Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MURIC COMMENDS FG & LASG


23rd July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:

MURIC COMMENDS FG FOR STOPPING PERSECUTION OF MUSLIMS IN SOUTH-EAST; LAUDS LASG FOR EXTENDING MATERNITY LEAVE


The Federal Government yesterday stopped the registration and repatriation of non-indigenes anywhere in the country. It will be recalled that some state governments in the South Eastern part of Nigeria had for some time now requested people of Northern extraction to register and obtain non-indigene identity cards. They were also randomly arrested and harassed by security agents.


Several mosques in the zone had also been raided while Imams and other mosque workers were detained. Last week alone, men of the Nigerian Army on Monday 14th July raided several mosques in Aba, Abia State. They arrested the Chief Imam of Aba Central Mosque, Alhaji Bashir Idris and fourteen others.


Two teachers of the New Horizon Academy which is attached to Aba Central Mosque (the Chemistry teacher, Abdul Rahman Sani and the principal, Abdul Majid Abubakar) remained in detention. In a statement issued on Tuesday 15th July, 2014, The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) denounced the raids as “religious stigmatization, ethnic profiling and undue scapegoatism.”


MURIC lauds the Federal Government for taking action on this most sensitive issue. By outlawing the registration and witch-hunting of Nigerians on account of non-indigeneship, FG has demonstrated that it listens to complaints from the citizens.


FG’s latest action will also forestall the breakdown of law and order as a result of anticipated retaliatory measures from the Northern states. We therefore appeal to state governments, Northerners and Muslims throughout Nigeria who were provoked by those discriminatory actions to forget the ugly episodes and to desist from carrying out any action capable of making non-indigenes in their midst uncomfortable.


MURIC appeals to the security agencies holding the two teachers to set them free or to arraign them in a court of law if they wish to press charges against them. This will go a long way in dousing tension.


MURIC LAUDS LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION TO EXTEND MATERNITY LEAVE TO SIX MONTHS:


The Lagos State Government (LASG) also recently extended the maternity leave of nursing mothers from three to six months.


We recall that MURIC had made this demand in its Salah message dated 7th August 2013. In the message, we called the attention of the Nigerian authorities to the difficulties experienced by nursing mothers.


We reminded the authorities that the Glorious Qur’an actually stipulates two years for breastfeeding (Qur’an 2:233). We therefore charged the Nigerian authorities to extend the maternity leave of nursing mothers to six months.


MURIC congratulates LASG for being the first state in the federation to take this golden advice. Lagos even went a step further by granting a two-week paternity leave to ‘nursing fathers’. LASG has thus demonstrated that it leads while others follow. In view of the recommendation of medical experts that newly born children should be placed strictly on breast-milk diet only for the first six months, we charge other states of the federation to emulate the good step taken by Lagos.


As the father of the nation, MURIC charges President Jonathan to act in loco parentis on this landmark policy. The three months leave given to nursing mothers is grossly inadequate. A father cannot watch his daughters suffering in silence.


Mr. President should send an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to extend maternity leave to six months. MURIC asserts clearly and unambiguously that the Nigerian girl-child, the Nigerian woman and indeed the Nigerian nursing mother deserves the pride of place in society.  


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


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

RAID ON ABA MOSQUES: STOP PERSECUTING MUSLIMS IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA


15th July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
RAID ON ABA MOSQUES: STOP  PERSECUTING MUSLIMS IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA

Men of the Nigerian Army on Monday raided several mosques in Aba, Abia State. They arrested the Chief Imam of Aba Central Mosque, Alhaji Bashir Idris and fourteen others.

Although the Chief Imam and twelve of those arrested were set free after rigorous interrogation that lasted hours at the 144 Battalion, Asa in Ukwa West council area of the state, two teachers of the New Horizon Academy which is attached to Aba Central Mosque were not released. It was alleged that the soldiers discovered substances suspected to be chemical at the school.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) denounces the constant raids on mosques which have become recurring decimal in the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The unfolding pattern reveals overzealousness on the part of Easterners and the security operatives based in the South-East. Flimsy excuses are being used to persecute Muslims and Northerners resident in their midst.

We affirm that this is contrary to the spirit of brotherhood expected among fellow Nigerians. It is also a usurpation of the Allah-given and fundamental human rights of Muslims and Northerners residing in the South-East as enshrined in Chapter IV, Section 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates that “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.”

