from causing distraction. A national conference is a more serious affair. CAN must cultivate the spirit of give and take. A winner-takes-all attitude must not be allowed to dominate affairs in a forum which is originally designed to engender harmony. It is a place for true patriots. CAN’s latest outcry is an attempt to divert attention from real issues.

A Daniel has come to justice. The pedigree of the duo of Justice Kutigi and Professor Bolaji Akinyemi is reassuring enough except for doubting Thomases and unrepentant cynics. The conference secretariat should go about its normal duty.

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


Sunday, April 20, 2014

STOP GENOCIDE AGAINST FULANIS


21st April, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
STOP GENOCIDE AGAINST FULANIS

Heavily armed men of the Nigerian Army allegedly drove in a convoy of ten Hilux vans on 2nd April, 2014 to Kadarko and Rugar Ardo Sodangi settlements of Keana Local Government, Nasarawa State. They were alleged to have descended on a small group of mourners of Fulani descent. They shot all of them. Fifteen (15) people of Fulani extraction lay dead at the end of the operation. Three (3) were badly injured.

We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), keen on the need to maintain peace and harmony in Nigeria, are deeply concerned particularly as this tragic scenario constitutes the emerging pattern in several parts of Northern Nigeria, particularly in Plateau, Benue and Adamawa.

Cattle-grazing is not new in this country and it had been very peaceful in the past. But recently there appears to be a kind of organized resistance and stereotyping of the Fulani herdsmen. This is what we find disturbing.

Witnesses have reportedly confirmed that efforts at reconciliation between Fulani herdsmen and their neighbours have always been frustrated by external forces who perpetrate fresh killings just when peace accords have either been signed or were about to be signed.

The testimony given by the Osana of Keana, Dr. Emmanuel Elayo also buttresses our suspicion. He expressed displeasure at the way his subjects were massacred. He confirmed that the leader of the troops told him that the operation was led by his superior and that he could not intervene. He added that all calls to head of security agencies in the state did not yield result.

MURIC finds all these disturbing. We wonder if we are not witnessing some kind of ethnic cleansing with the Fulani as the main target.

This will have grave consequences for the security question in Nigeria and the country’s corporate existence. It is also very likely to cause ricochets not only in the West African sub-region but also across other parts of the African continent particularly East Africa and the Sudan where the Fulani have roots dating back to centuries.

In essence, Nigeria may be promoting regional tension. This is capable of affecting our relationship with countries in the region. Backlashes against non-Fulani Nigerians doing businesses in those places may become inevitable.

The Nigerian Muslim community as a stakeholder in nation-building is also aware of the symbiotic relationship between the Fulani and the religion of Islam and, by extension, the Muslim Ummah of Nigeria. Any hostile act against the Fulani is therefore an indirect attack on Muslims. Genocide aimed at the Fulani is indubitably mass killing of Muslims. It is war against Islam.

MURIC will not stand akimbo while its members are being haunted from pillar to post. We therefore strongly condemn the callous, criminal and barbaric act of those men in army uniform who massacred innocent Fulanis.
We affirm that herdsmen have the right to graze their cattle. It is the duty of the state and Federal Governments to ensure that grazing grounds are provided where farmlands will not be in danger of being destroyed. This has been the practice for decades and we are surprised that it is now becoming an issue.

We call on the defence committees in the National Assembly to investigate the massacre of the innocent Fulani people of Keana Local Government. We remind the Federal Government that it is its duty to provide protection for all Nigerians including Fulani herdsmen throughout the federation. FG should therefore do the needful. Government has the capacity to stop cattle rustling.

We urge the National Human Rights Commission to investigate this atrocity and come up with its report. Finally, we remind Nigerians that a nation seeking peace cannot afford to target any ethnic group for profiling.

Muslims throughout the country are urged to continue to live in peace with their neighbours and to eschew all acts capable of causing public disorder. We should be guided by the tragedy in Rwanda.

