This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
The University of Ibadan
International School (UIS) hijab crisis was exacerbated this morning Thursday,
15th November, 2018 when female Muslim students who wore hijab to
resume with other students of the school were disallowed from entering the
A meeting of the Parents Teachers
Association (PTA) convened to resolve the matter ended in a stalemate as Muslim
parents who attended the meeting were not allowed to express their grievances.
Instead, they were shouted down by Christian parents and teachers who
constituted the majority at the meeting. The Muslim parents therefore decided
to stage a walkout.
Commenting on this ugly development,
the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lamented the poor handling of the crisis by
the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe.
“It is administrative masturbation. We
are not novists in management. The school principal has manipulated the PTA executive
and exploited the meeting to achieve her hidden agenda which, ab initio,
has been the denial of hijab for female Muslim students. Being a die-hard
member of the Scriptures Union (SU), this woman characteristically has a
pathological hatred for Muslims and their children.
should a matter which affects Muslims only be subjected to the decision of a
Christian majority? The likely outcome was already known to the principal.
Whoever presided at that PTA meeting also had a preconceived idea. Majority may
have their way but the minority should have their say. But that is only in democracy.
Incidentally this is not about democracy. It is religion and religion is a
sensitive matter. It will not succumb to democratic rules.
“Also by shouting down the Muslims
at that meeting, the chairman has exhibited gross irresponsibility. The
chairman of any meeting has a duty to protect all. He must have a listening
hear and he should allow common sense to prevail at the end of the day. Common sense
in this case should have made the chairman realize that bringing a majority Christian
group together with a minority Muslim group in a matter affecting Muslims only
in present-day Nigeria will only end up in confusion”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola, who signed
the statement, also condemned the shutting out of Muslim students from the
school premises this morning.
“It is religious apartheid. The principal
has just shot herself in the foot. Her real plan is now exposed. She never
really wanted Muslim children in that school unless they are prepared to
compromise their faith. It is glaring from the way she hobnobs with Muslim
officials who have exhibited readiness to compromise. She sees them as ‘liberal’
Muslims. To her a good Muslim is one who is not ready to stand by his or her
religion. Yet she knows the rules in her own denomination (SU) where compromise
is taboo. Imagine people who claim to be educated willingly denying entrance to
schools to school children.
“It is impunity. It is tyranny of
the highest order. We will resist this marginalization with every legitimate
arsenal at our disposal. It cannot happen in Ibadanland. UIS authorities have
acted ultra vires by shuting those students out. This is not a school
where anyone can do what he or she likes. It is a fee-paying institution and the
authorities will have to explain why those Muslim students who have duely paid
their school fees are shut out of the school gates. The judiciability is not in
contention here. A prima facie has been established. If UI itself is not
an island, its international school cannot be entire of itself.
should look back and ponder. What happened in Osun State when Christian parents
engineered their children and wards to wear church garments to school? How long
did the church garment culture last in Osun schools? Why do people love to
start what they cannot finish? What happened in the Law School when a single
female Muslim law graduate challenged the status quo? Or have we forgotten the
Amasa Firdaus affair so soon? What happened in Lagos State just two days ago
after several years of depriving female Muslim children of their rights? How
long will it take this principal to come to her senses?
“Phebean Olowe will eat her words.
So will her cronies. The battle has just begun. We will humble her without firing
a single shot and without recourse to violence. It is a battle of wits between
the oppressor and the oppressed. Phebean Olowe should stop massaging her ego. She
should do the right thing before it is too late.
“We will see who has the backing of
the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Her rubber-stamp PTA will need
to explain to all Nigerians how their school’s laws can over-ride the Nigerian
constitution. We hope they know what they are up against.
“Before we have a break, we advise the
management of the University of Ibadan to intervene. The school principal must
be called to order. We urge the Muslim parents to send their children and wards
to school everyday and to also record treatments meted out to them by the
school authorities. Freedom is never given on a platter of gold. Dare to
struggle, dare to win. No retreat, no surrender.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
The Lagos State government yesterday 13th November 2018 issued
a circular approving the use of hijab by female Muslim students in all public
circular read inter alia, “Since the case of the use of hijab in Lagos State is
still pending in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the status quo should be
maintained to avoid contempt of the court. That is, students should be allowed
to wear hijabs on school uniforms but same must be short, smart, neat and in
the same colour of the uniform (skirt).
