Monday, April 30, 2018
1st May, 2018
TRUMP MISFIRED ON KILLINGS IN NIGERIA
President Donald Trump of the United States of America has said his country would not tolerate the killing of Christians in Nigeria. He made this statement yesterday, Monday, 30th April, 2018 in a chat with his Nigerian counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari, in the White House.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) takes Trump’s comment with a pinch of salt. As usual, Trump has misfired again. His statement leaves presidential norms in the dust. It is prejudiced, parochial and unpresidential. Trump’s statement makes a mockery of democracy. It is sheer interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. Trump has a bully’s instinct.
Trumpism has steadily exhibited a pitiable lack of understanding of U.S. foreign policy. Trump’s reckless approach alienates the American public. It is repugnant to world leaders. Even US military analysts have admitted that Trump’s bellicose attitude is making Americans ‘less safe’.
If this is the same Trump who called African countries ‘shithole’, the same American president who threatened to wipe out North Korea, the same US leader who banned Muslims from entering his country, the same Republican who said, “Torture works, ok folks?”, Nigerians must be wary of America’s involvement in their affairs.
We should remember that Nigeria did not get the required support from the moderate and cool-headed Barrack Obama in its war against terrorism. We should therefore not expect any from Trump who treats vulnerable nations with contempt and has no respect for African countries. Unless Nigerians unite, this country will become America’s ‘shithole’.
Trump’s comment on killings in Nigeria implies that he would prefer that it is Muslims alone who are being killed. We refuse to believe that a whole American president does not know the true situation on ground in this country. He who knows but pretends not to know has his own secret agenda. Nigerian Muslims are not intimidated by Trump’s comment. We only sympathise with those who will be gullible enough to become Trump’s ‘suckers’. Posterity will judge us.
Nigerian Christians should not allow themselves to be deceived by Trump’s comment. The advanced countries of today will not compromise the secret of their technological advancement. Western countries will not teach us what will benefit our people. They will only teach us what will divide us in order to further render us debilitated, impoverished and helpless.
Nay, they will give us fish but refuse to teach us how to fish. They will scatter us like wild oats and then give us weapons to kill ourselves. Then, under the guise of rendering humanitarian services, they will take over our land, our oil, our rich culture and force homosexualism and lesbianism down our throats but at that time, it will be too late to resist. Mark our words.
Trump is only using religion to turn Nigeria into another Iraq. Just as former US President Bush used Sunni-Shiite dichotomy to destroy Iraq just to lay his hands on Iraq’s oil field, Trump is also eyeing Nigeria’s oil. His plan is to use Christian-Muslim divide to set Nigeria ablaze. But Nigerians should remember that decades after the invasion of Iraq, that country is yet to experience stability. Years after the killing of Ghadaffi, Libya is yet to find its feet. The guns are still booming in Syria and the world holds its breadth each time North Korea sneezes.
It is our contention that Trump is luring Nigerian Christians into bolder confrontation with their Muslim neighbours. We warn that the West African sub-region will be shaken to its foundation if Nigerian Christians swallow Trump’s bait. The extension to Nigeria of America’s crusade which brought ruins to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Sudan will have dire consequences on the whole African continent.
What Nigeria has is security challenge but opening our doors to an international bully is not the panacea. We therefore charge the Federal Government (FG) not to rely on US support. What FG needs to do is to recruit more men into its security agencies. We warn against any military alliance with America. We should rather look towards Asia.
Nonetheless, MURIC rounds up this intervention with a passionate appeal to Nigerians. Let us regard Trump’s comment as the official position of the American ruling class and not necessarily that of the average American people. We plead that Nigerians should nurse no grudge against ordinary Americans who have been taken hostage by Donald Trump. We invite Christian and Muslim leaders to forge more cordial relations. We urge President Donald Trump to liberate himself from his bully’s instinct.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, April 29, 2018
30th April, 2018
CAN PROTEST: WE ARE ALL VICTIMS
The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Wednesday, 25th April, 2018, called on its members across the country to hold demonstrations after church service on Sunday over killings across the country, especially in the Middle Belt region. As a result of this call, Christians in Lagos, Akure, Osogbo and Ado-Ekiti held peaceful protests yesterday (Sunday 29th April, 2018).
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) acknowledges the rights of groups to express themselves in a democratic setting. We also commend the Christian protesters for conducting themselves peacefully. We affirm clearly, categorically and unequivocally that life is sacred and no Nigerian citizen, whether Christian or Muslim, deserves to be killed.
However, we reaffirm our earlier position that Christians have not been the only victims of the killings around the country. Muslims are losing hundreds of faithfuls on a monthly basis in the North East as Boko Haram unleashes terror on the predominantly Muslim populace. 36 Muslims were killed in Birane Village in Zurmi Local Council, Zamfara State on February 16, 2018. Six Muslims were killed in Jidari Polo area of Maiduguri on April 26, 2018.