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


Friday, April 18, 2014

ABDUCTION OF 129 CHIBOK SCHOOL GIRLS: ARMY MUST APOLOGISE FOR CHIBOK ABRACADABRA


19th April, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
ABDUCTION OF 129 CHIBOK SCHOOL GIRLS: ARMY MUST APOLOGISE FOR CHIBOK ABRACADABRA

The Nigerian Army claimed on Wednesday 16th April, 2014 that it had rescued 107 out of the 129 girls abducted by suspected Boko Haram insurgents from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

To the dismay of Nigerians, the school principal, Mrs. Asabe Kwambura, denied the report of such rescue operation. Officials of Borno State Government corroborated the denial. An embarrassed Nigerian military quickly retracted its story on Thursday, 17th April, 2014.

It is only in Nigeria that such confusion is condoned. The abduction of girls in their school is a tremendous setback for girl-child education and it should have been treated with more seriousness and high manifestation of professionalism.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) calls attention to the misery and despair of parents of the unfortunate girls. Indeed all Nigerians have shown deep concern over this ugly incident. The huge national psychological trauma is immeasurable. Therefore nobody should trivialize the unprofessional behavior of the Nigerian military.

The army has goofed this time around and it should apologise to Nigerians. This is a democracy and the citizens have the right not only to demand performance but also to insist on true reportage.

It is clear from what happened that there was glaring disconnect between the field and army control room. This is a serious malady. The military is wobbling and fumbling. This is why innocent civilians continue to die everyday in this Boko Haram saga.

MURIC demands public apology from the military for feeding Nigerians with false hope, deepening their despair and causing them immense emotional trauma. We call for immediate commencement of a probe into the military Chibok abracadabra. We charge the defence committees of the National Assembly to perform their oversight function in this matter without any delay.

Who filed in the report from the field? Who received the signal? Who transmitted it and who gave the order for its dissemination to the public? Nigerians have the right to know.

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


NIGERIAN SECURITY AGENTS ARE BIASED AGAINST MUSLIMS



18th April, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
NIGERIAN SECURITY AGENTS ARE BIASED AGAINST MUSLIMS

During a press briefing this week, the spokesperson of the Nigerian State Security Services (SSS) allegedly called on churches around the country to be alert and security conscious.      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) takes this call with a pinch of salt. It exposes the prejudice in Nigeria’s security circles against Muslim faithfuls. It is unprofessional and highly unethical for a security outfit of the status of Nigeria’s SSS to focus its attention on faithfuls of a particular religion. This call is totally out of place. It has hurt the sensitivity of Muslims who already feel oppressed, marginalized and unintegrated.

This does not augur well in a multi-religious country like Nigeria. Security agents must be seen to be neutral. Events in the last few years have proved that Muslims have been exposed to danger just like their Christian counterparts. Muslims have lost more Imams to the misled Boko Haram marauders than Christians have lost their clerics.

Who are those being massacred in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe today? How many Christians were among the 43 boarding house students killed by Boko Haram at the Federal Government College in Yobe State on 25th February, 2014? How many of the 129 girls abducted by Boko Haram on Monday, 14th April, 2014 are Christians?

The truth of the matter is that both Christians and Muslims are victims of the Boko Haram onslaught and the security agencies should treat both groups equally. Both should be given a sense of belonging. Fighting terrorism is a collective effort. Our security agencies should not divide Nigerians along religious lines otherwise the battle will be lost before it begins.

Therefore, instead of calling on churches alone to be security conscious, the SSS spokesperson should have called on all Nigerians to be on alert. It is not people inside churches alone who deserve protection. Afterall, public places are also being attacked. The Nyanya tragedy of Monday, 14th April, 2014 is a glaring example. She might lay emphasis on places of worship, but definitely not churches.

The leadership of Nigerian Muslims came out boldly to call Boko Haram an evil group. He called on righteous men among the Christians and Muslims to come together to fight this evil. This is what we should be doing. Leaders of other Islamic organizations have taken the cue by condemning Boko Haram and its satanic activities. By their body language, Nigerian security agents seem to be giving the Muslims and their leaders a rebuff.

