The Honourable Commissioner, 25th January, 2011
Independent National Electoral Commission,
6, Birrel Avenue,
ADDRESS MASSIVE DISENFRANCHISEMENT OF MUSLIMS
We bring to your attention the possible breakdown of law and order in Lagos and Ogun States due to the illegal, overzealous and repressive attitude of registration officials in these two states towards Muslims.
Muslim women who wear hijab, those in purdah and Muslim males who wear ordinary caps are being denied registration. This is capable of discouraging Muslims from participating in the voters registration exercise. It is also tantamount to mass disenfranchisement of Muslims and a criminal denial of the Allah-given and fundamental human rights of tax-paying and law abiding citizens.
We have persuaded Muslims to avoid violent reaction. We have issued appeals to INEC on radio, television and newspapers but the persecution continues. Muslims in the North are not being treated this way. This may give room for negative speculations, fears and lack of confidence in INEC. Worse still, this discrimination is creating tension, excitement and agitation.
We need peace to conduct a successful voters registration exercise and the April 2011 polls. While we have confidence in the leadership of INEC, the ad hoc staff in the field have failed to appreciate the need for religious tolerance. A registration officer called Muslims on the queue 'the terrorist group'.
Muslims are being embarrassed, intimidated and dehumanized. This is not acceptable. It is the height of religious intolerance and a manifestation of man's inhumanity to man. It is barbaric and Bohemian. Democracy is a sham if it is not participatory. We suspect a deliberate attempt to massively disenfranchise Muslims in the South for a hidden agenda, but it is only agents provocateur who can pursue such agenda. MURIC will use every legitimate means to protect the Allah-given and fundamental rights of its members. We are presently compiling data on persecution spots.
As tax-payers and law abiding citizens, Muslims have the right to register. They must not be subjected to religious apartheid. We appreciate the efforts of INEC but wish to state that any exercise that does not take care of the needs of the various groups in the country is not objective enough. The peculiarities of the different religious groups must be properly taken care of. Those who refuse to recognize Muslims and give them their rights are promoting religious fanaticism.
As a proactive and peace-loving human rights organization, we suggest as follows:
1. that INEC Lagos and Ogun states in particular should issue fresh
Instructions on this matter to those in the field (that Muslim women in
hijab and other women who wish to cover their heads as well as Muslim
males wearing caps or any other men who do not wish to remove their
caps be allowed to register without any fuss) and
2. that INEC creates special centers handled by female officials (at least one
in each local government) for Muslim women in purdah.
Allah bless Nigeria.
Dr. Is-haq Akintola, Mallam Abdul Yakeen Williams
Director, Secretary General
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
1. The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA)
2. Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN)
3. Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN)
4. INEC Headquaters, Abuja
5. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State
6. The Commissioner of Police, Ogun State
7. His Excellency, Governor of Lagos State
8. His Excellency, Governor of Ogun State
9. The Director of State Security Service (SSS) Lagos State
10. The Director of State Security Service (SSS) Ogun State
11. SSS Officer, Ojo Local Government
12. SSS Officer, Iba Area Development Council
13. Chairman, Ojo Local Government
14. Chairman, Iba Area Development Council
Is-haq Akintola (Ph.D),
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC),
Yahoo Group: groups.yahoo.com/group/muslimrights
Be just Justice is the soul of peace
No one can deny one and have the other
Neither can violence or naked force bring lasting peace