Thursday, November 15, 2018


15th November, 2018      
The University of Ibadan International School (UIS) hijab crisis was exacerbated this morning Thursday, 15th November, 2018 when female Muslim students who wore hijab to resume with other students of the school were disallowed from entering the premises.
A meeting of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) convened to resolve the matter ended in a stalemate as Muslim parents who attended the meeting were not allowed to express their grievances. Instead, they were shouted down by Christian parents and teachers who constituted the majority at the meeting. The Muslim parents therefore decided to stage a walkout.

Commenting on this ugly development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lamented the poor handling of the crisis by the school principal, Mrs. Phebean Olowe.

“It is administrative masturbation. We are not novists in management. The school principal has manipulated the PTA executive and exploited the meeting to achieve her hidden agenda which, ab initio, has been the denial of hijab for female Muslim students. Being a die-hard member of the Scriptures Union (SU), this woman characteristically has a pathological hatred for Muslims and their children.

“Why should a matter which affects Muslims only be subjected to the decision of a Christian majority? The likely outcome was already known to the principal. Whoever presided at that PTA meeting also had a preconceived idea. Majority may have their way but the minority should have their say. But that is only in democracy. Incidentally this is not about democracy. It is religion and religion is a sensitive matter. It will not succumb to democratic rules.

“Also by shouting down the Muslims at that meeting, the chairman has exhibited gross irresponsibility. The chairman of any meeting has a duty to protect all. He must have a listening hear and he should allow common sense to prevail at the end of the day. Common sense in this case should have made the chairman realize that bringing a majority Christian group together with a minority Muslim group in a matter affecting Muslims only in present-day Nigeria will only end up in confusion”.

Professor Ishaq Akintola, who signed the statement, also condemned the shutting out of Muslim students from the school premises this morning.

“It is religious apartheid. The principal has just shot herself in the foot. Her real plan is now exposed. She never really wanted Muslim children in that school unless they are prepared to compromise their faith. It is glaring from the way she hobnobs with Muslim officials who have exhibited readiness to compromise. She sees them as ‘liberal’ Muslims. To her a good Muslim is one who is not ready to stand by his or her religion. Yet she knows the rules in her own denomination (SU) where compromise is taboo. Imagine people who claim to be educated willingly denying entrance to schools to school children.

“It is impunity. It is tyranny of the highest order. We will resist this marginalization with every legitimate arsenal at our disposal. It cannot happen in Ibadanland. UIS authorities have acted ultra vires by shuting those students out. This is not a school where anyone can do what he or she likes. It is a fee-paying institution and the authorities will have to explain why those Muslim students who have duely paid their school fees are shut out of the school gates. The judiciability is not in contention here. A prima facie has been established. If UI itself is not an island, its international school cannot be entire of itself.

“They should look back and ponder. What happened in Osun State when Christian parents engineered their children and wards to wear church garments to school? How long did the church garment culture last in Osun schools? Why do people love to start what they cannot finish? What happened in the Law School when a single female Muslim law graduate challenged the status quo? Or have we forgotten the Amasa Firdaus affair so soon? What happened in Lagos State just two days ago after several years of depriving female Muslim children of their rights? How long will it take this principal to come to her senses?

“Phebean Olowe will eat her words. So will her cronies. The battle has just begun. We will humble her without firing a single shot and without recourse to violence. It is a battle of wits between the oppressor and the oppressed. Phebean Olowe should stop massaging her ego. She should do the right thing before it is too late.

“We will see who has the backing of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Her rubber-stamp PTA will need to explain to all Nigerians how their school’s laws can over-ride the Nigerian constitution. We hope they know what they are up against.

“Before we have a break, we advise the management of the University of Ibadan to intervene. The school principal must be called to order. We urge the Muslim parents to send their children and wards to school everyday and to also record treatments meted out to them by the school authorities. Freedom is never given on a platter of gold. Dare to struggle, dare to win. No retreat, no surrender.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018


14th November, 2018      
The Lagos State government yesterday 13th November 2018 issued a circular approving the use of hijab by female Muslim students in all public schools.

The circular read inter alia, “Since the case of the use of hijab in Lagos State is still pending in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the status quo should be maintained to avoid contempt of the court. That is, students should be allowed to wear hijabs on school uniforms but same must be short, smart, neat and in the same colour of the uniform (skirt).

