Monday, August 29, 2016
BEING TEXT OF A PRESS RELEASE MADE ON 29 AUGUST, 2016 BY THE MUSLIM RIGHTS’ CONCERN (MURIC) OGUN STATE CHAPTER ON ATTACKS ON MUSLIM NURSES AT THE NEURO-PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL ARO, ABEOKUTA MANAGEMENT.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Ogun State Chapter is constrained at this moment to issue this press release due to the unwarranted attacks by the Christian-led Management on Muslim nurses and its penchant for ecclesiastical pursuit in a Federal government hospital.
Permit us to state at the beginning that the issue of hijab (veil) by nurses in hospital is a fundamental human right and Allah-ordained injunction contained in the holy Qur’an (Surat an–Nur chapter 24 verses 30 – 31) and even the Bible in I Cor. 11:4-12 that women should cover their heads. However, we were not perturbed by the management’s disrespect for the divine injunction only but its insubordination to constituted authority which makes it posing great danger to our society of multi-religious nature.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Midwife and Nursing Council in a Circular dated February 11, 2002 referenced N& MCN/CMF/721/1/3 stated that the use of hijab is a constitutional and fundamental right of Muslim women for anyone who chooses to wear it yet the Neuro-psychiatric Hospital management has been denying Muslim nurses the right to use hijab.
The claim by the hospital management that there is no extant rule or directive approving the use of hijab is not only pure insubordination but outright disregard for a federal agency such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council that issued the circular authorizing use of hijab by nurses. Besides, every right thinking person should help us ask the Hospital management extremists that if there is no directive to use hijab as it claimed, was there any directive from Federal government banning hijab use by nurses? If not, why prevent Muslim nurses from using hijab if not pure extremism of the Management and the Islamophobic venture it has vowed to promote?
When we got the information, we investigated it and confirmed that the management under the leadership of Dr A.O Akinhanmi was aware of the circular yet it was bent on executing the mission of removing all vestiges of Islam in the Hospital.
In our effort to call the attention of the management to our displeasure with their extremism and insubordination, we wrote a protest letter dated and submitted on August 23, 2016 and acknowledged by the Provost office but to our dismay, the Hospital management went weird by assigning and directing Mr Odigili and Mrs Akeweje to ensure none of the nurses using hijab is allowed into the ward even when nuns use theirs without hindrance.
In fact, in a normal clime, the hospital management’s extremism ought to be met with stiff sanction to serve as a deterrent and this is what should be done in this case except the Honourable Minister of Health and other relevant authorities want to do the usual practice of let me rub my brethren’s back, The intimidation has continued since then and if not checked in time may be reciprocated by resistance of the Muslim Community and Dr Akinhanmi and his messengers should be held responsible for the consequences.
It is obvious that the ensuing peace in Nigeria is possible because of the perseverance and tolerance of the Muslims who despite unwarranted provocation from those who pay lip service to the message of mutual respect for all religious adherents but never for once abide by the admonition. If not, how does a Muslim hijab affect or concern a non-Muslim if not sheer extremism and intolerance.
Apart from disturbing fellowship everywhere, tolerant Muslims are still not allowed to practice their religion and its injunctions and should this have been from a Muslim, the whole world would have been engulfed with propaganda. These same set of non-Muslim extremists went ahead in Ayotoro Road area of Abeokuta on June 30, 2016 and beat up a student for using hijab in her residence while the Ogun state police even collaborated by failing to make any arrest till date when formally informed.
From the position of the management of Neuro-psychiatric hospital, Aro, Abeokuta, it is glaring that it has some pre-emptive agenda and having such management to continue leading the hospital will create chaos. Therefore, we call on the Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole and other relevant arms and agencies of government to intervene by restraining the management of Neuro-psychiatric Hospital, Aro from further intimidation and victimization of Muslim nurses and other staff using hijab unless it wants us to mobilize in full force to resist the fanatical disposition of Management of the hospital. Since they have known their mission, it would be better to allow them go out of the system to have time to establish their own health institutions where their mission would better be achieved.
Therefore, we implore and call on the general public and international organizations to prevail on the Management of the Hospital to shed its Christianization agenda for national interest of promoting justice, fairness and equity. We believe in live and let others live. Therefore, since no Muslim has ever forced Christians to wear hijab, why dictating to us how we should dress when we have our rights and do not impose on Christians how to live their lives?