MURIC frowns upon these constant raids on mosques because they constitute deliberate desecration of the sanctity of a place of worship. By constantly raiding mosques, Nigerian soldiers are setting a bad precedent. Also by molesting Imams and Islamic scholars, Nigerian security agencies are engaging in religious stigmatization, ethnic profiling and undue scapegoatism.

These actions are not only most unethical but also highly unprofessional. They stand in contradistinction to international best practices among security agencies around the world where the focus is on intelligence gathering instead of the manifestation of Stone Age security gimmicks and dictatorial Gestapo tactics.

By harassing Northerners and intimidating Muslims in the South-East, Nigerian security agents are sending out the wrong message to the rest of the world, to wit, that Muslims are now endangered species in Nigeria. This is unfortunate because it proves that we are not ready to integrate Nigerian Muslims in the Nigerian project.

The allegation that the two detained teachers were storing bomb-making chemicals is spurious, baseless and unfounded. MURIC therefore demands the immediate release of the two teachers, the Chemistry teacher, Abdul Rahman Sani and the principal, Abdul Majid Abubakar. Who does not know that chemicals are needed to teach chemistry? Instead of keeping them incommunicado beyond 48 hours, the duo should be arraigned in a properly constituted court of law if anything is found against them.

MURIC is alarmed that Igbo leaders are not doing anything to stem the tide of Islamophobia in the South East. We charge Ohaneze to rise above primordial sentiments and stop the harassment of innocent Northerners and Muslims in their midst. We call on the Nigerian security agencies to stop coercing Northerners and Muslims resident in the South-East.

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


Saturday, July 5, 2014

ISLAMIC SCHOLAR & WIFE ABDUCTED


6th July, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC CHARGES SECURITY AGENTS TO PRODUCE ISLAMIC SCHOLAR & WIFE ABDUCTED IN OGUN STATE

Ustadh AbdulGaniy Jumah and his wife, Shakirah, were reportedly whisked away at gun point from his family house at Fagbemi Street, Off Ntabo Bus Stop, Ijoko, near Sango in Ado Odo Ota Local Government, Ogun State by 3 am yesterday morning (Saturday 5th July, 2014).
 
Although the abductors were said to be soldiers who came in three vehicles including a jeep, a bus and a van, none of them wore the army uniform. None of the neighbours could pick the vehicles’ plate numbers due to shock and confusion. Ustadh Abdul Ganiyy owns an Arabic school (modrasat) and teaches both working class and school children in Arabic and Islamic Studies in the area. Their whereabouts have since remained unknown.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) charges Nigerian security agents to produce the Islamic scholar and his wife whose abduction has started creating tension among Muslims in the whole South West. We remind the security agents that nothing warrants such night invasion since there is no state of emergency in the region.

We demand the immediate release of the Muslim couple or their arraignment in court within 48 hours of arrest according to the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

We suspect that this may be the beginning of a crackdown on scholars of Islam in Yorubaland in particular and the whole Southern Nigeria in general as part of the silent war on Islam in Western-dominated parts of the world.

Our suspicion is informed by the allegation that another Lagos-based Islamic scholar also disappeared last week. The miraculous disappearance of Razaq Gawat, a very popular Lagos-based Islamic socialite and televangelist is yet to be explained since about 14 months ago.

It is on record that millions of Muslims were killed in former Yugoslavia in the 90s. Muslims in Myanmar (formerly Burma) were burned in public and their homes destroyed in 2013.

Anti-Balaka Christian militants also recently hunted down, slaughtered or roasted hundreds of Muslims in the Central African Republic. In July this year, China banned fasting among Muslims. A blind, intolerant and anti-Muslim climate pervades the globe.

Yet while everybody is talking about peace, nobody is talking about justice. MURIC reminds Nigerian authorities that justice is the soul of peace. The same natural law of justice which stipulates that nobody can eat his cake and have it provides that nobody can deny one (justice) and still enjoy the other (peace).

The ongoing massacre of Muslims by Nigeria’s Boko Haram may be an orchestrated campaign being waged by unscrupulous elements in disguise with the aim of drastically reducing the population of Muslims in the country.

MURIC cautions Nigerian security agencies to desist from taking actions capable of generating tension. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ustadh Abdul Ghaniy Jumah and his wife, Shakirah. They should be charged to a competent court of law if they are suspected of committing any crime.

Nonetheless, we are not foreclosing the possibility of the abductors being operatives of any other criminal group but the onus is on Nigerian security agents to find the Muslim couple.