“Furthermore, schools’ managements are advised to downplay comments and
disciplinary actions on the use of smart hijabs until the final determination
of the case by the Supreme Court.
student should be discriminated against in any form on the basis of religion.
All principals and teachers must be sensitized to comply accordingly. You are
enjoined to adhere strictly to these recommendations”.
In a terse statement issued on Wednesday 14th November, 2018,
the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hailed the state government for taking the
According to Professor Ishaq Akintola who signed the statement, “Though
belated, it is better to be late than never to do it at all. The wind of change
is sweeping across the South West and no state government wants to be caught
within the camp of reactionaries.
“We call on all government agencies and employers of labour to note this
development. It is a monumental decision. The patience exhibited by Lagos
Muslims has paid off. A quiet and peaceful revolution is ongoing and it is in
the best interest of all men and women of goodwill to join the train before it
leaves the station so that they may not be left behind.
reaching MURIC headquarters say the Tutor General Permanent Secretary (TGPS) of
District 6 has also issued a circular directing all school principals within
the jurisdiction to allow female Muslim students who wish to use the hijab to
do so. We are yet to hear anything from Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. We are
therefore calling on the remaining five TGPS to follow suit. Delay will imply
insurbodination and sabotage of government’s good intention.
“We congratulate the Lagos State chapters of the Muslim Students Society of
Nigeria (MSSN), the Muslim Congress (TMC), the Muslim Teachers Association of
Nigeria (MUTAN) and the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria
(FOMWAN). We commend them for their steadfastness, patience and forbearance.
“In conclusion, we charge all the Islamic organizations in the state to
immediately set up monitoring units for the successful implementation of the
state government’s directive. Muslim parents should be mobilized to visit
schools for the purpose of ensuring compliance. We warn that nobody should take
the law into his or her hands. Defaulting principals and recalcitrant teachers
should be reported to the nearest office of Islamic organizations.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
The principal of the University of
Ibadan International School (UIIS), Mrs. Phebean Olowe recently banned the use
of hijab by female Muslim students of the school. The ban provoked Muslim
parents who protested at the gates of the school yesterday, Monday 12th
In its characteristic intervention, the
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) described the ban as an invitation to chaos and a
threat to girl-child education. MURIC’s intervention was expressed in a press
statement issued on Tuesday 13th November, 2018.
According to MURIC, “Mrs.
Phebean Olowe is a failure in administration. She is out of touch with reality.
She has failed to properly read the barometer. She is reeling out draconian and
anachronistic decrees reminiscent of colonial days. This principal is retarding
the progress of UIIS. She can only be an agent of destabilization to have
behaved this way. This is the 21st century for crying out loud.
Where does she think she is?
“We are surprised that at a
time when the whole world is struggling to boost girl-child education and reduce
the number of out-of-school children, a female school administrator of her
status is issuing anti-girl-child education directives. It is such a shame.
Britain and America are encouraging the wearing of hijab in their schools but
here we find a school administrator constituting herself into a cog in the
wheel of progress particularly in the area of girl-child education. Can this be
attributed to lack of exposure? This principal is in dire need of a sabbatical
leave outside Nigeria.
“She should have known
that UIIS is an elitist academic environment where all the parents (Christians
or Muslims) know their rights. Many of the Muslim parents are staff of the
university. Why must she chew more than she can swallow? Why must she bring an
alien, parochial and archaic agenda to an academic setting? This is obviously a
failure in administration.
“A good administrator will consult
parents before taking such a sensitive decision and there are a lot of
opportunities for her to do that. Religion is a sensitive matter. She must have
a hidden agenda otherwise she would not have made such an attempt in view of
the proliferation of hijab stories in the news. No school administrator worth
the salt will issue an anti-hijab instruction in view of recent events around
the country unless such a principal is from Mars or Mercury”.
MURIC commended the parents who
participated in the peaceful protest at the school gate. According to Professor
Ishaq Akintola, the director of MURIC who signed the press statement, “Peaceful
protest is an extention of dialogue where there are grievances to address. It
is an Allah-given fundamental right of all citizens. Nobody has the right to
take it from us.
“We hail the Muslim parents of UIIS for
standing up in loco parentis. These parents have refused to abdicate their
responsibilities. They have a duty to educate their children and to monitor
their progress as prescribed in Qur’an 2:233. They have successfully done that.
They also have a duty to protect their children from abuse, stigma and
religious discrimination. They have proved that they are capable of doing that.
We are proud of them.
