Thursday, November 26, 2015


27th November, 2015,

The Muslim Corpers Association of Nigeria (MCAN) yesterday cleared the air on the raging controversy surrounding the purported ban of the hijab in camps of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) across the country. MCAN in two separate statements issued in Abuja revealed that members of its executive held a meeting with the Director General of the NYSC, Brigadier General Johnson Olawumi, where the issue was amicably settled

In the first statement titled ‘Ban of Hijab Within NYSC Scheme: A False News’ MCAN reported that the DG apologized to the female corp member who was harassed by the Benue State camp commandant who has since been banned from the camp. The DG also promised to set up a committee to find a lasting solution to the hijab affair. The committee, according to the report, will coopt a member of the MCAN executive.

In the second statement issued by MCAN titled ‘NYSC DG Discredits The Ban Of Hijab’, the group confirmed that only the long hijab which reaches the ankles was banned while any hijab which covers the bosom or reaches the knee is permitted.  

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) welcomes the above development. Contrary to earlier perception, we note with pleasure the DG’s amenable disposition to the hijab question and his transparently liberal mien to religious issues.

We remind the NYSC authorities of the strategic importance of the institution to virtually every Nigerian parent. We therefore urge the body to inject doses of dynamism into its public relations so as to plug any lacuna in communication. Early reaction to issues of public interest will go a long way in preventing misunderstanding.  

Finally, we commend the maturity displayed by MCAN officials on the hijab controversy. We charge all Muslim corpers to discharge their duties with patriotic zeal. We also appeal to the press to avoid sensationalism in their reportage. We commend the DG of the NYSC for his liberality and for adopting an open-door policy in his handling of the hijab imbroglio.   

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


25th November, 2015

The Director General of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), Brigadier General Johnson Olawumi yesterday in Abuja made a categorical statement banning the use of hijab by youth corpers.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects the purported ban. It is reckless, baseless and preposterous. No public officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should speak in such manner. The pronouncement smacks of power drunkenness. It is a hate statement. The Director General needs to purge himself of Islamophobia.

On what ground is he banning the use of hijab? Security reason is not enough because we have examples of armed robbers using police uniforms to rob. Has anyone thought of banning police uniform? About forty armed robbers dressed in army uniform attacked six banks in Agbara, Ogun State last week. They killed a policeman and a pregnant woman. Should we ban army uniform because of that?

Brigadier General Johnson and his ilk are hiding under the security challenge facing Nigeria to implement a hidden agenda, namely, to stigmatise Muslims and to embarrass our daughters and wives who wear hijab.

Is General Johnson aware that female Muslims in the British police use hijab on top of their uniform? Can he tell us how the hijab disturbs a corper’s uniform? Does the DG know that hijab is an integral, nay, the most vital part of a female Muslim’s dress? Does he know that female Muslim corpers feel as if they are naked when disallowed from using the hijab? Is he aware of the psychological trauma such female Muslim corpers go through?

How can we spend a lifetime training our daughters to dress decently and you dehumanize them in your camp within 24 hours? How dare you?

We affirm that we will use every constitutional means to stop this religious apartheid against Muslims in the name of discipline and regimentation. Why must Muslims face persecution everywhere in Nigeria? Why cant the Nigerian system accommodate and integrate the Islamic culture? Why cant Nigerian officials allow Islamic landmarks to stand pari passu with British colonial and Christian culture? Is Nigeria truly independent or is it a banana republic created to serve only the interest of the British imperial master? Must Muslims be forced to accept British Christian mode of dressing?

We must ask who designed Nigeria’s school uniform? Who designed the army and police uniforms? Was it not the British? What is the religion of the British? Is every Nigerian in the same faith? So why cant we allow the Muslims to retain their identity? Why cant the Muslims enjoy religious freedom in this country?

Why must Muslims be forced to dress like Christians? Why must Muslims be denied the dividends of democracy? Any policy that fails to carry us along is exclusive. Nigeria is for all of us. We reject an NYSC that promulgates anti-Muslim decrees.