We alert the Ogun State Government to this dangerous development. We appeal to Ogun State House of Assembly and the National Assembly to wade into the matter. The people’s representatives must show concern when innocent citizens start disappearing.

Meanwhile we call on Muslims throughout the country to remain calm and law-abiding.

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



Monday, June 30, 2014

ATTACK ON CHURCHES: CONTRADICTS SPIRIT OF RAMADAN



 30th June, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
ATTACK ON CHURCHES CONTRADICTS SPIRIT OF RAMADAN

 

Boko Haram insurgents yesterday ravaged three churches in villages near Chibok killing about 30 people. The villages attacked included Kautikari, Nasarawa, Gwaradina and Kwadake.

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly denounces this attack. Coming on the second day of the Ramadan fasting, we are constrained to conclude that this attack is an infringement on the rules of Ramadan which requires Muslims to pursue a robust spiritual programme involving supplications, glorification of Allah and enlightenment during the holy month.

 

Here lies further proof that Boko Haram is Haram. For whereas Islam teaches the halting of hostilities in Ramadan, Boko Haram chooses the same Ramadan to kill with reckless abandon; while Islam teaches the pursuance of education by both sexes from childhood to old age, Boko Haram forbids education for the girl-child; while Islam teaches peaceful coexistence, Boko Haram pursues a barbaric agenda of killing and maiming.

 

MURIC charges the Nigerian authorities to demonstrate commitment to the war against insurgents. We expect Nigerian soldiers to have studied the tactics adopted by the insurgents by now and to have evolved ways and means of truncating their gimmicks.    

 

At the same time, the Federal Government must start considering a round-table with the insurgents. This is a group that cannot build but it is capable of destroying. Wise counsel dictates that the Federal Government must stoop to conquer. Too many lives are lost on daily basis. The authorities should find ways of placating Boko Haram soonest in order to bring peace to the North East.

 

There are offers on ground for this initiative. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently revealed that he was in contact with the insurgents but FG’s reaction to his offer was cold. A lawyer who is allegedly close to the group, Hajiya Aisha Wakil, reported last week that Boko Haram was seeking amnesty and that the group was ready to swap the 219 girls with 70 Boko Haram detainees. We are yet to hear any reaction from FG.

 

The ball is in President Jonathan’s court. We charge the president to be more proactive in these matters. Nigerians are waiting to hear his response to the offers on ground. It is escapist to claim that Obasanjo knows how to see the president. There are things FG can facilitate in such circumstances. Nigerians are not fools.

 

We are very eager to see peace returning to the North East, the president’s North East, because the whole country is Mr. President’s constituency. Fire in the North East is therefore fire on the president’s roof.


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


Saturday, June 28, 2014

BARRING OF UMRAH FLIGHT: WE DEMAND EXPLANATION


28th June, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
BARRING OF UMRAH FLIGHT: WE DEMAND EXPLANATION

The Nigerian military yesterday barred a plane waiting to ferry 278 Muslims to Saudi Arabia from taking off. The aircraft was to take Muslims to the Holy land in order to perform ‘Umrah (Lesser Hajj). The military’s action also affected another aircraft chartered by a serving senator for the purpose of ferrying Muslims sponsored by him to Saudi Arabia to perform ‘Umrah.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) considers this as an unnecessary flexing of muscles. For now, we will stop short of calling it an hostile act calculated to cause logistic and psychological dislocation to innocent and harmless Muslims who were merely going to perform a religious duty.


The military’s action has succeeded in making Nigerian soldiers unpopular in an environment where they need the goodwill of the same victims of their high-handedness to defeat insurgents.

It is one of the worst miscalculations in human relations committed by the Nigerian Army in Boko-Haram-infested North Eastern Nigeria. Many questions remain unanswered from this action.


Exempli gratia, is the army being used as a tool for embarrassing Muslims and truncating efforts aimed at achieving spiritual fulfilment? Who gave the order to stop the plane from taking off and why? Is it another ‘order from above’? Is Aso Rock aware of this? Is this another anti-Muslim action of a Christian president and are we to expect more of such?


Tongues are wagging and Nigerian Muslims are already asking questions. MURIC therefore demands an explanation for this action from the military. We also expect some comments from the presidency.


Is Mr. President aware of this unpalatable development or not? Did Mr. President order Nigerian soldiers to disallow aircrafts taking Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia to perform a religious duty from flying?