Hundreds of Muslims were recently burned in public in Burma. The killing of Muslims by mobs is still ongoing in the Central African Republic. We have every reason to be alarmed that Nigerian security agencies are showing this kind of bias particularly at a time that a Christian occupies Aso Rock. Are we to assume that this parochial action has the tacit approval of the Nigerian leader?

Are we actually in the era of a Christian president who consistently marginalizes Muslims, openly idolizes Christian clerics and dons the toga of a Christian crusader fighting for the rights of Christian minorities while depriving the Muslim majority the dividends of democracy and its Allah-given and fundamental human rights? Is somebody somewhere using government paraphernalia to repress Muslims?

We remind the SSS and other security agencies that apart from forming an integral and substantial part of the population of this country, Muslims are also tax-payers and they contribute their quota to the growth of the economy. They also voted massively for the government in power today. Therefore Muslims deserve to be protected like their Christian counterparts. Our rights are our rights.

MURIC charges public office holders to guard their utterances because the Nigerian project is extremely fragile. We charge the National Assembly to investigate the mode of recruitment into Nigeria’s security agencies with a view to ensuring a balance between all religious and ethnic groups.

For the records, we call the attention of the international community to the growing dehumanization and suppression of the liberty of the Muslim person and the deliberate attempts to distance Muslims from civic activities in Nigeria.

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


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

SECURITY SITUATION: FG MUST BE MORE PROACTIVE



17th April, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
SECURITY SITUATION: FG MUST BE MORE PROACTIVE

Terrorists bombed Nyanya motorpark on Monday 14th April, 2014 killing scores of innocent people. The next day, about 100 schoolgirls were abducted by insurgents suspected to be Boko Haram fighters. Within the same week, another sizeable number of students on their way to write the JAMB examination were slaughtered by dare-devil criminals.       

All the above atrocities amplify the fact that the Nigerian project is endangered. The security agencies seem to have been engaging in sheer propaganda regarding the war against Boko Haram. We find it quite disturbing that the Boko Haram phenomenon is escalating especially during the month of April which the new army chief promised to end this social cankerworm.

While we condemn the ruthless bombing at Nyanya, the heartless killing of JAMB candidates and the ruthless abduction of school girls, we believe that the Federal Government has not done enough to protect ordinary Nigerians. The spate of bombings and killings also proves that the emergency rule imposed by the Federal Government is not working.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condemns the concentration of the security paraphernalia around ministers, high-ranking politicians and other influential people. It beats our imagination that those who can afford to employ private security details are feeding fat on the jamaheer (poor masses) thereby exposing them to great danger.

It is nauseating that a tiny cabal monopolises the insufficient number of policemen and other security agents. This robs the rest of the Nigerian society of adequate policing and the few security agents who are left are overwhelmed by the pressure of work.

MURIC reminds the Federal Government that the United Nations recommends one policeman for 488 civilians. The Nigeria Police has about 310,177 officers and men while the State Security Services (SSS) has about 33,000 personnel. These figures reflect numerical deficiency because for Nigeria’s population of about 167 million Nigeria needs at least 577,608 policemen. Our police-civilian population ratio today stands at 1.538.

This is grossly inadequate. But the last nail in the coffin of security concerns in this country is the concentration of security apparatus around top government officials and powerful politicians. This is our Achille’s heel and the earlier the Federal Government plugs this yawning lacuna the better.

MURIC advises the Federal Government not to extend the emergency rule. It has only succeeded in impoverishing innocent civilians. In fact emergency rules are becoming anachronistic around the world.

What FG needs to do is to be more proactive. The security agents should focus more on intelligence gathering. More policemen and SSS should be recruited and their welfare should be improved. FG must also spend more money on the army and acquire better weapons. More importantly, the excess security men around the capitalist compradore bourgeoisie should be drastically reduced.

Finally, in view of the fact that security is an all-comers responsibility, we remind Nigerians to be extra-vigilant. Unattended or abandoned bags inside airports, markets and public buildings, strange faces, suspicious behaviours, etc should be reported to security agencies.

