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'
Thursday, September 29, 2011
INDEPENDENCE DAY MESSAGE
29th September, 2011
INDEPENDENCE DAY MESSAGE:
SET NIGERIANS FREE
Though Nigeria became independent 51 years ago, Nigerians are still everywhere in chains. This is evident in all sectors of life in the country: basic amenities of life (food, water and shelter), infrastructure, education, health and security.
The Glorious Qur'an (20:118-119) affirms that mankind has been given enough resources to banish hunger, starvation, thirst, homelessness and other forms of suffering on earth. Nigeria as a miniature representation of the microcosm has abundant human and material resources. What we lack is the leadership to properly harness those resources to raise the standard of living for the jamaheer (poor masses).
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) are sad to note that 80 million Nigerians are hungry. Nigerians started searching the dustbins for food in the early eighties. It has gotten worse. Those who have jobs are underpaid, overworked and overtaxed. Their take-home pays cannot take them home. Successive governments have abdicated their responsibilities particularly in the area of paying attention to agriculture and the development of rural areas. As a result of this young farmers have abandoned the farms. Agricultural loans are politicised in such a way that the real farmers get nothing while party faithfuls get the money.
Nigerians who need water build their own Water Corporation. Today Nigerians drink all sorts of rubbish in the name of water. Pure killer sachets are hawked on the streets by kwashiorkor-ravaged, hungry-looking teenagers in the name of pure water. That explains why cholera is one kobo per household in this country. Other water-borne diseases are having a field day.
Do we have roofs over our heads? Thousands of Nigerians sleep under the bridge. Government pays no attention to the exploitation of Nigerians by Shylock landlords. Neither is government ready to embark on an aggressive policy on the provision of houses.
Do we have good roads? Nigerian roads are death traps. The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) rolls out alarming accident data every year. Road users have not felt the impact of billions of naira earmarked for road construction and maintenance. Our maintenance culture is the worst in the world.
Do we have electricity? Nigeria is the richest country in the world today in terms of the number of generators in the country. If the possession of a generator is a criterion for assessing wealth, then no country can beat Nigeria to it. Our per capita generator ownership is the highest in the world. Every room in Nigeria has a generator. If a census of generators is carried out in this country today, Nigerians will be shocked. It has to be so because there is no electricity. This is one major clog in the wheel of industrial progress.
It is a pity that 51 years after independence, our hospitals have become public mortuaries. The health sector is groaning. What is moving in Nigeria? Is it education? UNESCO recommended the allocation of at least 26% of nations' budgets to education. What does Nigeria give to education? Pittance! There are no chemicals in the laboratories, no reagents. The walls of some schools are falling and killing school pupils. Teachers' welfare is a no-go area as far as government is concerned. No country suffers a quarter of the interruption to which the Nigerian education sector is subjected. This explains the race to attend school abroad with its attendant perils.
In the area of security, Nigerians are not safe anywhere in the country. There is mass kidnapping and armed robbery in the South East. Armed robbers operate at will in the South West. Boko Haram has made the North a no-go area. Fear is so palpably felt in the country that one can cut it with a knife. Lawmakers took to their heels a few days ago after a bomb hoax in the National Assembly. The security agencies appear helpless. Police headquarters in Abuja has had its taste of the bombing.
MURIC asserts that Nigeria is an interesting case study in the parable of the prodigal city cited in Qur'an 16:112; a city blessed with all facilities but which failed to appreciate Allah's mercy, "Allah therefore subjected it to hunger and fear as a result of the handiworks of its citizens".
Finally, we charge the Nigerian leadership to move the country closer to Allah. Our politicians must be God-fearing. We remind leaders who deceive the people that the Qur'an promises to give such leaders "double punishment" (Qur'an 33:67-68). We therefore urge President Jonathan to work towards bequeathing a legacy of industry, transparency, accountability and dialogue-loving. Though Nigeria is independent, Nigerians are still everywhere in chains. Jonathan must therefore set Nigeria free. We charge the citizenry to change their mindset and to forge ahead with the determination to make Nigeria a great country.
Dr. Is-haq Akintola, Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) 234-818-211-9714