“We are particularly happy with these
parents for the peaceful manner in which they conducted their protest. They
have proved beyond any iota of doubt that they are true ambassadors of Islam.
The adherents of the religion of peace cannot afford to eschew the path of
peace. We assure them of our full support. MURIC will keenly monitor the progress
of this matter.
“We appeal to the management of the University
of Ibadan (UI) to intervene in this matter. It should not be allowed to
escalate. UI is a center of academic excellence. The authorities should not
allow administrative shenanigans and educational charlatans to turn its
International School into a center for religious apartheid. It is high time
UIIS realized that Nigerian Muslims have come of age.
“We call on the school principal to face
reality. Nigeria belongs to all of us. We should learn to coexist. Muslims will
no longer accept a situation whereby everything is designed to suit Christians
and Muslims are left to choose between accepting the Christian way of life or
abandoning education. The Nigerian school uniform was designed by Christian colonial
masters. It is therefore a manifestation of neo-imperialism cum totalitarian
dictatorship to force Muslim children to wear Christian uniforms. It smacks of
lack of religious tolerance. Mrs. Phebean Olowe should resign if she cannot
tolerate the sight of female Muslim children in hijab because she is going to
be seeing quite a lot of them these days.
“Finally, we appeal to Muslims in the
city of Ibadan and Oyo State in particular as well as all over Nigeria to
remain calm and law abiding. We should give the UI management the benefit of
doubt and the opportunity to wade into the matter. However, all Muslim parents are
advised to remain alert because eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Aluta continua because it is not yet
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
The governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong last week Monday, 7th
November, 2018, led a delegation of people to Army Headquarters, Abuja, to beg
the Nigerian Army not to avenge the gruesome murder of the former Army Chief of
Administration, General Muhammad Idris Alkali (rtd) allegedly by some Berom elements.
Sequel to this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has decried
both the visit and the appeal made to the army, describing it as hypocritical.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the human rights organization
on Monday, 12th November, 2018. The statement was signed by its
director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
we affirm that Lalong’s visit and his appeal to the army is an admission of
guilt, we contend that would have been meaningful if he had also visited the
Fulani community and the Muslim leaders in his state to express the same
sentiment. He left those poor, weak and oppressed people back home in Jos to
beg the army hundreds of kilometers away in Abuja. What kind of leader is this?
“It is hypocrisy of the highest order. Just like the Berom women who tried
in vain to deceive the world by protesting at the Dura Du pond, Lalong too is
Governor sir, under your watch, a whole general was hacked to death. Under your
watch, a whole general was humiliated, probably tortured, dehumanized, killed,
buried in a shallow grave and exhumed again.
your watch, the dead general’s body was stuffed in a sack laden with stones and
dumped in a narrow deep well to keep him below forever so the crime would never
be uncovered. Why are you the chief security officer of the state?
“Under your watch, no single Fulani or Muslim traveler from any part of
the country is allowed to pass through your roads alive. They are, profiled,
identified, dragged out, brutally killed and dumped in ponds of death. And this
continued for years! Your apology is empty. It is devoid of humanity. You are
simply acting.This matter is beyond the Alkali affair. It is beyond the army.
You cannot trivialize genocide against Fulanis and religious cleansing against
Nigerian Muslims just by pretending to apologise to the army. General Alkali is
not the only human being among the Fulanis. All Fulanis are complete human
beings with red blood flowing in their veins.
Excellency, where were you when about 500 Berom women were staging the hocus
pocus they called a protest against soldiers attempting to evacuate Dura Du
pond in their search for the late general? Where were you when the Nigerian
press was being mobilized to smear the good reputation of the same Nigerian
Army? We are surprised that the same women are now silent.
“Mrs Rebecca Gyang who led about 500 women in black clothes
with some of them half-naked to protest against the draining of water from Dura
Du old mining pond on the false excuse that its evacuation would cause calamity
of mysterious deaths and other misfortunes for their communities is said to be
the wife of Pam Gyang Dung, the Mai Unguwa of Latiya in Du. That is instructive.