The management should let peace reign and stop intimidating, victimizing and disturbing Muslims and ensure unrestrictive permission to Muslim nurses to use hijab as guaranteed by the constitution which provides “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance’’ of which the use of hijab (veil) signifies manifestation of one’s belief which the constitution guarantees.
Luqman Soliu Olawale Muritado
Coordinator, Public Relations Officer
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) , Ogun State Chapter.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
25th August, 2016
CHRISTIAN ELDERS CHASING SHADOWS
The Christian Elders Forum (CEF) yesterday descended on the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III for describing Nigeria as a multi-religious nation. They insisted that Nigeria is a secular country.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) takes exception to the stand taken by the Christian Elders. CEF is trying to hoodwink the Nigerian public by making bogus claims. We challenge the Christian Elders to show us the word ‘secular’ in the constitution.
A secular country is one that does not recognize God or religion at all. Examples are Russia, China and other communist entities. But is that true of Nigeria? This is a country that recognizes the existence of many faiths. Churches, mosques and shrines thrive in their thousands while the Federal and State governments give official recognition to the spiritual engagements of the followers of all creeds.
To cap the edifice, the preamble of the Nigerian Constitution starts with the words, “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indisolluble sovereign nation under GOD…” This is an indubitable rejection of secularism. So how secular is ‘secular’Nigeria? It is sheer bunkum. We assert clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Nigeria is a multi-religious nation.
MURIC affirms that the Sultan is right. Nigeria is a multi-religious nation. By describing Nigeria as a secular country, CEF ploy is to sustain the colonial game of Christianisation of the Nigerian structure. They are simply defending the actions of the colonial master. Based on the strategic approach of all belligerent elements and oppressors, that attack is the best form of defence, it is now in the character of Nigerian Christian leaders to be constantly on the attack.
The truth is that the British colonialists had forcefully entrenched Christian way of life on Nigeria. A few examples will suffice. Whereas Friday was our day of rest since the advent of Islam in Nigeria in 1085, the colonial master who came 800 years later (in 1842) annulled Friday (like June 12) and changed it to Sunday. Shariah was prohibited while Christian common law was imposed on us till today.
Hijab, which was an integral part of school uniforms for female students, was outlawed. Islamic Studies was trivialised while Bible knowledge was prioritized. The Christian cross was forced on us as symbol for the hospitals. The church choir gown became the officially recognized academic gown used during ceremonies in universities. It is also used by lawyers and judges in the law courts. We can go on and on ad infinitum.
Christian elders complain that Muslims are now occupying certain posts but they ignore all other sensitive positions being occupied by Christians. Were they on sabbatical in the days of former President Jonathan when General Ihejirika was Chief of Army Staff, Rear Admiral Dele Ezeobe was Chief of Naval Staff, Air Vice Marshall Alex Badeh was Chief of Air Staff? Were these people Muslims? Where were the Christian elders when all Jonathan’s ministers from the South West were Christians?
We appeal to the Christian Elders to allow their nomenclature to reflect in their actions and utterances. They should let Nigerian youths benefit from the wisdom of elders and not vice versa. We expect CEF to douse tension and not to heat up the polity. Nigeria has enough on its hands already and true patriotism demands that all hands be on deck to salvage the near-helpless situation. Let us squarely face the tangential and ignore the peripheral. Nigeria should be on our mind, not fishing for men or rabble-rousing.
MURIC salutes the Sultan of Sokoto for his self-control, unparalleled tolerance and robust appetite for moderation. We urge him to ignore all sorts of provocation and continue in his chosen path of statesmanship and responsible leadership.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
23rd August, 2016
JAIL BREAKS: FG SHOULD IMPROVE PRISON CONDITIONS
Incidents of jailbreaks within the country are becoming rampant. For instance, 13 prisoners escaped from the Koton Kafe prison in Kogi State on July 29, 2016. Another 15 prisoners escaped from Nsukka prison on August 9, 2016, while an attempted jailbreak occurred in the Abakaliki prison on Thursday August 18, 2016.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is greatly worried about these regular jailbreaks. They constitute an eloquent testimony to the porous nature of our prisons as well as the poor security arrangements in them. We lay the blame for the frequent jailbreaks squarely on the doorsteps of the Federal Government (FG), Nigerian prison authorities and the country’s slow, unresponsive and archaic judicial system.
