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'
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
HATE SPEECH: SECURITY AGENTS MUST DO THE NEEDFUL
HATE SPEECH: SECURITY AGENTS MUST DO
The founder of Omega
Fire Ministries, Johnson Suleman, recently instructed members of his church to
kill Fulanis. An attempt by operatives of the Department of State Security
(DSS) to arrest him in Ado Ekiti yesterday was foiled by Governor Ayodele
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns Pastor
Johnson Suleman’s vituperations. It is provocative, irresponsible and
unpatriotic. In the same vein, we are nonplussed by Governor Fayose’s penchant
for preventing security agents from performing their lawful duties. By
shielding such a high profile suspect, Fayose has manifested blatant disregard
for the rule of law, encouraged lawlessness and exhibited executive brigandage.
Pastor Johnson Suleman
wants to make the country unsafe for Muslims and law abiding Fulanis. It is not
in our character to issue threats. We are mature enough to control our
emotions. Yet it is not out of cowardice that we prefer to tow the path of
peaceful coexistence. Muslims have never been known to fear death or to
compromise their faith. But we do not want to join issues with belligerent
people who are always bullying Muslims and Fulanis by telling lies and issuing
threats. Neither do we want to heat up the polity.
What will ordinary Muslims do when we exchange banters with
firebrand Christian extremists like Johnson? Why should religious leaders speak
as if they have stocked heaps of weapons in hiding? Why should spiritual guides
incite their followers to kill and maim? What do religious leaders gain from
goading their followers to shed blood?
The victims are
usually the poor masses who are hypnotized by the rhetoric and mesmerized by
the oratorical skills of their fanatical leaders. This is why leaders must
weigh every word they utter. Leaders are models. They must live by example and
teach their followers to learn how to love, to tolerate, to forgive and to
Nigerians to objectively and critically examine the Fulani herdsmen phenomenon.
They should not allow some misguided spiritual
leaders who have hidden agenda to becloud their sense of assessment. Fulanis
have been coming to Nigeria before the 1914 amalgamation. Their nomadic and
pastoral flow has never waned since the first Fulanis came from Futa Toro in
Senegal in the 11th century. We should therefore not be surprised
that the criminal elements among the herdsmen are not even Nigerians. They are
Senegalese and Malians.
It is therefore unwise of us as Nigerians to allow a few
lawless foreigners to cause religious or ethnic war in our land. Let us
separate criminals from their tribe or religion. We should resist the
temptation to stigmatise Fulanis or Muslims because a few herdsmen take the law
into their hands. For the avoidance of doubts, we denounce the criminal
activities of these herdsmen but we should mind where we point accusing
Are Nigerians unaware that the same Fulani herdsmen have
are also been attacking and killing Muslims in Zamfara, Niger, Kano, Bauchi and
other Northern states? Why have we been ignoring this angle if we are sincere?
Has the status of a herdsman changed when he attacks a Northern farmer or a
Muslim and steals his cattle?Let us be
objective. Let us stop criminalizing Fulanis and demonizing Muslims. It is the
height of hypocrisy and absolute lack of patriotism to give the criminal
activities a religious or ethnic colouration.
We therefore call on
the Nigerian security agencies to do the needful. Nobody is above the law.
Fayose or no Fayose, Pastor Johnson Suleman must still be questioned and
cautioned for his vituperations and provocative statements. He cannot remain
tied to Fayose’s apron string forever.
Even Fayose should be
told point blank that his days as a free man are numbered. He must answer for
his executive rascality and lawlessness. No governor in the history of Nigeria
has abused his office like Fayose has done. His cup of executive recklessness
has been filled to the brim. The people of Ekiti State have indeed entered a
‘one chance’ bus. Or what do we say about a state governor who is seldom sober?
We do not need a micro-biologist to tell us whether or not Fayose has the ‘area
boy’ syndrome virus.
We charge the Nigerian
security agencies to spare no effort in dealing decisively with the notorious
herdsmen who have brought untold hardship to Nigerian farmers. The full wrath
of the law must be unleashed on them for killing innocent farmers and
destroying their farms. We appeal to Muslims to go about their lawful duties
and to remain calm and law abiding. We invite religious leaders to douse
tension in their areas of influence in order to allow peace to reign.
As we round up, we remind the United Nations Organisation,
the European Union and the African Union to take note of the hate speeches
emanating from Nigeria and their authors for the day when the come will come to
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)