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


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MURIC'S MEMORANDUM TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE







                                            From:                     Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
                                                             No. 11, Iba Expressway,
                                                  LASU-Isheri Road,
                                                                             Iba, Lagos State
                                                                              Tel. 08182119714                    
                                                         E-mail: muslimrightsconcern@yahoo.co.uk
                                                           Website: www.muric.net
                                                 Yahoo Group: muslimrights@yahoogroups.com
                                                   Blog: muslimrightsmuric.blogspot.com
                                                   Twitter: muslimrights
To:
The National Conference,
National Judicial Institute,
Mohammed Bello Center,
Adjacent Jabi Junction Fly-over,
 Airport Road,
P.M.B. 5020 Wuse,
Abuja-FCT.

MEMORANDUM OF THE MUSLIM RIGHTS CONCERN (MURIC)
TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE
1.0.0     
GENERAL INTRODUCTION
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is a human rights organization which promotes Allah-given and fundamental rights of Muslims in particular and that of all Nigerians in general. We believe that all human rights were first guaranteed by the Supreme Creator, Allah, before homo sapiens sought to incorporate them in man-made laws. Any infringement on the right of man is therefore a sin before Almighty Allah and a violation of the laws made by men.

MURIC is a pacific organization. We are peace-loving, law-abiding and dialogue-prone. We detest violence and this is why our motto is: ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’. As a major mechanism in our operations, we open dialogue with institutions, employers and agencies in order to intervene on behalf of aggrieved Muslims. This has often doused tension in Nigeria and reduced the incidence of spontaneous violence.

In the anatomy of terrorism, we affirm that there is a symbiotic relationship between provocation, injustice, violence and terrorism. Injustice or denial of rights leads to provocation while the latter leads to violence or acts of terror. Justice is the soul of peace. Those who deny one cannot enjoy the other.

MURIC asserts that the anatomy of terrorism cannot be wholly grasped until we examine the cause-effect theory. Terrorism is mere smoke and as it is well known that there can be no smoke without fire, there can be no act of terror without a reason. We posit that provocation, injustice, oppression and persecution are the fires which cause the smoke called terrorism.

A good firefighter will not point his hose at the smoke (terrorists). He focuses his attention on the fire (those who make provocative statements; officials who stigmatize Muslims and those who deny Muslims the rights enjoyed by others and violate Allah-given and fundamental rights of Muslims). The smoke will disappear the moment the fire is extinguished. Equal rights and justice are the solutions to religious violence and terrorism.

We enumerate below those instances and areas where Muslims are provoked, stigmatized and persecuted.

2.0.0   
2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE
2.1.0    STATEMENT OF FACTS
Of the world population of 7,021,836,029 (July 2012 estimate), Christians are 2.1 billion representing 31.5%, Muslims are 1.6 billion representing 23.2% (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religious_populations) . The religious demography in Nigeria currently stands at 50% Muslim, 40% Christian and Atheists 10% according to http://www.nairaland.com/274676/nigerian-population-muslim-christian-whats. This position is strengthened by the CIA World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html2014). Even those who do not agree that Muslims are in the majority in Nigeria have never said Christians are in the majority. For instance, Wikipedia contends that Nigeria is roughly divided in half between Christians, who mostly live in the South and central parts of the country, and Muslims, concentrated mostly in the North. See
In spite of the above glaring facts, and in spite of pre-national conference assurances, the Federal Government perpetrated open injustice by selecting only 184 Muslims as against 309 Christian delegates. This does not reflect the true population distribution of Nigeria’s religious groups.
2.2.0
 ISSUES FROM THE STATEMENT OF FACTS:
There is no gainsaying the fact that by its failure to ensure equity and justice in the composition of a National Conference which is expected to right wrongs and address burning issues in this country, the Federal Government itself has started on a wrong footing. It has failed to gain the confidence of Muslims who form an integral part of the country. Muslims who are already at the receiving end of the violation of Allah-given and fundamental human rights cannot expect justice from the outcome of the conference