Poor prison conditions force prisoners to find alternatives to their predicament. Unfortunately the poor conditions are products of corrupt practices among prison officials. Prisoners are stinted of food while a large part of raw food supplied is diverted to private homes. Funds meant for the rehabilitation of prisons are siphoned to private bank accounts. The trial of Imaobong Akon Esu-Nte, an accountant with the Nigeria Prisons Service and two others who laundered prisons funds is an eye-opener in this regard.
Overcrowded prisons constitute a major cassu belli for jailbreaks. For example, Nsukka prison which currently accommodates about 500 inmates was built to house 180 inmates only. Enugu Maximum Security Prison, built in 1915 for 638 inmates now houses 1,800. Bauchi Prison which was established in 1820 with the capacity to cater for just 500 inmates now has 1,041. Koton Kafe prison in Kogi State built for 180 inmates now contains 263. Kaduna central prison, established in 1915 for 547 inmates, now has a total of 954 prisoners.
The awaiting trial factor cannot be ignored in the issue of jailbreaks. Exempli gratia, only 82 of the 467 inmates in Minna old prison are convicts. The remaining 385 are awaiting trial. Also, only 104 out of 418 inmates in the new Minna prison are convicts. The remaining 314 are awaiting trial. There are 774 awaiting trial inmates out of the 1,041 in Bauchi prison. Aba prison is the worst as only 113 of the total 600 inmates are convicts.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the above data is alarming. It is noteworthy that the mastermind of Abakaliki jailbreak has been an awaiting trial inmate since 2007. 80 inmates are allegedly insane in Aba prison due to overcrowding. Underaged inmates are kept with much older and hardened criminals for the same reason.
Kazeem Sani spent 10 years in Kirikiri prison without trial on allegation of stealing a mobile phone valued N10,000 in 2006 He was freed this year (2016). Emeka Arum who was accused of armed robbery spent eight years in Enugu prison custody awaiting trial. Kingsley Udenu spent 9 years in prison awaiting trial on allegation of armed robbery and illegal possession of firearms before he was set free in January 2016. What kind of system is this? Why does Nigeria’s culture of waste focus on its youths?
A government that cannot accommodate prisoners and detainees or arrange speedy trials for those apprehended has no moral right to arrest more suspects. Our prison system merely serves the interest of crime rings and their leaders as it provides them easy access to fresh recruits. The onus is therefore on the Federal Government to rise to the occasion.
We commend state governors and Chief Judges who have freed large numbers of awaiting trial prison inmates. Topmost among these are Niger State Chief Judge, Fati Abubakar who freed 70 inmates on Wednesday April 5, 2016 from Minna prisons; Kaduna State Chief Judge, Tanimu Zailani who released 56 inmates from Kaduna Central Prison on Wednesday March 16, 2016 and the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Ayodele Daramola, who freed 28 awaiting trial inmates from various prisons in the state during a recent inspection visit.
MURIC calls on both the Federal and state governments to immediately embark on an aggressive decongestion programme for prisons. Nigeria is overripe for a radical prison reform. A more robust and more pragmatic legal aid scheme should also be introduced.
We reiterate our earlier suggestion for the introduction of courts-in-prisons. Courts-in-prisons system enables government to build courts inside prisons thereby bringing courts to those who need them most. This will eliminate logistic problems usually faced by prison authorities when attempting to arraign suspects in court.
Finally, policemen and prison authorities should henceforth be made accountable for delayed hearings. Policemen who are eager to make arrests and prison wardens who keep the detainees awaiting trial must be held responsible for any delay in bringing suspects to court. For example, any policeman in charge of a case who fails to turn up in court at the right time must himself be remanded in prison custody to have a taste of the pudding. In addition, such a policeman must not be promoted for the next two years.
