Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PUNISH CROOKS BEHIND BUDGETRY INEXACTITUDE



11th February 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
PUNISH CROOKS BEHIND BUDGETRY INEXACTITUDE  

 The National Assembly (NASS) yesterday suspended debates on the 2016 budget claiming that it is full of errors.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply worried by the controversy surrounding the 2016 budget proposal. We are nonplussed by the revelations emerging from both the Presidency and the NASS. There is strong evidence of sabotage. Corruption is fighting back.


There is no gainsaying the fact that any delay in passing the budget has far-reaching effect on the nation’s economy. What is most disturbing is the attendant bandwagon effect on the jamaaheer (masses) who will certainly bear the full brunt of the delay.


We recall that the same budget was once declared missing in mysterious circumstances with accusations and counter-accusations between the Presidency and the NASS. The discrepancies recently discovered in the budget suggest the involvement of a sophisticated budget cabal collaborating with an unrepentant extremist opposition clique determined to wreck the economy in order to score a political point.


This is corruption fighting back and dirty. It will be recalled that the Ministry of Health had also cried foul over the contents of its own allocations in the proposed budget.


MURIC strongly suspects that fifth columnists are actively engaged in a bitter and desperate battle to re-open the drain pipes which the new regime has been struggling to block.


It is obvious at this point, even to the blind, that there has been an age-long practice of siphoning the nation’s resources into private pockets through the doctoring of the budget on an annual basis. The irregularities in the budget proposal may also be traced to the landmines laid by the past regime with its zero hour recruitments and appointments.  


The budget department in the Ministry of Finance cannot claim ignorance of this fiscal inexactitude. Accounting error emerging from such a sensitive unit of government is unprofessional. It smirks of gross ineptitude and it should not go unpunished. The Federal Government needs powerful pesticides to exterminate the budget parasites.  


We therefore call for the immediate overhauling of all government departments and units associated with the preparation of the budget. This budgetgate must be probed and the culprits must be punished according to the laws of the land in order to serve as deterrent to others. We must not allow a budget cabal to hold 180 million Nigerians to ransom.  


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
08182119714


Monday, January 25, 2016

BEWARE OF RULE OF LAW WITHOUT BORDERS



25th January 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
BEWARE OF RULE OF LAW WITHOUT BORDERS

Members of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and some sponsored groups have accused the Federal Government (FG) of failing to respect the rule of law in its ongoing war against corruption. They want looters, saboteurs and traitors to be granted bail and set free even when it is obvious that such people are most likely to jump bail by fleeing from the country.
        
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) frowns at any attempt to make a mockery of the rule of law. It is a flagrant abuse of the principles of democracy to talk of human rights in defense of those who diverted huge funds earmarked for the purchase of arms. It is only in Nigeria that self-confessed criminals are indulged under the guise of democracy and the rule of law.

How can anyone be talking of the rule of law now when the same rule of law gave those who stole N33 billion police pension fund a pat in the back and asked them to pay N750,000 only! The rule of law guaranteed the freedom of a dictator’s son who laundered N446 billion. The rule of law gave everlasting immunity to a former governor of Rivers State who stole $500 million. The list is endless.

It has always been looting ad infinitum and the law had always looked the other way. But now that integrity is in power and it is making thieves accountable, suddenly we find the rogues appearing in court on wheelchairs, some with crutches, all in an attempt to hoodwink Nigerians. Some insist on being allowed to travel abroad just to treat ordinary sore throat. How can we be so careless as to grant their wish?    

Can’t we see the implications on the lives of 180 million people if 55 people only have the temerity to steal N3.1 trillion within six years and they still have the audacity to hide under the rule of law to enjoy their loot while the rest of us whistle for our dinner? Does that not explain why there are no good roads, no electricity, no qualitative education and no drugs in the public hospitals? Should we still play dumb by allowing them to escape to some remote island?

Rule of law without limits will protect, promote and project corruption. It will provide escape routes for kleptomaniacs and put our gallant propagators of the war against corruption in chains. We must draw a thick line of demarcation between corruption and rule of law.

Nigerians should beware of rule of law without borders. Even the greatest democracies in the world apply limits to their practice of rule of law. That is why the United States has Guantanamo Bay, the widely condemned practice of rendition and waterboarding as a special form of torture. Yet it is all in the national interest. They are all practiced to fight terrorism, America’s greatest challenge of our time.


Terrorism is America’s greatest challenge and the rule of law was not allowed to protect it. In the same vein, corruption is Nigeria’s greatest challenge today and we should not allow the rule of law to stand between us and victory over corruption. We must see the need to create a border line between corruption and rule of law.


