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'
IN DSS RECRUITMENT: IT IS A CORRECTIVE MEASURE
Premium Times, an
online media house, yesterday alleged lopsidedness in the recent recruitment
into the Department of State Services (DSS) which is apparently in favour of
Responding, the Presidency said the measure was taken to redress the
inequity in past recruitment exercises in the DSS which were carried out
between 2014 and 2016.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern
(MURIC) are constrained to put the incident in proper perspective because we
had complained about lack of equity in recruitments into all the security
agencies including the army, the navy, the DSS, and the Nigerian Police
(particularly the mobile police unit) since 2013.
It will be recalled
that in our press statement of 24th October 2016 captioned ‘Review
Recruitments and Promotions in the Nigerian Security Agencies’, MURIC cited the
example of the glaring marginalization of Muslim candidates in the 65th
Regular intake course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
In that recruitment, more Christians were picked in Muslim
majority states in the North. Only five Muslims were picked in Borno State as
against eight Christians. Only four Muslims were picked in Gombe as against ten
Christians while only three Muslims were picked in Kaduna State as against
eleven Christians. Infra dignitatem!Adamawa had four Muslims, nine
Christians while Taraba got three Muslims, ten Christians.
There have also been many cases of Christians given slots in Jigawa, Katsina,
Zamfara and even Sokoto. This has been the pattern for more than twenty years
now. Recruitments into the officer corps have steadily favoured Christians. What kind of criteria
could have justified such imbalance? It became glaring that somebody somewhere
was building an all-Christian army for Nigeria in the nearest future.
We have also complained that recruitments into key parastatals and
agencies, especially the SSS, NIA, the Police, the Armed Forces and even
paramilitary agencies, have been systematically skewed to favour Christians. To
add salt to injury, there have been massive expulsion and wholesale retirement
of Muslims in those sectors.
A look at the recruitment into the
SSS officer corp in 2013 showed that the outcry against the latest recruitment
of April 2017 is unjustifiable. It has taken the recent recruitment in
isolation without considering earlier figures. For example, Kano had six (6) in
the 2013 recruitment. Kebbi and Sokoto had three (3) each. Rivers State had thirty
eight (38) while Akwa Ibom had forty (40). The records are there if anybody
denies it. In addition, most of those
from Kaduna, Bauchi, Taraba, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Kogi, Gombe , Ogun, Oyo and
Oshun States were predominantly Christians. What was the parameter used in
arriving at such preposterous figures?
At the Zaria Army depot, where other ranks of the Army are trained, over
11,000 were recruited and trained in the last five years and Christians
constitute a large majority. The training exercise is often characterised with
maltreatment of Muslims. More than forty Muslim recruits at the Zaria Army
Depot were expelled in 2013 with no explanation just a few weeks before the end
of their training.
In spite of the majority status of Muslims in the South West, recruitment
exercises for candidates from the sub-region always end up producing Christian
candidates only. The interests of minority Christians are always put above
those of majority Muslims in the South West. This is unacceptable. Unfortunately
this ugly phenomenon is not restricted to recruitments into the security agencies
alone. It is extended to ministerial and parastatal posts. All the five ministers
from the sub-region during the Jonathan regime were Christians and he only
conceded one to Muslims after the latter
protested to Aso Rock.
MURIC is constrained to ask, “Does
this not look like a plot to use predominantly Christian security agencies to intimidate,
traumatize and systematically wipe out Muslims in Nigeria? Does this explain
the constant massacre of Muslims by security agencies in some parts of the
country?” The fear of this reality is becoming palpable among Muslims.
It should be noted
that the authoritative Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a damming report on the last
major religious crisis in Jos, indicted the Mobile Police for singling out
Muslims for massacre. It cited more than a dozen incidents in which mainly
Muslims were rounded up and gunned down. In one incident alone, 44 Muslims were
lined up and shot.
HRW also listed seven other incidents of extra-judicial killings in which
soldiers shot 47 Muslims in a cold blooded manner. Although HRW called for a
probe of the Mobile Police nobody appears to care. It is didactic that the HRW
report concluded that: “The probe of the mobile police should go beyond its
role in the Jos crisis to unearth its recruitment policy, numerical strength
and the religious affiliations of its officers and men”.
It also added: “Unless
the roles played by the Mobile Police and fake soldiers are properly
investigated and the finding made public, other groups are likely to adopt
similar methods in the nearest future”.
A former Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State, Mohammed Shehu, also observed
after the major religious crisis of year 2000, that there would be no end to
religious crises in Kaduna State unless the composition of the Police Force,
which was 80% Christians in Kaduna State was re-constituted.
