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'
Sunday, July 9, 2017
NASS SHOULD LEARN FROM VENEZUELA AND OTHER COUNTRIES
NASS SHOULD LEARN FROM VENEZUELA AND
The National Assembly (NASS) has been at loggerheads with the executive
since the commencement of the Buhari-led administration on May 29, 2017. This
has retarded normal running of government, delayed the approval of budgets on
two occasions and slowed down other government-related activities.
Worse still, the executive-parliamentary faceoff appears rooted in their
diametrically opposing approaches to the issue of corruption and how to tackle
it. While the executive demonstrates unflinching determination to eliminate
graft and punish looters, the legislature whose membership contains some
law-makers who are facing corruption charges is not so keen. It is even on the
verge of promulgating a law granting amnesty to looters of the nation’s
treasury, a move widely believed to benefit some of its members.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is
deeply disturbed by this cat and mouse game between the executive and the
legislature. From all indications, it appears that the eighth NASS was set up
ab initio to frustrate the efforts of the Buhari regime in its fight against
legislature is embroiled in a litany of sins ranging from its alleged outrageous emoluments,
tampering with budgets, rejection of government’s nominees, arm-twisting the
executive over sundry issues thereby virtually railroading the government to
bend over backwards to meet lawmakers’ frivolous demands.
Against the background of the threat issued by the NASS to Acting
President Yemi Osinbajo who has been asked to sack Ibrahim Magu, head of the economic
and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or face the consequences, we warn
against any rash action.
Our message to the Nigerian lawmakers
is loud and clear: touch the Acting President and face the wrath of the
Nigerian people. We believe that the NASS is taking too much for granted. This
law-making body should not invite anarchy. Nigerians are not really the fools
they think they are.
Our legislators should
learn from countries like Venezuela, Paraguay, Macedonia, Moldova, Iraq and
Burkina Faso. These are six countries whose parliaments were attacked by
patriotic citizens for adopting anti-people policies in the last three years. Just
five days ago, precisely on Wednesday 5th
July, 2017 in Venezuela, pro-Maduro
groups stormed Caracas congress accusing the lawmakers of standing in the way
of President Nicolas Maduro’s reform policies and programmes.
Also, for adopting an
unacceptable amendment to the country’s constitution, Paraguayans invaded
parliament on 1st April, 2017. The amendment would have allowed current President Horacio Cartes to be re-elected for
another term. In the Balkans, the Macedonian congress at Skopje was invaded by
supporters of President Zoran Zaev on 27th April 2017.
Last year, Moldovan parliament in Chisinau was also stormed
on Wednesday 20th January 2016 by hundreds of demonstrators shouting
‘thieves!’ after parliament appointed a third prime minister within one year. Iraq’s
protesters stormed parliament on 1st May, 2016 demanding an end to
parliament in Ouagadougou was burned down on
October 30, 2014 when demonstrators vent their anger over
a proposal to extend President Blaise Compaore's 27-year rule. The storming of
the parliament building marked the culmination of several days of demonstrations.
These scenarios can be replicated in Abuja. Members of the NASS should not be deceived by the elitist
environment of Abuja which, unlike Lagos, Kano, or Enugu, makes mobilization
difficult. Our lawmakers should know that it is not impossible for a determined
citizenry. Neither should they underestimate the Nigerian electorate. Nigerian
not test our will. Nigerians are sick and tired with legislative oligarchy and
This eighth NASS is
severely detached from the citizenry. We voted the present administration into
office to fight corruption. We are disappointed that the NASS has become the
recruitment sergeant for corruption and a weapon for harassing, coercing and
intimidating the symbols of change and champions of accountability like
President Muhammadu Buhari, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Babatunde Fashola,
We can no longer stand akimbo watching
lawmakers who are paid with our hard-earned money destroying the future of
coming generation of Nigerians. We want to see looters in jail. We want our
stolen money recovered. We want special courts to try these sophisticated
against parliaments in other countries in the examples cited above have been
characterized by violence resulting in injuries inflicted on lawmakers as well
as destruction of properties, MURIC advocates non-violent action like the
occupation of the NASS and peaceful rallies and protests in state assemblies by
placard carrying patriots. We know the hawks in the NASS will not succumb
easily. Nigerians must therefore be ready for a prolonged struggle. We must be
determined. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Dare to struggle, dare
to win. There must be no retreat, no surrender.
Islamic liberation theological teachings enjoin citizens to
stop evil doers and oppressors from perpetrating further evil (wa
yanhawna ‘anil-munkar : Glorious Qur’an 3:104, 110; 31:17; 16:90). It warns
that the wrongs committed by a few will sooner or later affect all if citizens
do nothing (Qur’an 8:25) and that citizens must take necessary actions to
effect change because Allah will not come down by Himself to change things for
them (Qur’an 13:11). The hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) equally exhorts
mankind to “hold the hands of evil doers” (ta’khudhuhu faoqa yadayhi).
As our concluding remarks, we remind Nigerians of the wise words of great
men in history. Uthman Dan Fodio said, “In an unjust
society, silence is a crime.” Dante
Alighieri, an Italian Poet opined,“The hottest part of hell will be reserved for those who in times of moral
crisis maintain their neutrality.” Lastly, Elie Wiesel fired man’s
revolutionary instinct when he observed, "There may be times when
we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we
fail to protest."
We remain oppressed until the hungry are fed, the
sick healed, the naked clothed and the homeless sheltered.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)