The two are incompatible. Corruption is like a gangarene sticking hard to the national anatomy, sucking its blood dry. This gangarene must be burned out with hot iron if necessary. Corruption is a giant monster with its jaws wide open to swallow up the social order.


In fact, corruption is a potent threat to the rule of law. We must therefore destroy corruption to save the rule of law otherwise society will collapse.

It is difficult to understand the mentality of the PDP as a party as it continues to defend the indefensible. Shameful confessions are being made on a daily basis yet the party’s megaphones still find ways of extenuating the shocking revelations. Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. It is birds of the same feather that flock together. We must leave the thieves to defend the thieves. They have the noun ‘thief’ and the verb ‘to steal’. Men and women of integrity must stand firm on the path of transparency, probity and accountability. We must allow the world to see that we are prepared to stand by the truth.

For the avoidance of doubts, MURIC remains non-partisan and we do not care about the fortunes of any political party. But we must raise the alarm if the PDP which has been in power for 16 years is found to have taken this country to the cleaners.

How can we remain neutral when in his popular hadith man raa minkunm munkaran, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned against sitting on the fence on matters like this? He said, “Whoever sees any evil should use his hands to change it. If this is not possible, he should employ his tongue (i.e. speak out against it). If this is not possible, he should use his heart (i.e. pray against it) but that (i.e.) using the heart) is the weakest form of faith”.

How can MURIC turn the blind eye when the Glorious Qur’an also warned, “Beware of a calamity that will not befall the perpetrators of evil alone” (i.e. both the guilty and the innocent will suffer, Qur’an 8:25). No wonder 180 million innocent Nigerians are suffering from the iniquities of a tiny cabal comprising of 55 selfish, greedy and avaricious people.

The Italian poet, Dante Alighieri argued that “The hottest part of hell will be reserved for those who in times of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.” Therefore every conscious Nigerian must speak out against this massive fraud which led to the deprivation of our gallant soldiers of much needed weapons, the resultant death of several gallant soldiers, the destruction of many churches and mosques, the loss of more than 150,000 lives of innocent Northerners among them women and children as well as over one million people of the North East who fled their homes.

We must not leave the ruling party, the All People’s Congress (APC), to do all the fighting alone. It is not about the APC. It is about Nigeria and our collective survival as a people. All of us are now suffering for the moral debauchery and financial recklessness of our past leaders.

Finally, we appeal to the world community to ignore the crocodile tears of the opposition camp, the campaigns of calumny of its sponsored agents and the claims of vendetta and political victimization by PDP’s cronies. Nigerians support the war against corruption but we cannot afford rule of law without borders at this point in time.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
08182119714


Monday, January 18, 2016

CAVEAT EMPTOR: MURIC WARNS MILITARY AGAINST COUP



18th January 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
CAVEAT EMPTOR: MURIC WARNS MILITARY AGAINST COUP

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State yesterday cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari on the investigation ordered into the involvement of immediate past military chiefs in scams in the purchase of arms. Fayose euphemistically referred to the likelihood of the military resisting such investigation by toppling Buhari’s government.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) finds Fayose’s warning unnecessary, distasteful and alarming It is short in sincerity but long in hypocrisy. It is also provocative. It falls within the rank of hate speech and incitement.

There is no gainsaying the fact that there has been no love lost between Governor Ayodele Fayose and President Buhari. The governor has never been known to wish the president well. Is this not the same governor who placed a full page death-wish advertisement in the newspaper before the presidential elections? This same governor has become known for his blind and unobjective criticism of Buhari’s policies since the inception of this administration. So who is he trying to scare?

It is also an open secret that Fayose is the unofficial spokesperson of Nigeria’s executive thieves. Nigerians should check the records. Why was Fayose impeached as governor during his first tenure? The motive for his second coming is not unknown: to finish the unfinished ‘business’.

Fayose’s opposition to the current war against corruption should therefore not surprise anyone. His allergy for probity and accountability led him to insist that he would not embrace the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy. We shall know them by their fruits. Just yesterday, Sokoto State was able to discover a N1.5 billion excess through the TSA. This alone proves that TSA is in our best interest. So who is Fayose deceiving? What purpose does his grandstanding serve?

MURIC advises the rank and file of the Nigerian Army to ignore Fayose’s euphemism. The army should not allow itself to be incited to mutiny by a man who is still licking the wounds of defeat, a man who had built castles in the air believing that his rigging abracadabra would save his principal, a man facing damning indictment for election rigging.

If there is any governor the inmates of Kirikiri are waiting for to join them today, it is Ayodele Fayose. Here is a frustrated man looking for ways of sinking the whole ship.   