“Furthermore, schools’ managements are advised to downplay comments and disciplinary actions on the use of smart hijabs until the final determination of the case by the Supreme Court.

“No student should be discriminated against in any form on the basis of religion. All principals and teachers must be sensitized to comply accordingly. You are enjoined to adhere strictly to these recommendations”.

In a terse statement issued on Wednesday 14th November, 2018, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hailed the state government for taking the decision.

According to Professor Ishaq Akintola who signed the statement, “Though belated, it is better to be late than never to do it at all. The wind of change is sweeping across the South West and no state government wants to be caught within the camp of reactionaries.

“We call on all government agencies and employers of labour to note this development. It is a monumental decision. The patience exhibited by Lagos Muslims has paid off. A quiet and peaceful revolution is ongoing and it is in the best interest of all men and women of goodwill to join the train before it leaves the station so that they may not be left behind.

“Reports reaching MURIC headquarters say the Tutor General Permanent Secretary (TGPS) of District 6 has also issued a circular directing all school principals within the jurisdiction to allow female Muslim students who wish to use the hijab to do so. We are yet to hear anything from Districts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. We are therefore calling on the remaining five TGPS to follow suit. Delay will imply insurbodination and sabotage of government’s good intention.

“We congratulate the Lagos State chapters of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), the Muslim Congress (TMC), the Muslim Teachers Association of Nigeria (MUTAN) and the Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN). We commend them for their steadfastness, patience and forbearance.

“In conclusion, we charge all the Islamic organizations in the state to immediately set up monitoring units for the successful implementation of the state government’s directive. Muslim parents should be mobilized to visit schools for the purpose of ensuring compliance. We warn that nobody should take the law into his or her hands. Defaulting principals and recalcitrant teachers should be reported to the nearest office of Islamic organizations. 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, November 12, 2018


13th November, 2018      
The principal of the University of Ibadan International School (UIIS), Mrs. Phebean Olowe recently banned the use of hijab by female Muslim students of the school. The ban provoked Muslim parents who protested at the gates of the school yesterday, Monday 12th November, 2018.

In its characteristic intervention, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) described the ban as an invitation to chaos and a threat to girl-child education. MURIC’s intervention was expressed in a press statement issued on Tuesday 13th November, 2018.

According to MURIC, “Mrs. Phebean Olowe is a failure in administration. She is out of touch with reality. She has failed to properly read the barometer. She is reeling out draconian and anachronistic decrees reminiscent of colonial days. This principal is retarding the progress of UIIS. She can only be an agent of destabilization to have behaved this way. This is the 21st century for crying out loud. Where does she think she is?

“We are surprised that at a time when the whole world is struggling to boost girl-child education and reduce the number of out-of-school children, a female school administrator of her status is issuing anti-girl-child education directives. It is such a shame. Britain and America are encouraging the wearing of hijab in their schools but here we find a school administrator constituting herself into a cog in the wheel of progress particularly in the area of girl-child education. Can this be attributed to lack of exposure? This principal is in dire need of a sabbatical leave outside Nigeria.

“She should have known that UIIS is an elitist academic environment where all the parents (Christians or Muslims) know their rights. Many of the Muslim parents are staff of the university. Why must she chew more than she can swallow? Why must she bring an alien, parochial and archaic agenda to an academic setting? This is obviously a failure in administration.

“A good administrator will consult parents before taking such a sensitive decision and there are a lot of opportunities for her to do that. Religion is a sensitive matter. She must have a hidden agenda otherwise she would not have made such an attempt in view of the proliferation of hijab stories in the news. No school administrator worth the salt will issue an anti-hijab instruction in view of recent events around the country unless such a principal is from Mars or Mercury”.

MURIC commended the parents who participated in the peaceful protest at the school gate. According to Professor Ishaq Akintola, the director of MURIC who signed the press statement, “Peaceful protest is an extention of dialogue where there are grievances to address. It is an Allah-given fundamental right of all citizens. Nobody has the right to take it from us.

“We hail the Muslim parents of UIIS for standing up in loco parentis. These parents have refused to abdicate their responsibilities. They have a duty to educate their children and to monitor their progress as prescribed in Qur’an 2:233. They have successfully done that. They also have a duty to protect their children from abuse, stigma and religious discrimination. They have proved that they are capable of doing that. We are proud of them.