It is on record that the Late Sultan Maccido interfaced with ex-President
Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005 on the marginalization of Muslims in the security
agencies. That visit was an expression of the fear of elimination. Sultan
Maccido handed the Muslim petition to Obasanjo. This was followed by an
advertorial. Almost twelve years later, the lopsidedness in the recruitment
exercises have become even more reckless.
The reigning Sultan, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, also led a
Muslim delegation to ex-President Jonathan to lodge a similar complaint in 2014.
Yet nothing was done.
An important lesson to draw from the ongoing is that Nigerian heads of
state must avoid favoritism of any kind, whether based on ethnicity or
religion. Heads of state must realize that no disproportionate recruitment can
go unnoticed and the next administration led by somebody from another faith or
from another tribe will always seek to balance up and redress any injustice.
Any recruitment exercise which
fails to recognize the diversity of the Nigerian people must not be allowed to
stand if the letter and spirit of Section 14(4) of the Nigerian Constitution is
anything to go by.
FG must still review recruitments
into the mobile police, the army, the NIA, etc. In addition, we urge the security agencies, particularly the Nigerian
Army, to urgently embark on a general review of promotion exercises and
retirement cases in the last five years. Both serving and retired officers and
men who believe they have been unjustly denied promotion or unduly retired
should be encouraged to submit memoranda.
As we round up, we affirm that the Buhari administration has been very
fair to Christians and Southerners. We urge the regime to continue on this
course. We appeal to Nigerians to accept the recent recruitments in good faith
in view of the facts and figures which show that there had been gross
lopsidedness in earlier recruitments.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
SUSPENSION OF SGF AND DG NIA: WHY IS
Buhari recently suspended the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) David Babachir
Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on
allegations of sharp practices and violation of due process.
Association of Nigeria (CAN) immediately cried foul. The umbrella Christian
body, speaking through the president of its Northern youth wing, Daniel David
Kadzai, accused Buhari of suspending the duo simply for being Christians and
not because of any allegation of graft. The parent body has not denied this
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) take exception to
CAN’s allegation against Buhari. It is false, baseless and malicious. CAN’s
allegation is short in modesty, long in indecency.
Does CAN recall that
the grass-cutting scandal broke out since October 2016? Isn’t CAN aware that Nigerians
have since been clamouring for the sack of the SGF? Buhari, who is known for his zero tolerance
for corruption, still allowed the SGF to continue in office for good eight
months after the scandal broke out in spite of the avalanche of criticisms. He
gave the SGF the benefit of the doubt while discreet investigation continued. The
presidency even went out of its way to declare the SGF innocent in a letter to
Senate. Buhari was only constrained to act after indubitable proof of
impropriety was provided.
It is therefore the
height of ingratitude and the climax of impudence for CAN to turn round to
accuse Buhari of suspending the SGF because he is a Christian. Why does CAN
love blackmail so much? At what point exactly did the SGF become a Christian? Was
it just yesterday?
Was he not a Christian when Buhari deemed it fit to appoint
him? Was he not a Christian when Buhari defended him before Senate? Was he not
a Christian when Buhari retained him in office for eight good months while
Nigerians rained all sorts of abuses at the president for not sacking his ‘corrupt’
Ditto for the DG of
the NIA, Ayo Oke. Whereas it is customary for newly sworn-in presidents to
appoint their own men to strategic positions, President Buhari magnanimously
retained ex-President Jonathan’s men and many of them are still in office to
date. Ayo Oke was one of them and we doubt if anything would have happened to
him if the $43 million cash haul in the Ikoyi luxury apartment had not occurred.
Equally nauseating is the statement credited to one
Suleiman who claims to be the son of Babachir Lawal. He alleged that his father
was removed because he was a Christian. This may be understandingly infantile. We
may ask him, nonetheless: did Jonathan appoint Ayo Oke as DG of NIA because he
was a Christian or because he merited the post?
We call the
attention of patriotic Nigerians to the antics of the leadership of Nigerian
Christians: blackmail, arm-twisting, bad faith and ill-will. How can any
Nigerian leader function effectively in this kind of atmosphere unless he is a
Christian? The rough-tackles begin the moment a Muslim becomes president.
We warn that
this must not be allowed to go on. CAN is using religion to promote mediocrity.
CAN is sheltering corrupt Christians in public office. This is a body that
should concretise the values of transparency, honesty, probity and
accountability. It is shameful, self-defeating and unpatriotic.