We remind the DG that he cannot turn Muslims in NYSC camps into slaves. This is not military rule. NYSC officials, including the DG will be acting ultra vires if they take actions which violate the laws of the land. Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees religious freedom. We seek the enforcement of this right.

Yet the hypocrisy of the system has been exposed. Can the NYSC Director General explain why the NYSC allows female Muslim corpers in places like Kano and Sokoto to use the hijab while their counterparts in the South are harassed and intimidated?

Why this double standard? Is the ban only meant for the South? Or is it further proof of the mythological ‘Northern-Muslim and Southern-Christian dichotomy’? It had better not be.       

We hope it will not get to a point when Nigerian Muslims will decide to opt out of the NYSC service year. Yes, we may have no other option than to ask our daughters to ignore an institution which targets them for ridicule, torment and persecution.

MURIC charges the NYSC to revisit its rules. Any aspect of those rules which fails to respect the faith of Christians, Muslims or traditionalists should be expunged. Such rules are draconian and counter-productive. They only serve the interest of neo-imperialists.

We appeal to the National Assembly to save Nigerian Muslims from annual embarrassment in NYSC camps. Our daughters are being derobed in public courtesy of a system that is blind to sociological realities, a system that has allowed itself to be enslaved by the culture of the colonial master.   

We call on the Director General of the NYSC to desist from precipitating a religious crisis of monumental proportion over the hijab saga. Nigeria has enough on its hands already. The DG should stop stirring the hornet’s nest. We insist that Nigerian Muslims cannot be intimidated. Nobody should test our will.

Nigerian Muslims have the capacity to mobilize for peaceful protests in all NYSC camps across the country if the molestation of our daughters continue. Enough is enough. We did not bargain for an NYSC that has been hijacked by religious bigots and Muslim-haters!

MURIC has a duty in loco parentis to cry out against the persecution of female Muslim corpers. They are our daughters and also our members. We charge all Islamic organizations in the country to rise to the occasion.

We cry out to our Mothers-in-Islam in the Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN), the Criterion and all other female Muslim organizations. It is taboo for a woman to ignore her child’s cry! Muslim women arise, the slave masters are dragging our daughters in the mud.
We advise female Muslim corpers to continue to use their hijab. It is their Allah-given fundamental human right. We are keeping a tab on those unscrupulous elements who will snatch the hijab from the heads of our daughters or those power drunk officials who will expel them from NYSC camps. Perhaps the time has come to revisit the whole gamut of this NYSC affair.   

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


18th November, 2015

Another bomb attack yesterday in a lorry park in Yola killed 32 persons. About 80 others were injured.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply saddened by this tragedy. We are seriously disturbed that violent death has become a recurring decimal in a geographical zone that has been peaceful and quiet for decades.

While we note that the imminent defeat facing the insurgents is the casu belli of recent bomb explosions, we urge the major stakeholders in the zone, particularly the state government and aid groups to focus attention on increasing awareness among the citizens. Tuesday evening’s bomb blast is one explosion too many. It amplifies the need to intensify citizen awareness more than ever before.

We suggest that announcements on radio and television should be repeated every fifteen minutes. Warnings printed on leaflets should be distributed to the public in motor parks, markets, mosques and churches.

These announcements should educate citizens on what to do in these days of insurgency, how to identify a prospective suicide bomber, the danger in ignoring abandoned luggages, the need to report strange faces in our communities to security agencies, etc.

Nigerians must not leave the war against insurgents to the military alone. We must give our gallant soldiers every necessary support. America was able to stem bombings because its citizens were on red alert everywhere.

The military is doing what it should do at the moment. Boko Haram fighters are feeling the heat. They are now on the run and this informs their recourse to guerrilla warfare, striking behind the lines and attacking soft targets. The aim is to embarrass the Federal Government.