2.3.0 
ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE ISSUE FOR DETERMINATION:
Justice is the soul of peace. Justice must be done in order to give Muslims a sense of belonging. Democracy must be inclusive, not exclusive.
2.4.0. 
RELIEFS AND PRAYERS SOUGHT:
We seek two reliefs.
2.4.1  
Firstly, no matter how far the conference has gone, additional number of Muslims should be invited to join the national conference. This may be a token number of at least 50. This is in line with the promise made by President Goodluck Jonathan when a Muslim delegation met him to complain about the lopsidedness in the composition of delegates to the national conference.
2.4.2 
Secondly, the principle of equal representation between Christians and Muslims must be observed in appointments to all committees of the national conference.
3.0.0
FREEDOM OF RELIGION:
3.1.0
INTRODUCTION
Although the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria affirms freedom of religion in principle, Nigerian Muslims have found this to be deceitful as they are confronted on a daily basis with religious discrimination, persecution and denial of their Allah-given and fundamental human rights.

3.2.0
STATEMENT OF FACTS:
3.2.1.
HARRASSMENT OF MUSLIMS BY IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS:
We state by way of example how the fundamental rights of Muslims are encroached upon in Immigration offices all over the country. Immigration officials engage in regular stereotyping of Muslims who apply for international passports. They intimidate Muslims particularly at the point of taking pictures in the following ways:

1.     Muslim males are ordered to remove their caps;
2.     Imams are coerced into removing their turbans;
3.     Bearded Muslims are compelled to shave or trim their beards;
4.     Hijab-wearing Muslim women are made to remove their hijabs
5.     Or ordered to draw their hijab backwards to reveal their ears.

3.2.2
INTIMIDATION OF MUSLIMS BY OFFICIALS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION

Like their counterparts in the immigration department, officials of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) openly usurp Allah-given and fundamental rights of Muslims by insisting that Muslim women must remove their hijabs while they order Muslim males to remove their caps and turbans. Worse still, they refuse to register Muslim names and insist on using the middle names supplied by Muslims. MURIC’s Save-Our-Soul petition to NIMC office was ignored for several days of the tyrannical exercise in 2003 until Muslims were constrained to stage peaceful protests to the NIMC office. The same apartheid treatment is being meted out to Muslims in the ongoing 2014 I. D. card registration exercise.  

3.3.0
ISSUES FROM THE STATEMENTS OF FACTS:
As a result of this obnoxious and illegal practice, thousands of Muslims have been scared away from applying for travelling documents. By discriminating against Muslims in the Immigration department, the former are robbed of immense opportunities in the areas of education, economic empowerment, international exposure, etc. Also, by ordering Muslims to jettison their religious identities before their pictures can be captured and rejecting Muslim names in their records, NIMC officials succeed in falsifying Nigeria’s demographic data in favour of Christianity.
3.4.0
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES:
There is no law in Nigeria which supports the profiling of Muslims by immigration officials. Every Nigerian citizen has a right to possess an international passport and nothing should be done to stop any law-abiding citizen from obtaining international travelling documents. There is also no existing legal document which stipulates that Muslims should be robbed of their religious identity before they can be given an international passport. In addition, NIMC officials have no documentary backing for usurping the fundamental rights of Muslims. Their falsification of Nigeria’s demographic data in favour of Christianity is also a criminal act capable of igniting religious uprising. Muslims who were forced to remove their caps or hijab have been exposed to unimaginable embarrassment, excruciating psychological trauma and outright deprivation each time they attempt to use the same I. D. cards in banks and other public places. The discrimination against Muslims is an open invitation to chaos, a launching pad for the breakdown of law and order and an efficient recruitment sergeant for religious terrorism.
3.5.0
RELIEF/PRAYER BEING SOUGHT
3.5.1.
The Department of Immigrations should issue a circular to all its offices nationwide warning its officials to stop stigmatizing Muslims.
3.5.2
The Nigerian law should criminalise the denial of international travelling documents to law-abiding citizens on account of religious appearance or identity.
3.5.3
NIMC should issue a general circular to all its branches demanding immediate stop of the obnoxious practice of religious profiling by its agents.
3.5.4
All Muslims who had earlier been denied access to image capturing for national identity cards or those who have been forced to take I. D. card pictures without their caps, turbans or hijab should be allowed to come forward for another exercise while fully exercising their Allah-given and fundamental human rights.