“We are particularly happy with these parents for the peaceful manner in which they conducted their protest. They have proved beyond any iota of doubt that they are true ambassadors of Islam. The adherents of the religion of peace cannot afford to eschew the path of peace. We assure them of our full support. MURIC will keenly monitor the progress of this matter.

“We appeal to the management of the University of Ibadan (UI) to intervene in this matter. It should not be allowed to escalate. UI is a center of academic excellence. The authorities should not allow administrative shenanigans and educational charlatans to turn its International School into a center for religious apartheid. It is high time UIIS realized that Nigerian Muslims have come of age.  

“We call on the school principal to face reality. Nigeria belongs to all of us. We should learn to coexist. Muslims will no longer accept a situation whereby everything is designed to suit Christians and Muslims are left to choose between accepting the Christian way of life or abandoning education. The Nigerian school uniform was designed by Christian colonial masters. It is therefore a manifestation of neo-imperialism cum totalitarian dictatorship to force Muslim children to wear Christian uniforms. It smacks of lack of religious tolerance. Mrs. Phebean Olowe should resign if she cannot tolerate the sight of female Muslim children in hijab because she is going to be seeing quite a lot of them these days.

“Finally, we appeal to Muslims in the city of Ibadan and Oyo State in particular as well as all over Nigeria to remain calm and law abiding. We should give the UI management the benefit of doubt and the opportunity to wade into the matter. However, all Muslim parents are advised to remain alert because eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Aluta continua because it is not yet Uhuru”.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).


12th November, 2018      
The governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong last week Monday, 7th November, 2018, led a delegation of people to Army Headquarters, Abuja, to beg the Nigerian Army not to avenge the gruesome murder of the former Army Chief of Administration, General Muhammad Idris Alkali (rtd) allegedly by some Berom elements.
Sequel to this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has decried both the visit and the appeal made to the army, describing it as hypocritical. This was contained in a press statement issued by the human rights organization on Monday, 12th November, 2018. The statement was signed by its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“While we affirm that Lalong’s visit and his appeal to the army is an admission of guilt, we contend that would have been meaningful if he had also visited the Fulani community and the Muslim leaders in his state to express the same sentiment. He left those poor, weak and oppressed people back home in Jos to beg the army hundreds of kilometers away in Abuja. What kind of leader is this?
“It is hypocrisy of the highest order. Just like the Berom women who tried in vain to deceive the world by protesting at the Dura Du pond, Lalong too is acting.
“Mr. Governor sir, under your watch, a whole general was hacked to death. Under your watch, a whole general was humiliated, probably tortured, dehumanized, killed, buried in a shallow grave and exhumed again.
“Under your watch, the dead general’s body was stuffed in a sack laden with stones and dumped in a narrow deep well to keep him below forever so the crime would never be uncovered. Why are you the chief security officer of the state?
“Under your watch, no single Fulani or Muslim traveler from any part of the country is allowed to pass through your roads alive. They are, profiled, identified, dragged out, brutally killed and dumped in ponds of death. And this continued for years! Your apology is empty. It is devoid of humanity. You are simply acting.This matter is beyond the Alkali affair. It is beyond the army. You cannot trivialize genocide against Fulanis and religious cleansing against Nigerian Muslims just by pretending to apologise to the army. General Alkali is not the only human being among the Fulanis. All Fulanis are complete human beings with red blood flowing in their veins.
“Your Excellency, where were you when about 500 Berom women were staging the hocus pocus they called a protest against soldiers attempting to evacuate Dura Du pond in their search for the late general? Where were you when the Nigerian press was being mobilized to smear the good reputation of the same Nigerian Army? We are surprised that the same women are now silent.
“Mrs Rebecca Gyang who led about 500 women in black clothes with some of them half-naked to protest against the draining of water from Dura Du old mining pond on the false excuse that its evacuation would cause calamity of mysterious deaths and other misfortunes for their communities is said to be the wife of Pam Gyang Dung, the Mai Unguwa of Latiya in Du. That is instructive.

