9th August, 2011
BOKO HARAM: SECURITY AGENCIES HARRASSING INNOCENT MUSLIMS
The Boko Haram phenomenon has turned up a dangerous dimension, particularly in Lagos. Reports reaching our secretariat confirm that many innocent Muslims have been victimized by security agents in the past two months.
Exempli gratia: a bearded Muslim lecturer at the Lagos State University (LASU) who went to the Badagry campus to teach was accosted by armed soldiers as he walked past the military base in the town. He was questioned for several minutes and told to remove his beard. One of the soldiers told him, "Next time I see you with that beard, I am going to shoot before asking questions!". He was lucky to escape with his life.
Two Muslim students, Ismail Abu Bakri and Ibroheem Tajudeen, were arrested at the Muritala International Airport as they were returning from Sudan on Friday, 5th August, 2011. They had cleared all necessary protocols before they were arrested at the point of exit. The security agents refused all entreaties. The student visas in their passports were ignored and they were bundled away like cheap criminals.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) find this development nauseating, alarming and provocative. It is an invitation to chaos. Harassment and wrongful arrest of innocent citizens are gross violations of Allah-given and fundamental human rights.
It breaches Section 41 (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantees freedom of movement which stipulates inter alia that no citizen of Nigeria shall "be refused entry thereto or exit therefrom". The selective nature of the harassment of Muslims by security agents is also a gross violation of Section 42 (i) (a) and (b) of the same constitution which guarantees freedom from discrimination, religious or otherwise.
By this selective, discriminatory and unconstitutional treatment of Muslims, the security agencies have turned Nigerian Muslims into endangered species. Muslims are becoming fugitives in their own land. Democracy is fast becoming a sham and a mirage in present-day Nigeria. It had better not be.
MURIC warns that this is exactly the kind of scenario capable of becoming a recruiting sergeant for extremists. Nigerian Muslims are being militarized through victimization. An atmosphere of insecurity is being created for Muslims in their own country. This is unacceptable.
The transformation of the Boko Haram group from a pacific organization to a violent outfit within 24 months (2009-2010) is instructive in this regard. The attitude of the security agencies reveal that their training is either lopsided or that they have failed to practice the tenets of the training received by them. Nigeria's security agents are long in overzealousness but short in professionalism
If this trend continues, we foresee a situation in which Muslims will disappear on Nigerian streets only to reappear in Guatanamo Bay or in any of America's secret bases around the world, courtesy of America's most inhuman rendition policy.
We therefore demand the immediate and unconditional release of the two students, Ismail Abu Bakri and Ibroheem Tajudeen. We call on the Federal Government to check the excesses of the security agencies. Finally, MURIC advises Muslim youths and Islamic scholars to reduce their trips outside the country to essential journeys only and to always make their itinerary known to their immediate families.
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