We remind the Nigerian Army that military rule has become an anachronism. Any involvement of the military in politics is a misadventure. Nigerians have not only breathed the air of democracy, they have tasted its delicious juice. They have bitten, chewed and swallowed its fulfilling morsels.

There is no going back. Let no frustrated politician deceive our soldiers. Nigerians have long declared a caveat emptor: military rule must not come back again.

We cherish our gallant soldiers in their professional role. They are the defenders of our territorial integrity. They have put Boko Haram to shame though the war is not completely over yet. They are our heroes so long as they remain in their professions without venturing into politics. They must remain vigilant as new roles continue to emerge when unscrupulous elements become cogs in the wheel of peace, law and order.

We warn that only thieves and corrupt elements in the military will contemplate mutiny at a time when the Nigerian people, the academic, civil society, and the professionals have declared their unalloyed support for the war against corruption. Discipline is the hallmark of the military and the height of military discipline is the readiness to submit to constituted authority. We therefore remind Nigerian soldiers of the need to be ready to submit to civil authorities who are currently in power. Failure to do so is rebellion and every Nigerian soldier knows the implication of this.

On a final note, we assert clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally that the current war against corruption is neither partisan nor clannish. It is only logical that a probe of past misdeeds can only involve those who supervised the misdeeds. Those complaining of victimization and vendetta are merely shedding crocodile tears. The war against corruption must continue unabated. Aluta Continua. No Retreat, No Surrender.  

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
08182119714


Friday, January 15, 2016

MURIC COMMENDS TAMBUWAL FOR PRIORITISING EDUCATION



16th January 2016,
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC COMMENDS TAMBUWAL FOR PRIORITISING  EDUCATION

Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State recently presented a budget estimate of N174.35 billion for the 2016 fiscal year with education getting 29 percent.      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lauds this move. It is not only timely but consistent with the state government’s declaration of a state of emergency in the education sector. It is also a fulfillment of the governor’s campaign promise to place emphasis on education. By allocating this huge chunk of the state’s resources to education, the governor has kickstarted revolution in the education sector in Sokoto State.

Governor Tambuwal’s allocation of 29% of the state’s budget to education surpasses the 26% recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This is highly commendable because Nigerian governments both at federal and state levels have never been known to comply with UNESCO’s recommendation.

Tambuwal had earlier given a directive that the state government should pay for all candidates who registered for the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations for the year 2016 regardless of their states of origin.

This is another proof of the governor’s commitment to emancipating Sokoto State from the shackles of ignorance. But the fact that his education policy does not discriminate against non-indigenes of the state places him above clannishness and ranks him among true statesmen of our dear nation.

We regard Governor Tambuwal’s bold step as a long shot in the arm in the fight against insurgency which has been blamed on widespread ignorance, unemployment and poverty at the grassroots level. Had former governors in the North paid proper attention to educating the youth, the Boko Haram phenomenon which has claimed more than 150,000 lives, produced about 1,000,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and almost completely destroyed the economy of the region would not have arisen at all. This, indeed, is the crux of Governor Tambuwal’s intervention.   

MURIC invites other state governors to emulate Tambuwal’s bold initiative. Nigeria needs revolution in the education sector to get out of the current economic conundrum. The only way to achieve technological breakthrough is by investing heavily in education.

We call on Nigerian leaders to fear Allah. Nigeria’s scarce resources must be used to achieve maximum advantage. By commanding Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to “Read in the Name of your Lord Who Created” (Qur’an 96:1-5) Islam has identified education as the first priority in the pursuit of human welfare. It therefore becomes a divine commandment for those in positions of authority to ensure that Nigerian youths are given qualitative education.


The command given to the Prophet to seek education transcends his personality. It flows down to all homo sapiens. Education is therefore an Allah-given fundamental human right and a divinely given destiny. We charge Nigerian leaders to create an enabling environment for Nigerian youths to fulfill their destiny of knowledge, skill and empowerment all of which lead to prosperity. Nigerians have no business wallowing in ignorance, poverty and squalor.

Also by affirming that those who are educated cannot be compared to the ignorant ones (Qur’an 39:9), Allah has made it abundantly clear that education is the determining factor between the advanced countries and the underdeveloped ones.  Education gave Adam (peace be upon him) an edge over the angels (Qur’an 2:30-35)

The choice is therefore open for our leaders to pick: whether to perpetually enslave Nigerians by paying ordinary lip service to education or to liberate and lift them to the floodgates of knowledge which is capable of leading the country to El Dorado.

Finally, MURIC recommends that those who aspire to public offices, particularly those of president and governor, must provide evidence that their own children are also in Nigerian schools and not pursuing their education abroad. This may further ensure that our leaders pay adequate attention to education. It will also distance Nigeria from a glorified Animal Farm community.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
08182119714