4.0.0
MASSIVE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF MUSLIMS DURING VOTERS REGISTRATION EXERCISES
4.1.0
INTRODUCTION
Muslims suffer massive disenfranchisement each time there is a voters’ registration exercise. Registration officials simply refuse to allow cap-wearing or turban-wearing Muslim males and their hijab-wearing female counterparts to take pictures for the voters’ cards. This was most pronounced during the registration exercise for the 2011 general elections.
4.2.0. 
STATEMENT OF FACTS
MURIC’s office was inundated with petitions from aggrieved Muslims while we received a tornado of telephone calls from registration centers. Thousands of Muslims lodged complaints of religious profiling against agents of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who disallowed them from getting registered on account of their religious dresses.
4.3.0
ISSUES FROM STATEMENT OF FACTS
 Consequently, these law-abiding and tax-paying Nigerians were not allowed to vote. Yet their only crime was that they were Muslims. Though naturally agitated, MURIC was able to douse the tension by promising to contact the authorities and get redress. We were able to convince them of the need to comply with the true teaching of Islam, namely, peaceful conduct, tolerance and patience in the face of provocation. But the glaring fact was that those who were disenfranchised were Muslims in their thousands. This tantamounts to the manipulation of the process of election in favour of the candidate of a particular religion. The Muslim candidate lost the election. It is a sophisticated form of election rigging and it is further proof that the 2011 presidential election was not free and fair.
4.4.0
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES
Here are the real ingredients of religious violence and terrorism. The issuance of voters’ registration exercise is sine qua non for voting. It is a major condition for the actualization of one-man-one-vote. Denial of same facilitates dictatorship and electoral fraud. Democracy is fraudulent if it is non-participatory. At the same time, citizens who are disenfranchised are likely to become frustrated and may vent their spleen through violence.
4.5.0
PRAYERS AND RELIEFS SOUGHT
Prospective voters in future elections must be allowed to wear apparels of their choice during registration exercises so long as they are not naked.
5.0.0
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
5.1.0
INTRODUCTION
Nigerians enjoy a total of eight (8) public holidays in a year. These are Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy.
 5.2.0
STATEMENTS OF FACTS
Five (5) of the eight holidays belong to Christians (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 1st January, i.e, New Year Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday). Only three (3) holidays belong to Muslims, viz, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy.
5.3.0
ISSUES FROM THE STATEMENTS OF FACTS:
There is open inequality in the issue of holidays in Nigeria particularly if there is evidence that Muslims who have less need more (and they do). Nigerian Muslims have been clamouring for the declaration of 1st Muharram of the Hijrah calendar to be declared as a public holiday for decades. Government have not deemed it fit to listen. The Muslims therefore have a feeling of rejection, marginalization, denial of the dividends of democracy and lack of sense of belonging.
5.4.0
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES
Government has a duty in loco parentis to treat all groups equally. Government is the father of all. A government that favours one religious group above the other cannot expect social harmony. Justice is the Soul of Peace. No one can deny one and still enjoy the other in the same way that none can eat his cake and still have it. In the interest of peace, this national conference must visit the injustice perpetrated by the British colonialists against Nigerian Muslims.
5.5.0
RELIEFS/PRAYERS SOUGHT
1st Muharram of the Hijrah calendar must be declared a public holiday to bring the total number of public holidays enjoyed by Muslims to four (4) while the Christians continue to enjoy a higher number of five (5) public holidays.