“What happens when a traditional chieftain of a people instructs his wife
to divert the attention of investigators of a heinous crime by leading such a
protest? What should we expect when the state information unit mobilizes the
press to give such a diabolical protest full coverage? Both the paramount ruler
of Berom, Gbong Gwom Jos and an ex-governor of the state, Senator David Jonah
Jang, are from Du District where the killings have been taking place. Neither
of them has condemned the killing of General Alkali. Who is Lalong deceiving? This
is another strong evidence of the whole community’s involvement in the
“What Lalong failed to realize is that this has gone beyond the killing of
an army general. It is about a Fulani army general and thousands of Fulani men
and women, including Muslims from all parts of the country who have been mowed
down by blood-thirsty Berom killers. The truth is that genocide has been
committed against Fulanis and Muslims. There is indubitable evidence of ethnic
and religious cleansing. It is a heinous crime and no official state jamboree
can extenuate that crime against humanity.
“While governor Lalong is pretending to beg, his kinsmen are threatening
fire and brimstone. They are grandstanding. What do we call the vituperations
of Da Iliya Choji Kim, Vice President of Berom Educational and Cultural
Organisation (BECO), against the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs
(NSCIA), the Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI) and MURIC? What do we call his attack
on Professors Salisu Shehu and Ishaq Akintola.? Why is he personalising the crisis?
What did Lalong say about the safety of Fulanis and Muslims who ply that axis
in future? Nothing was mentioned about guarantee for their safety. Beroms have
not shown any remorse.
got it wrong. The process of forgiveness necessitates admission of guilt,
showing remorse, a readiness to ensure redress and an undertaking not to repeat
the offence again. None of these has taken place. Lalong’s visit is therefore a
cowardly act. He and his kith and kin can bully the poor and weak Fulanis and
Muslims in his domain, but they lack the balls to face the consequences of
the pretentious demonstration of half-naked Berom women could not distract the
army from evacuating Dura Du pond in search of their missing general, Lalong’s
crocodile tears in army headquarters cannot deceive them. This is a well-trained
and highly disciplined formation.
“The atrocity has been going on for about 17 (seventeen) years, at least
since 2001. Crime has the propensity to hide its prolification. It is only
criminologists who know that for every single crime uncovered, there must have
been more than a dozen others which went undetected. The fact that other
vehicles were found under the pond with that of the general lends credence to
this point. The late General Alkali must be recognized as a martyr. He laid
down his life in order to expose the crimes committed by the Beroms against his
people, the Fulanis and Nigerian Muslims.
“For instance, the truth about the disappearance of Alhaji Lawal Isa, a
Fulani land agent, who went missing in Du District in 2013, would never have
been known but for the Alkali affair. Alhaji Lawal Isa was the owner of the Red
Rover found in Du pond with Bauchi plate number AG 645 TRR. He was allegedly tricked
by Da Chuwang, the Village Head of Du to visit the area on the pretense that
they wanted to buy land from him. He and a friend who accompanied him on the
trip were in Du on January 31, 2013. It is noteworthy that the discoveries were
made in only one pond (Dura Du pond) and there are about 80 (eighty) others!
Who knows how many dead bodies lie below them? It is nostalgic. We contend that
thousands had been killed and dumped in the ponds even before 2013.
MURIC vowed to take the matter to international agencies if the Nigerian
authorities fail to take necessary action. According to Akintola, “The
International Criminal Court (ICC) may have to be brought into this matter of
organized genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing against Fulanis and Muslims
in the Middle Belt if justice is not obtainable locally. Joshua Dariye
allegedly swore to make Plateau the headquarters of Christianity when he was
governor and he made good his pledge. The alleged training of militia in Israel
and the massive smuggling of arms and ammunition into Plateau State in the past
ten years could not have been without the knowledge of Jonah Jang and Lalong.
an enduring settlement, Governor Lalong must swallow his pride. He must mobilize
leaders of the Berom community, apologise to General Alkali’s family and meet
Fulani leaders in the state in a free and sincere dialogue. A Plateau Truth
Commission may not be out of place for a genuine and lasting solution to the
ever recurring Plateau crisis. Lalong will be joking if he thinks he can get
away with this heinous crime merely by apologizing to the army. Apology my
foot! Fulanis and Muslims are human beings too.
Before we round off, we reiterate our condemnation of Governor Lalong’s
hypocritical apology expressed to the army. We demand justice for the wanton,
callous and ultra-criminal killing of General Alkali (rtd), thousands of
Fulanis and other Nigerian Muslims. We call for the arrest, detention and
prosecution of the sponsors of Berom killers. We assert that we will not hesitate
to take this matter to the ICC if there is any attempt to limit the
investigations to General Alkali’s murder alone or to sweep the whole issue
under the carpet. This matter is beyond Alkali, beyond the military.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).