Monday, February 23, 2015


23rd February, 2015


Nigerian troops have within one week succeeded in liberating several communities earlier overrun and occupied by Boko Haram insurgents. Residents of those communities have also started returning home.

The insurgents seem to have met their Waterloo as many of them are fleeing. Some allegedly drowned in the Lake Chad as they tried to escape. The turn of events at the war front has prompted President Jonathan to declare that Shekau would be captured before the elections.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is elated at this positive development. We commend our gallant soldiers for beating the insurgents in their game. We are particularly pleased with the liberation of Baga and other communities. We urge the Nigerian military not to relent until all communities occupied by the hoodlums are liberated. Not even one inch of Nigerian territory should be left for them.

Nonetheless, we are irked by both the speed and the ease with which the military is overrunning the insurgents. We are tempted to ask, “Are these the same Nigerian soldiers who reportedly took to their heels at the approach of insurgents? How did this transformation come about?”

Here lies the difference between might and will. Nigerian soldiers have always been bold and daring. They were merely waiting for the Federal Government (FG) to manifest the political will.

Now that FG has awoken from its deep slumber and it has given our soldiers the green light to rout the insurgents, we call for caution in the euphoria of victory. The urge to seize Shekau alive may lead to another controversy. This is a man whom the Nigerian military claimed to have killed several times. Nigerian security agencies had also sworn that the Shekau appearing in video clips these days is a fake one.

So which Shekau do we want to capture alive now? The real one or the fake? If indeed either is captured, it will only add to the controversy. If the original Shekau is captured, then the military who claimed to have killed him lied to Nigerians albeit inadvertently. If the fake is captured, he is capable of throwing the whole country into greater controversy.

The passion with which Aso Rock expresses the possible capture of Shekahu within one week is therefore curious, if not disturbing.

We warn that the propaganda machinery of both Boko Haram and the Islamic State (ISIS) is highly sophisticated. A captured fake Shekau is capable of planting seeds of discord within the Nigerian polity via ‘confessional’ statements extracted from him. He can easily be used for political ends. This may be too dangerous.

Nigerians will be too glad to know Shekau has been killed or captured. But nobody should contemplate using the seizure of either a fake or original Shekau to implicate political opponents.

Both the ruling party and the opposition have played too much politics with the issue of Boko Haram. Let Shekau die. But don’t give us a fake Shekau to score cheap political points.  

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Thursday, February 19, 2015


19th February, 2015


The Nigerian National Assembly (NASS) resumed yesterday (Wednesday 18th February 2015) amidst rumours of an advanced plot aimed at extending the tenure of President Jonathan, thereby scuttling the 2015 polls.

Members of Senate and the House of Representatives are allegedly being lobbied to support a six-month extension in the first place. This will later be extended by two years as the regime digs in. Senators and representatives who failed to clinch a return ticket during the primaries are allegedly showing interest in the grand plan.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) joins other well-meaning Nigerians, true patriots and genuine democrats to warn against this diabolical plot. It is nothing short of a coup against the people of Nigeria and a sabotage of what Rousseau called the General Will.

With the exemption of a few bootlickers and court jesters, Nigerians are eager to vote come March 28 and April 11. It is rather unfortunate that the Presidency seeks to uphold Napoleon Bonaparte’s postulate that the only lesson which men learn from history is that they learn nothing from history. 

Or how else can we describe the present maneuvers from Nigeria’s seat of power against the backdrop of the June 12 imbroglio and the subsequent chaos that dragged Nigeria back by several decades.

Without the fear of contradicting the Hegelian thesis that history always repeats itself, we hasten to remind President Jonathan of the Marxist antithesis adjudging the first repetition of history as a tragedy and the second, a farce.

MURIC appeals to President Jonathan not to prove cynics right. The excuse given for postponing the election (security) was dismissed by many as a ruse. It will be too bad if this plot is true. It had better not be.

It is not the winners of elections or their losers that emerge heroes among leaders but those who are most adaptable to change, those who play the game according to the rules, those who respect the rule of law, those who choose honour and integrity and those who shun the tempting songs of power.

We charge members of the NASS to stand on the right side of history where their names will be written in letters of gold. We remind the honourable members that whereas the courage to sell one's conscience is cheap, the will to take a principled stand is worth a governor's ransom.

If it is true that President Jonathan has repeatedly told Nigerians that March 28, April 11 and May 29 are sacrosanct, then we must not be hearing this type of rumour. We invite Mr. President to fear God, the source of all power.

To prove that he is a true Christian, President Jonathan must keep faith with Numbers 30:2 where the Bible says, “When a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds from his mouth”.

To be or not to be? That is the question. Whether President Jonathan is prepared to prove to Nigerians that he is a good Christian and therefore worthy of the responsibility of leadership of about 170 million Nigerians will be largely tied to his readiness to keep a date with the March 28, April 11 elections and the May 29 inauguration.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


17th February, 2015


Several campaign offices and posters of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) were allegedly vandalized and torched in Maiduguri, Borno State yesterday during the presidential campaign rally of the ​All Progressives Congress​, APC.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) takes strong exception to this act of recklessness and unprovoked aggression. We commend the security agencies for exercising restraint in the face of such lawless behavior.