Even yesterday, Sunday 29th April, 2018, another 15 Muslims were killed in Bawon-Daji village, in Anka District of Zamfara. Again, more than 12 Muslims were waylaid and killed in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, when the corpses of the two priests killed in the Benue church attack were brought to the city. These are verifiable attacks by those free of the ‘lazymania’ virus.
So the question arises: why kill innocent Muslim travellers when peaceful protests were already being planned? The pointable point is that we are all victims. Both Christians and Muslims have lost their members to criminals and blood-thirsty elements of our country. Meaningful impact could have been made if both Christians and Muslims held a joint protest against the failure of government to stem the tide of killings.
That would make it impossible for observers to read meanings into yesterday’s protest. It would stop questions like, “Why are they demonstrating now? Is it because Buhari is a Muslim? Why didn’t they protest when Jonathan was in power? Were there no killings in Jonathan’s time? Do they want to bring Buhari’s government down?”
Who is doing the killings? Who are the culprits? Boko Haram insurgents, inflitrators from Libya, ISIS, local militiamen and certain disgruntled and unpatriotic elements who are keen on causing instability and discrediting this administration are top on our list of suspects.
Before we are accused of academic escapism in a season of ‘lazymania’, a little research will reveal that no matter how much this administration tries, it cannot overcome all the security challenges facing the country at the moment, particularly if it continues to rely on the resources presently at its disposal. Any politician promising something else is deceiving Nigerians.
The truth of the matter is that Nigeria as at today lacks the wherewithal to fight insecurity of this dimension. The United Nations recommends at least one policeman to every 499 persons. Yet with a population of 193 million people, Nigeria has just 317,000 policemen, about 100,000 soldiers and approximately 33,000 men of the Department of Secret Services (DSS). This is far below expectation.
It explains why the army had to deploy thousands of its men from the troubled North East to the South East when the Biafra debacle erupted about a year ago. Then came crisis in Plateau State, followed by the herdsmen saga in Taraba and the armed militia imbroglio in Benue. Zamfara was on fire. Kaduna was burning and the same military had to draft its men there. It puts the few soldiers we have under pressure and it also explains why Boko Haram insurgents have not been totally wiped out. All these crises have caused expensive distractions.
The way forward is for all patriotic citizens to join hands with the government in its quest for a peaceful society. Let us allow peace to reign in other parts of the country so that the military can concentrate on Boko Haram. This is the time for religious leaders to eschew acrobatic religiousity. It is the time for the citizenry to abandon gymnastic ethnicity. We must announce a ceasefire across Nigeria and embrace one another.
Still on the panacea to insecurity in our dear country, MURIC supports peaceful protests to pressurize government to employ more security operatives. Si vis pacem para bellum (i.e. if you want peace, prepare for war), at least an additional 200,000 policemen, 50,000 soldiers and 15,000 men of the secret police must be recruited in the next few months if the Federal Government is serious about overcoming the present security challenges. In addition, sophisticated weapons and modern communication gadgets must be procured for our security agents so that they can be better prepared to face the battle ahead.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
26th April, 2018
IMN PROTEST: WHY MURIC IS BEING CAUTIOUS
Members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria have been staging daily protests in Abuja for more than a week now over the continued detention of their leader, Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky since the military clampdown on the group about two years ago.
The Secretary of the IMN media team, AbdulMumin Giwa, on Saturday, 21st April, 2018, also accused other Islamic organizations of keeping mute over the group’s plight. He said other groups see the IMN as rivals. Apart from this allegation, a section of the media has also recently bombarded the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) with questions over its presumed ‘silence’ on the plight of the Shiites.
While we would not like to drag issues with the IMN and we wish them well, we wish to state clearly and categorically that MURIC has not commented on the group’s recent protests because we are being cautious. We see the need for us to exercise caution because there is more to the matter than meets the eye. We do not see IMN as our rival.
Whereas it is natural for us as a human rights organization to frown upon the continued detention of the IMN leader, responsible advocacy and love for our dear country Nigeria has compelled us to remain cautious. The embarrassment not withstanding, this issue is complicated particularly as it has serious security implication for Nigeria.
Our solace lies in the fact that MURIC actually spoke out ab initio. We condemned the military’s attack on the Al-Zakzaky group when it first occurred two years ago or so. Then we went into investigations. We contacted our members and members of the public living in Zaria. That was when the narrative changed.
People who live in the same neighbourhood with members of the IMN volunteered information indicting the group. They accuse IMN members of excesses. They claimed IMN infringed on their rights particularly in Zaria. We have no reason to doubt them. The evidence is overwhelming. These complainants are the eye-witnesses. They see it everyday. Who feels it knows it. So why wont we believe them? What can we do as a Muslim rights organization when hundreds of Muslims express fears and reservations about a particular group? What can we do when fellow Muslims narrate their harrowing encounters with the same group?