The Federal Government should improve prison conditions. More prisons should be built to accommodate enough inmates. Both the state and Federal Governments should enter into partnership with civil society to set up probe panels for investigating all cases of awaiting trial in the country. Any inmate found to have been unjustly imprisoned must be compensated by the relevant authorities. Such compensation must be commensurate with the victim’s level of annual income. Nigeria’s democracy is a fraud if we continue to allow innocent people to suffer for years.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, August 14, 2016
15th August, 2016
NEW BOKO HARAM VIDEO: IT IS SHEER PROPAGANDA
Boko Haram insurgents have released a new video in which they claimed that Nigerian military had bombed some Chibok girls. They also offered to release the girls in exchange for some of their captured leaders.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) dismisses the new video as sheer propaganda. It is calculated to whip up anti-air campaign sentiments. It is a clear proof that the bombing is biting hard and hitting the insurgents where it hurts most.
Boko Haram released the video because its logistics are in shambles. It is surrounded on all sides. Its supplies are cut off. The game is up. Boko Haram should surrender instead of trying to hoodwink Nigerians with anachronistic tactics.
Boko Haram is known to have filmed its own dastardly operations. The victims shown in the video may have been victims of its several massacres of innocent civilians. The new video is nothing more than a fabrication. It is used as a ruse to escape the current pressure. It is also obvious that the girl in the video spoke under duress.
The new video is a ploy to discredit the Nigerian military. It is also calculated to incite Nigerians, particularly parents of the Chibok girls, their immediate neighbours, the Bring Back Our Girls group and the world at large against the Federal Government (FG). This may result in protests against bombings erupting in Abuja, Lagos and other key cities. The international community may also lash out at the FG over the method adopted to wage the war against the insurgents.
MURIC therefore cautions the Nigerian public and the world community not to fall into the trap of Boko Haram strategists. Boko Haram is shedding crocodile tears. We must ask the question, “When did Boko Haram hoodlums become interested in the welfare of the abducted Chibok girls?” We must not succumb to the cheap blackmail of night marauders.
Nobody should blame the Nigerian military for bombing the insurgents. Air superiority has always been used to gain advantage over the enemy, expedite military campaigns and minimize casualty particularly in terra incognito like the wide forests of Sambisa. There has also been increasing evidence that the Nigerian Army under its current leadership has been more professional and more committed to the military campaign in the North East. It has manifested all the qualities of a liberating army.
Neither should we blame the present administration for the plight of the Chibok girls. While we admit that government is a continuum and any new administration must not only inherit the assets of the past government, it must also inherit its challenges and responsibilities, it will be grossly unfair to overlook the criminal negligence of the Jonathan administration.
Although the abduction took place on April 14, 2014, it is on record that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan refused to take action for weeks after that. The girls would have been rescued if the army had received an order for hot pursuit within hours of the abduction. But it was delayed until the abductors reached their safe haven. Jonathan, for reasons best known to him, allowed the criminals to dig in.
We advise the military to leave Ahmad Salkida (the journalist) alone. Scapegoatism is the last thing expected of the Nigerian Army in this dicey situation. The alert sent out on the journalist is suggestive of desperation. The security agencies should collaborate, exchange information via regular situation report sessions and use the intelligence gathered so far to trace the girls.
Whoever assumes that Ahmad Salkida knows the exact location of the girls is being naïve. Do you think the insurgents will be stupid enough to meet him anywhere near the girls’ hideout? Do you expect them to repose 100% trust in him? Have you ever heard of kidnappers meeting negotiators near their victim? The army must think of something else. Ahmad Salkida is not the problem. It will be unprofessional to scare the insurgents from approaching this journalist in future. We must also think of his personal safety as well as that of members of his family.
MURIC supports negotiation with the insurgents to secure the release of the girls. Exchange may also become necessary as offered by them in the new video but we must make sure that we are not shortchanged in the process. The parents have suffered enough.
In conclusion, we declare the new video as mere ruse designed to save Boko Haram from total annihilation. We affirm that it is naïve to blame the army or the present administration for the plight of the Chibok girls. We charge the military to relentlessly continue its onslaught on Boko Haram insurgents, bombings inclusive. We call on the insurgents to surrender. They should accept the military’s offer of good treatment for those who freely submit themselves.
Abdul Razaq Uthman (Acting Director)
Shefiu Ayorinde (Public Relations Officer) Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Shefiu Ayorinde (Public Relations Officer) Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)