These attackers are not ghosts. The fact that they are still able to inflict serious damage implies negligence on the part of the citizens. The state governments in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe should raise the alert level to deep red.

The non-governmental organizations and aid agencies in the zone should enlighten citizens in the three states on the principles of self-survival and the significance of staying alive. More importantly, they must create awareness on the after-effects of falling victims of bomb attacks and the implications of losing one’s limbs in such circumstances.

As a necessary precaution, all the remaining state governments throughout Nigeria should be on the tip-toes of alertness. They should properly educate their citizens on what to do to avert bomb attacks inside commercial vehicles, in motor parks, markets, workplaces, bus stops, airports, etc.

We urge the press to take up this challenge. In view of the fact that educating the public is one of the cardinal functions of the press, the Nigerian print and electronic media is invited to embed in their publications and programmes short but catchy jingles capable of heightening security consciousness among the citizenry.

To round up, MURIC charges citizens in the North East in particular and the whole country in general, to be vigilant in order to avoid more bomb blasts. Peace is around the corner. We remind Nigerians that dead men can neither enjoy the dividends of democracy nor reap the fruits of Buhari’s change mantra.

All hands must be on deck: the army, the police, the state governments, the press, aid agencies, NGOs and all citizens. A united citizenry can never be defeated. We refuse to be intimidated by merchants of terror. But we must all remember that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Every citizen must therefore do the needful.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, November 16, 2015


17th November, 2015

Terrorists on Friday 13th November, 2015 launched seven coordinated attacks on Paris killing at least 129 people. The attacks occurred at the Stade de France, the Petit Cambodge restaurant, the Le Carillon bar, the Rue de la Fontaine au Roi, the Casa Nostra pizzeria, the la Belle Equipe and the Bataclan Concert.  
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns these attacks. They are despicable, vicious and barbaric. They take humanity back to the Stone Age, grant unfettered licence to lawlessness and fuel universal chaos.

It is becoming more glaring that the main preoccupation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is the shedding of innocent blood and the precipitation of religious war, particularly between Christians of the West and Muslims of the Middle East.

We dissociate ourselves from the violent propensity of ISIS and its blood-thirsty associates in Al-Qaedah and Boko Haram whose stock-in-trade is the misinterpretation of the peaceful message of Islam. We reject the hate messages of messengers of death who ask Muslims to kill Westerners. We affirm clearly and unequivocally that Islam neither teaches racism nor does it endorse terrorism.

MURIC calls on Muslim youths all over the world to save Islamdom from an implosion induced by extremism. This they can do by distancing themselves from radical and violent groups.  

Nonetheless, we charge the West to look beyond the attacks. The authors of these horrendous attacks have merely manifested homicidal tendencies propelled by perceived provocations, presumably from anti-Muslim legislations in France and the genocides in Bosnia, Myammar, Central African Republic, etc in which thousands of Muslims were killed in cold blood while the West stood akimbo and the United Nations did nothing.   

We invite the world to ponder over the anatomy of terrorism and the cause-effect theory. There can be no smoke without fire. The fire which causes violence and terrorism is injustice. Unfortunately, while everyone is talking about the need for peace, nobody is talking about justice.  

We posit that peace is neither an orphan nor is it a lone ranger. We believe in two dogmas: one, peace is born from the wombs of justice. Two: peace must walk parri pasu with equity. Peace walks hand in hand down the isle with justice. Justice is the soul of peace. Nobody can deny one and still enjoy the other. The world must therefore make a choice. To be, or not to be? That is the question.       

In conclusion, we stand side by side with France today in its fight against terrorism. We condole all those who were bereaved in the Paris terrorist attacks and pray that Almighty Allah will give them the strength to bear the losses.

We charge the misled agents of destruction in ISIS, Al-Qaedah and Boko Haram to go back to the true and peaceful message of Islam. We appeal to countries of the West to return to the drawing board for the purpose of charting a new course based on justice, mutual respect and the recognition of Allah-given fundamental human rights in their dealings with Muslims all over the world.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)