“What happens when a traditional chieftain of a people instructs his wife to divert the attention of investigators of a heinous crime by leading such a protest? What should we expect when the state information unit mobilizes the press to give such a diabolical protest full coverage? Both the paramount ruler of Berom, Gbong Gwom Jos and an ex-governor of the state, Senator David Jonah Jang, are from Du District where the killings have been taking place. Neither of them has condemned the killing of General Alkali. Who is Lalong deceiving? This is another strong evidence of the whole community’s involvement in the killings.  
“What Lalong failed to realize is that this has gone beyond the killing of an army general. It is about a Fulani army general and thousands of Fulani men and women, including Muslims from all parts of the country who have been mowed down by blood-thirsty Berom killers. The truth is that genocide has been committed against Fulanis and Muslims. There is indubitable evidence of ethnic and religious cleansing. It is a heinous crime and no official state jamboree can extenuate that crime against humanity.   
“While governor Lalong is pretending to beg, his kinsmen are threatening fire and brimstone. They are grandstanding. What do we call the vituperations of Da Iliya Choji Kim, Vice President of Berom Educational and Cultural Organisation (BECO), against the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI) and MURIC? What do we call his attack on Professors Salisu Shehu and Ishaq Akintola.? Why is he personalising the crisis? What did Lalong say about the safety of Fulanis and Muslims who ply that axis in future? Nothing was mentioned about guarantee for their safety. Beroms have not shown any remorse.
“Lalong got it wrong. The process of forgiveness necessitates admission of guilt, showing remorse, a readiness to ensure redress and an undertaking not to repeat the offence again. None of these has taken place. Lalong’s visit is therefore a cowardly act. He and his kith and kin can bully the poor and weak Fulanis and Muslims in his domain, but they lack the balls to face the consequences of their actions.
“If the pretentious demonstration of half-naked Berom women could not distract the army from evacuating Dura Du pond in search of their missing general, Lalong’s crocodile tears in army headquarters cannot deceive them. This is a well-trained and highly disciplined formation.  
“The atrocity has been going on for about 17 (seventeen) years, at least since 2001. Crime has the propensity to hide its prolification. It is only criminologists who know that for every single crime uncovered, there must have been more than a dozen others which went undetected. The fact that other vehicles were found under the pond with that of the general lends credence to this point. The late General Alkali must be recognized as a martyr. He laid down his life in order to expose the crimes committed by the Beroms against his people, the Fulanis and Nigerian Muslims.   
“For instance, the truth about the disappearance of Alhaji Lawal Isa, a Fulani land agent, who went missing in Du District in 2013, would never have been known but for the Alkali affair. Alhaji Lawal Isa was the owner of the Red Rover found in Du pond with Bauchi plate number AG 645 TRR. He was allegedly tricked by Da Chuwang, the Village Head of Du to visit the area on the pretense that they wanted to buy land from him. He and a friend who accompanied him on the trip were in Du on January 31, 2013. It is noteworthy that the discoveries were made in only one pond (Dura Du pond) and there are about 80 (eighty) others! Who knows how many dead bodies lie below them? It is nostalgic. We contend that thousands had been killed and dumped in the ponds even before 2013.
MURIC vowed to take the matter to international agencies if the Nigerian authorities fail to take necessary action. According to Akintola, “The International Criminal Court (ICC) may have to be brought into this matter of organized genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing against Fulanis and Muslims in the Middle Belt if justice is not obtainable locally. Joshua Dariye allegedly swore to make Plateau the headquarters of Christianity when he was governor and he made good his pledge. The alleged training of militia in Israel and the massive smuggling of arms and ammunition into Plateau State in the past ten years could not have been without the knowledge of Jonah Jang and Lalong.
“For an enduring settlement, Governor Lalong must swallow his pride. He must mobilize leaders of the Berom community, apologise to General Alkali’s family and meet Fulani leaders in the state in a free and sincere dialogue. A Plateau Truth Commission may not be out of place for a genuine and lasting solution to the ever recurring Plateau crisis. Lalong will be joking if he thinks he can get away with this heinous crime merely by apologizing to the army. Apology my foot! Fulanis and Muslims are human beings too.
Before we round off, we reiterate our condemnation of Governor Lalong’s hypocritical apology expressed to the army. We demand justice for the wanton, callous and ultra-criminal killing of General Alkali (rtd), thousands of Fulanis and other Nigerian Muslims. We call for the arrest, detention and prosecution of the sponsors of Berom killers. We assert that we will not hesitate to take this matter to the ICC if there is any attempt to limit the investigations to General Alkali’s murder alone or to sweep the whole issue under the carpet. This matter is beyond Alkali, beyond the military.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).