The amount of money involved in the grass-cutting scam (N220
million) was for weeding the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the
North East. Is it not disgraceful for any public official to add salt to the
injuries suffered by the IDPs? In the case of the DG of NIA, the amount involved
is a staggering $43 million. This money alone is enough to electrify the whole
South West of Nigeria.
belongs to all of us. Not to Muslims alone. Not to Christians alone. It is our
commonwealth for crying out loud and somebody is playing pranks with it. But
CAN seems to be telling Buhari to “keep off, this is a Christian affair. Touch
not my anointed!...” or something that sounds like it.
MURIC says ‘No’ to religious politics. One they are
indited, a grass-cutter thief is a grass-cutter thief whether he is a Michael
or a Mikail. A dollar hoarder is a dollar hoarder whether he is a Joseph or a
Yusuf. Corruption knows no religion. Let us allow the law to take its due
course. CAN must stop protecting corrupt Christian public officials. Or is CAN
telling us that a percentage of money stolen by Christians from government is
always reserved for the church? So why the hullabaloo?
avoidance of doubt, MURIC’s concern is the welfare of the jamaheer (the masses).
Why should we continue to tolerate a situation where only 1% of the population
corners 85% of our commonwealth to themselves leaving only 15% of the country’s resources to the remaining 99%
of the population who are over-worked,
under-paid and over-taxed workers, frail-looking and weather-beaten indigent students
and the army of unemployed, hungry and homeless Nigerians?
As we round up, we affirm, for the umpteenth time, that our
intellectual jihad is not for President Muhammadu Buhari. It is for
socio-economic justice. It is for a Nigerian El Dorado, for the establishment
of an egalitarian society where no Nigerian will be homeless, illiterate, hungry
Our jihad (i.e. struggle) is against corruption,
injustice and bad governance and we will leave no stone unturned until every
Nigerian, Christian, Muslim or animist, is free to work and worship in any part
of the country he chooses to reside. It is therefore not about Buhari. It is
about good governance and life more abundant. Any government that pursues
transparency will get our support while tyrants and oppressors will always feel
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
In spite of the truce
reached at a parley between Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and Muslim
leaders from the South West three weeks ago, members of the Muslim Rights
Concern (MURIC) in Ekiti State have sighted the governor’s bulldozers strategically
stationed near the mosques under threat in Ado Ekiti yesterday, Saturday 22nd
This move is not
only irrational but also highly provocative. Governor Fayose is deliberately
provoking Muslims in Ekiti State and, by inference, in Yorubaland and the
country as a whole for his own personal agenda. For reasons best known to him, Fayose
wants to set Nigeria on fire. He knows that his action is capable of causing a
breach of the peace yet he appears determined to go ahead.We
warn that nobody should blame Muslims for any breakdown of law and order if
those mosques are demolished.
We are bewildered that the chief security officer of a
state can be hell-bent on stoking religious riot in a country heavily beleaguered
with religious conflicts. Fayose’s belligerence and open display of hostility
towards his Muslim citizens belies the perceived atmosphere of peaceful
coexistence between Christians and Muslims in South Western Nigeria.
Many people, including foreigners in the country, are under
the impression that religious intolerance exists only in the northern part of
the country. Nay, the truth of the matter is that Muslims in the region have
been patiently bearing a long-drawn repression and denial of their Allah-given
fundamental human rights.
exhibition of fascism and religious intolerance has just proved that the claim
of peaceful coexistence among Yoruba Christians and Muslims is a myth, a mirage
and a total illusion. There has been peace because the Muslims of the region have
demonstrated extreme forbearance. The Muslims have continued to remain peaceful
even in the face of gross provocations.
We recall that the American Congress invited the former president
of CAN, Ayo Oritsejafor, to address its members on the purported atrocities
committed by Nigerian Muslims. He told the American lawmakers bundles of lies
but, unfortunately, the US Congressmen are yet to grant Nigerian Muslims the
right of response in the name of fair hearing.
The reality on ground is that while a handful of Christians
may be amenable to the idea of religious tolerance, many others like Fayose
have a phobia for Muslims and an allergy for seeing any Islamic monument in
their neighbourhood. Fayose is determined to uproot every single Islamic
landmark on Ekiti soil before his tenure expires in 2018.
MURIC calls the attention of leaders of the Christian
Association of Nigeria (CAN) to Fayose’s aggression against Muslims. We appeal
to Western diplomats in the country to spare a little time to study the religious
landscape in Yorubaland. We charge leaders of the National Assembly, lawmakers from
Ekiti State and all men of goodwill to make Fayose see reason. We invite
notable traditional rulers in Yorubaland, particularly the much revered Ooni of
Ife and the Alaafin of Oyo to intervene in the matter before it gets out of
Finally, we warn that the fragile peace and one-sided religious
‘tolerance’ being enjoyed in the South West may come under severe threat if Fayose
carries out his threat to destroy those mosques.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)