6.0.0
WEEKENDS IN NIGERIA
6.1.0
INTRODUCTION
Nigeria has a two-day weekend, viz, Saturday and Sunday.
6.2.0
STATEMENTS OF FACTS
Saturday was a half day during the colonial era and Sunday was the only full day at the weekend. However, Saturday was made a full day during the regime of General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian military ruler. It is also pertinent to say that Sunday is the Christian day of worship generally while Saturday is the day recognized as the day of worship by the Seventh Day Adventists, a Christian denomination.
6.3.0
ISSUES ARISING FROM STATEMENTS OF THE FACTS
It is very clear, therefore, that the two weekend days recognized in Nigeria belong to Christians while Muslims have none since Friday, the Muslim day of worship, remains a working day. The British colonialists, being Christians, designed the weekend days to suit their religion at the expense of Islam.
6.4.0
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES
Something must be done urgently to address the gross imbalance in the Nigerian weekend affair. We cannot forget our history because today was born from the wombs of yesterday. Islam has been in Nigeria since the 11th century and the British met Islam on ground when they arrived in the 19th century (800 years later). If the British did not deem it fit to observe the rules of natural justice when they picked the days of Nigeria’s weekend, the need for building a just society in order to foster peace compels a review of the status quo.
6.5.0
RELIEF/PRAYER SOUGHT
6.5.1
The Muslims’ Friday should be declared free to assume parity with the Christians’ Sunday
6.5.2
In the alternative and to avoid the tortuous technicalities involved in 6.5.1 above, Friday should be made a half day (like Saturday in colonial days) in which case all workers will close by 12 noon on Fridays throughout the Federation. This will give the Christians two (2) days (Saturday and Sunday) while Muslims have just half a day.

7.0.0
THE NIGERIAN MARRIAGE ACT 1990
7.1.0
INTRODUCTION
Islamic clerics conduct marriages for Muslims while Christian marriages are conducted by Christian clerics. 
7.2.0
STATEMENTS OF FACTS
Christian marriages contracted inside churches or registries are held sacrosanct everywhere in Nigeria whereas Muslim marriages (nikah) are not recognized for any official purpose.
7.3.0
ISSUES FROM STATEMENTS OF THE FACT
It is paradoxical for one marriage conducted by a Nigerian religious group to be acceptable while the other is not. It breeds contempt, ill-feeling and bad blood. These are inconsistent with the yearnings and aspirations of a people struggling to peacefully coexist. It smirks more of the South African apartheid scenario.
7.4.0
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES
Peace resides where justice has a foundation.
7.5.0
RELIEF/PRAYER SOUGHT
Islamic marriages should be recognized in all official circles where Christian marriages are recognized.

8.0.0
UNIFORMED GROUPS
8.1.0
INTRODUCTION
Uniformed groups in Nigeria include the security agencies uniformed voluntary groups, primary and secondary schools, nurses, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), etc. All these groups already have approved uniforms dating back to the colonial era. However, some of these uniforms constitute breaches to Islamic dress code and offend the sensitivity of Muslims. However, since Muslims are also part and parcel of these agencies and groups, they are compelled to wear the uniforms like others regardless of their inner feeling of resentment.
8.2.0
STATEMENT OF FACTS
While it is an open secret that Muslim women, as a rule, use hijab as part of their dress, none of the uniforms used by the Nigerian security agencies allow this flexibility.
8.3.0
ISSUES ARISING FROM STATEMENTS OF FACTS
Female policemen, soldiers, immigrations, customs, etc, who are Muslims are compelled to use uniforms which assault their spiritual psyche on a daily basis. Female Muslim youth corpers, for example, who do not even belong to the security apparatus, suffer annually from this trauma.
8.4.0
ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF ISSUES
Compulsion to use uniforms which are displeasing to the wearer is capable of killing incentive, causing disaffection and engendering inefficiency. School uniforms which offend the Islamic dressing code are capable of spreading immorality among the youth. Britain is a good example of a non-Muslim environment where Muslim policewomen and Muslim pupils wear uniform-fitting hijab along with their uniforms.
8.5.0
RELIEF/PRAYER SOUGHT
Female Muslims in uniform should be allowed to use hijabs designed to fit their uniforms. 


ALHAJI TIJANI SHEHU                    ALHAJI ABDUL RAZAQ UTHMAN
 SECRETARY                                        PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER



PROFESSOR ISHAQ AKINTOLA
DIRECTOR