It is unfortunate that, 55 years after independence, Nigeria still wallows in a barbaric political culture. The current trend of political violence is repulsive, despicable and alarming. This trend is characterized by physical attacks on members of other political parties, vandalisation, arson and even murder.

The spectacle is disturbing because of its capability to discourage the injection of new blood into the political system. Elites and youths who have good ideas about moving Nigeria forward are most likely to be pissed off politics by the ugly phenomenon. The end result is the endless recycling of Stone Age politicians who are only marketable for their nuisance value.

The fact that the orgy of violence involves mainly the two main contending parties, the ruling party, PDP and the main opposition party, APC is quite instructive. It gives stakeholders an area of concentration.

MURIC is optimistic that the trend can still be reversed if the police, elder statesmen, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders call leaders of the PDP and APC to order now. We are aware that the Nigerian Police has organized peace meetings among political parties in most states of the federation. We commend the police for initiating this move.

But just as the police alone cannot maintain security without the active support of the citizens, the police alone cannot successfully perform the task of peace-making in a political process. There is urgent need to involve people who can influence the citizenry.

We therefore charge elder statesmen, religious leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to take up the challenge immediately by calling leaders of the PDP and APC to roundtables.

This must be done urgently before the elections. Nigerians are on edge. Many people are afraid of travelling or even moving around the city for fear of being caught between two hostile political groups.

MURIC affirms that the offenders must not go scot free. Beginning with the Maiduguri thugs but not limiting action to the ugly event, those responsible for acts of violence must be made to face the wrath of the law. Political parties whose supporters are clearly and unambiguously identified as being responsible for violent attacks on other parties should be made to repair damaged properties or pay compensation.

Finally, we remind politicians and the rest of the citizens that it is high time Nigerian politicians evolved a civilized political culture which must be characterized by maturity, tolerance of opposition and the adoption of a liberal attitude towards elections instead of the current desperado politics whose only dogma is ‘do or die’. 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Friday, February 13, 2015


13th February, 2015

Armed policemen surrounded the residence of Shehu Garba, the Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organization on Thursday, 12th February, 2015. As a result of the siege, Shehu Garba, who lives at the NNPC Quarters, Area 11, Abuja, could not go to the mosque for the Salat as-Subh, a mandatory early morning worship for Muslims.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply worried about the recent siege mentality. We remind Nigerians that soldiers numbering about thirty (30) have been stationed very close to the Lagos residence of Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the APC, for the past four days. Soldiers also recently desecrated the sanctity of the Imo State Government House in Owerri.

We are worried about the use of security agencies to intimidate and harass the opposition. How can elections be free and fair when security agents hound leaders of the opposition left, right and center? This siege on the opposition appears to be aimed at disorienting opposition parties to the advantage of the ruling party. These are Gestapo tactics which should not feature at all in a nascent democracy.

It is therefore clear that Nigerian security agencies are in an unholy alliance with the ruling party. Otherwise why are the security agencies always after the opposition?  President Jonathan also seems to be revealing his despotic tendencies.

He cannot stomach opposition. Neither can he superintend a free and fair election without being closely monitored, mentored and restrained from committing illegalities.

MURIC therefore charges the National Assembly (NASS) to be alert to its responsibilities. There are checks and balances in a democracy and NASS must move urgently to check the excesses of the Nigerian Head of State. 

In his recent media chat, President Jonathan refused to condemn militants (his kinsmen) who have been threatening war should Jonathan lose the election. In the same vein, the President is not willing to call overzealous security officials to order. NASS must save Jonathan from Jonathan as part of its oversight functions.

We appeal to the European Union monitors who are already in the country to pay close attention to the harassment of opposition leaders by the Nigerian security agencies. We invite the United Nations and Nigeria’s West African neighbours to quickly send their own monitors for the same purpose.  

To certain quarters which are attempting to blackmail us into silence by accusing us of partisanship, we reiterate that MURIC is an apolitical, faith-based human rights organization. Our interest lies in steering Nigeria towards good governance. 

We are inspired by the injunction contained in Qur’an 8:24 which says, “Beware of a calamity which will not affect only those who commit the evil…”  

We therefore see ourselves either as an integral part of the likely beneficiaries of good governance or possible victims of bad governance. This is why we speak up. 

We are also motivated by Qur’an 3:104 which says, “Let there arise among you a people inviting unto righteousness and forbidding wrongdoing.”

Available records show that we have been playing this role in Nigeria since the establishment of our organization in 1994 spanning several military and civilian regimes. We have no doubt that this role will continue in post-Jonathan years. 

Therefore neither the ruling party nor President Jonathan is our target. It is normal for human rights groups to focus their attention on the activities of government and the security agencies. It is all aimed at creating a better society for all.  

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)