What can we do when Muslims who are very close neighbours of an Islamic group submit pictures and written testimonies of harassments, intimidation and outright attacks on their persons by another Islamic group? How can we now come out publicly to defend such a group? We realize that those complainants are also Muslims whose rights must be protected by us. We court the anger of Muslim complainants if we rise publicly in defense of an Islamic group which they see as a bully.
That is why we have opted for tactical diplomacy. On one side are the Muslims and other members of the public who complain bitterly that they are being harassed. On the other side are the followers of Al-Zakzaky who have been accused of intimidating ordinary Nigerians including their fellow Muslims. Then you find the government in-between. The latter has a constitutional responsibility to secure lives and properties. It has a duty to ensure law and order and Nigerians will waste no time to condemn government for failing in this duty. This explains government’s crackdown on the group.
It is not an easy task for us. Silence is not in our character. We have to critically examine the case at hand. Nigerians who are neighbours of the Al-Zakzaky group have the right to live in peace. The Muslims who complain against the Al-Zakzaky group have the right to live in peace. Government also has a duty to ensure peace, law and order. There is little choice in rotten apples. MURIC found itself between Chylla and Charibdis. This is a mess and noise will only make it messier.
Nigerian Muslim leaders and other Islamic organizations are in the same situation. We are priviledged to know that Nigerian Muslim leaders are concerned about Al-Zakzaky’s well-being. They are worried about his health, his freedom. They are working quietly behind the scene and they have made a lot of progress in this regard.
This is what Muslim leaders are working on and MURIC endorses this process: quiet, behind-the-scene moves. We have absolute confidence in the leadership of Nigerian Muslims. We cannot go into the nitty-gritties for security reasons but we can assure Nigerians that our leaders are not folding their hands. They are doing their best in the present circumstances. The issue is highly volatile and needs to be handled with extreme care in order not to create scenarios like we have in some other countries.
MURIC is determined to continue playing the role of a responsible human rights organization. While we love to promote respect for Allah-given fundamental human rights of citizens, we will not encourage lawlessness or chaos. To turn a blind eye to the sufferings and complaints of a large number of people to cases of high-handedness and lawlessness on the part of the Al-Zakzaky group will be against the principles of natural justice, fairness and equity. We stand to gain nothing by playing to the gallery.
We affirm that the continued detention of Shaykh Ibrahim Al-Zakzaky has been a difficult and painful experience for us but we also understand that national security may sometimes override fundamental human right and court pronouncements. Patriotic Nigerians will not want a situation whereby the country suddenly goes up in flames. That is the last thing MURIC wants.
Nigeria has enough security challenges at the moment and we should not aggravate the situation. The example of the leader of an ethnic group who was granted bail but whose freedom became a catalyst for nationwide tupsy-turvy about a year ago is too didactic to forget. Nigeria is bigger than any single person.
The way forward, therefore, is to adopt conflict resolution tactics. It is not a matter for the courts. Nigerian courts hardly consider security implications. That is why the law is an ass. MURIC advises government to bring leaders of the Al-Zakzaky group to a roundtable. The Nigerian Muslim leadership must be involved in the dialogue. The roundtable should aim at securing the release of Shaykh Al-Zakzaky, an assurance of respect for peace, law and order by the Al-Zakzaky group, a written commitment that members of the group will stop intimidating their neighbours and a halt to the group’s endless long-distance walks on express ways which cause hardship to innocent citizens.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
25th April, 2018
ARREST BENUE CHURCH ATTACKERS
St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ayar-Mbalom in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State was yesterday invaded by hoodlums who killed 15 worshippers including two Catholic priests, Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this wanton waste of human life. It is wicked, repulsive and barbaric.
Human life is sacred and only Allah the Supreme Creator has the right to freely take what He gave. Therefore, killing for vengeance, religious or ethnic reason is not only primitive but also sinful.
Although the attackers also burnt 50 houses and sacked the entire community, we are singling out the vicious attack on the church for strong condemnation. Those who attack the house of God have no single atom of piety in their hearts. They shoud therefore not expect mercy from Allah, the Supreme Creator. They seek to set different ethnic groups and religions at one another’s throats. But they will fail by the Grace of Allah.
We are constrained to observe that most of the killings around the Middle Belt area are ignited by hate speech. We therefore appeal to Nigerians to exercise caution in their utterances, to respect human life, tolerate and forgive one another. Every peaceful community is a round hole whereas vengeance is a square peg. It is therefore an alien instrument designed to cause commotion.
We charge the Inspector General of Police to bring the killers of the worshippers in St. Ignatius Catholic Church to book. We implore the Federal Government to do everything possible to stop the carnage in the country, particularly in Benue and Taraba.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)