MURIC reminds Nigerian authorities at all levels that the 1979 Nigerian constitution guarantees freedom of religion. We warn that those who strangulate religious freedom are merely creating tension.


It will be highly hypocritical for us to be talking about peace when we commit open rape on justice. We charge the relevant arms of the National Assembly to investigate this matter as a matter of urgency.


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


Friday, June 27, 2014

LOOK OUT FOR NEW MOON - NSCIA

LOOK OUT FOR NEW MOON - NSCIA

The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, has urged Muslims to look out for the new moon of Ramadan on Friday.

The Secretary-General of the organisation, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said in a statement that Friday, June 27, would be the 29th day of Sha’ban, 1435 A.H.

“To this effect, members of the National Moon Sighting Committee have been deployed with appropriate gadgets in various parts of the country for easy sighting of the new moon.

“However, other individuals, who are able to sight the new moon, are requested to contact, through appropriate authorities, any of the following: The President-General of NSCIA and the Sultan of Sokoto on 08036470422; the Deputy President-General (North) of the NSCIA and the Shehu of Borno , 08037855555, 08023549558; as well as the Secretary–General on 08034540120.

“Others are the Emir of Gwandu and all other Emirs, 08036154369; Lamido of Adamawa, 07056344449; the Etsu Nupe, 08039668707; the Otaru of Auchi, 08033892928; the Deputy Secretary-General (North) of NSCIA, Prof. Tijani El-Miskin, 08023577013; the Deputy Secretary-General (South) of NSCIA (Sheikh Adam Idoko) on 08036759892.

“They are also to contact the President of the League of Imams and Alfas in Yoruba Land and Chief Imam of Osogbo on 08035740333; the Baba Adini of Lagos, Sheikh Hafiz Abou, on 08037273382 and the Chairman, National Moon Sighting Committee, Dr Hafis Wali, on 08036009090 and 08023037478.”

Oloyede added, “Where the authorities are satisfied that the crescent has been duly sighted, the President-General and Sultan of Sokoto will announce the commencement of fast.

“However, if the crescent is not sighted on Friday, the Tarawih prayer should be observed on Saturday, the June 28 for the commencement of Ramadan on the June 29, whether or not it is sighted on that Saturday.”


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ARREST OF 486 TRAVELLERS: A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT



26th June, 2014
PRESS RELEASE:
ARREST OF 486 TRAVELLERS: A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT

The Nigerian military arrested four hundred and eighty six (486) travelers about one week ago on the way to the Eastern part of Nigeria. The authorities claimed ab initio that the arrested travelers were Boko Haram fighters.

 

The same authorities later claimed that they were travellers except one of them who was described as a notorious Boko Haram kingpin. Instead of setting the rest 485 travellers free, the army declared that they were not in a hurry to do so.        

 

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) decries this culture of impunity being exhibited by the Nigerian military. The constitution is constantly swept aside by the army while Allah-given and fundamental rights of the citizens are flagrantly violated.

 

We note with serious concern that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 guarantees Right to freedom of movement. Chapter IV, Section 41(1) says “Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereto or exit therefrom.”


We also remind the authorities of the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, particularly Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 which says, “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.”


In spite of these clear provisions, innocent traders are being denied freedom of movement on account of their being Northerners and Muslims. This makes a mockery of our democracy and turns the rule of law in Nigeria into mere charade.

 

Ceteris paribus, democracy is expected to guaranty the liberty of the individual including freedom of movement from one part of the country to another without let or hinderance. But the reverse is the case in Nigeria of today.


MURIC is deeply worried that Muslims and Northerners are constantly at the receiving end of arbitrary arrest, harassment, intimidation and extra-judicial killing.


We warn that the arrest and continued detention of these Northern travelers is a very dangerous precedent. It also amounts to religious and ethnic profiling.


It is interesting to note that despite the fact that kidnapping is rampant in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, no trader of Eastern origin has been arrested or turned back from any of the Northern states on the suspicion of being a kidnapper. The arrest and continued detention of the Muslim travelers therefore constitute a potent threat to national unity.


MURIC calls for the immediate release of the travelers. In the alternative, they should be charged to a competent court if suspected of having committed any crime. We charge the Federal Government to call the army to order before it is too late.


We appeal to the Security Committees of both Senate and the House of Representatives to investigate these human rights abuses. We call the attention of the international community, particularly the United Nations Organisation to the constant stigmatization and victimization of Nigerian Muslims.  


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