Sunday, December 9, 2018

DON’T SIGN AMENDED ELECTORAL BILL


10th December, 2018      
PRESS RELEASE:
DON’T SIGN AMENDED ELECTORAL BILL
   
The National Assembly (NASS) recently sent the amended Electoral Act to President Muhammadu Buhari. However, the latter is yet to append his signature. He has also given reasons for his action.


Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has waded into the matter. According to the Islamic group, President Buhari was right to withhold his signature. MURIC in a press statement issued on Monday, 10th December, 2018 hinged its decision on the closeness of the 2019 elections and the fact that the eighth national assembly could not be trusted.


“The 2019 general elections are too close for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to start implementing a new system. Last minute changes in the rules and regulations of a national election can be dangerous. Any new amendment bill is capable of causing confusion among political parties and also in INEC’s camp.


“Besides, no patriotic Nigerian can trust this NASS. What is there to trust in a NASS whose members gather for a national competition for sleeping on duty? What is there to trust in a NASS that shows no concern for the economy and delays budgets up to seven months? How can any patriotic Nigerian repose confidence in a NASS that cuts budget in ten critical areas of the economy only to add those cuts to its own? This NASS is anti-people and its amendment to the Electoral Act is suspicious.

“We strongly support President Muhammadu Buhari for not signing the amendment. It should be properly scrutinized. We suspect that the NASS has a hidden agenda as usual. This set of lawmakers has been working for a particular interest group whose objective is to rock the boat of the present administration. Their strong link with anti-June 12 elements, their romance with politicians facing corruption charges and their hobnobbing with the predominantly bourgeois political class reveal where they are coming from.


MURIC poured out its disappointment with the NASS. “A NASS that can tinker with the money allocated to Lagos-Ibadan expressway is not worth the salt. This expressway is the only link between the North and the South and millions of Nigerians have been suffering there for more than fifteen years. Is there any member of the NASS who has never used that ‘distress’ road? Have they forgotten so soon because they are now lawmakers?


“It is unimaginable that any Nigerian lawmaker will think of cutting the amount allocated to the Lagos-Ibadan ‘distressway’ project. It is a crime against the masses who ply that road on a daily basis. It is almost an unforgivable sin as the bad road has claimed hundreds of lives in the past. Those lawmakers need to seek Allah’s forgiveness because the blood of the innocent accident victims cries out for justice.


“The Lagos-Ibadan rail-line would have been completed this December 2018 but for the delay of the budget by the NASS. It is strongly suspected that the delay was deliberate. Since the leadership of the NASS is working for reactionary elements who are hostile to the present administration, the delay was calculated to slow down progress of projects being executed by the government in order to diminish the latter’s chances in the 2019 general election.


“But that only exposes the lawmakers as selfish politicians and the NASS leadership as manifesting a pathological desertification of statesmanship. The truth is that while politicians think of the next election, statesmen think of the general interest of the people. Statesmen think of the next generation, nay, of future generations. That is why the NASS leadership was keen on delaying the budget for so long while brainwashing the members and blackmailing the presidency at the same time.      


“A NASS that can fiddle with the money allocated to the counter-part funding for the Mambilla Power Plant, Second Niger Bridge, the East-West Road, Bonny-Bodo Road and Itakpe-Ajaokuta Rail Project cannot be taken serious. N11.5 billion was cut from those projects and added to the budget of the NASS.


This is a NASS that is bent on selling Nigeria to its members. How can we still trust them with our Electoral Act? The most irrational cut occurred in the provision for the construction of the Terminal Building at Enugu Airport which was cut from N2 billion to N500 million. The NASS exposed its insensitivity when it allowed the cuts to affect the Maritime University in Delta State despite the educational backwardness of the Delta area. Even the National Housing Scheme was cut by about N7.8 billion.


“Apart from cutting N347 billion Naira in the allocations and adding other projects of their own amounting to N578 billion, they also increased the budget estimate from N8.6 trillion submitted by the President in November 2017 to N9.120 trillion when they passed it in May 2018.


“The question MURIC is asking the tiny cabal is whether 200 million Nigerians were born to serve them and their offsprings forever. For Allah’s sake, what have we done to deserve this injustice? Just 1% of the Nigerian population controls more than 85% of the total wealth, leaving a whole 99% of the population comprising of highly educated and hardworking Nigerians to struggle for a paltry15%  of the wealth.   


“In spite of the allocation of this gargantuan portion of the common wealth to itself, it is shocking that the NASS cannot pay its own workers. The demonstrations staged by its workers a few days ago have exposed the leadership of the NASS as slave-drivers who pay pittance to its workers and feudal lords who do not care about the welfare of its workers. We are however not surprised because lawmakers who care little for the nation cannot be expected to care for its workers. It is a shame that the same leadership want to rule Nigeria.   


The present NASS is the worst in the history of this country. This is a NASS that goes on recess at the slightest excuse. It is either because the microphone is not working properly or the electricity is not bright enough. Who should be blamed if any equipment in the NASS fails to work? Where does the buck stop? A whole NASS may suspend sitting because a single lawmaker has a case in court. Its members would have been enjoying immunity by now but for the Tsunami of public outcry which greeted the attempt to enact a bill for that purpose.  

“We wonder what this NASS takes Nigerians for. Do they think we have been hit by an outbreak of general amnesia which makes us forget what unpatriotic lawmakers have done to our country? Or do they assume that we have been hit by an epidemic of dementia that affects our sense of judgement such that we will now be supporting them and blaming the presidency?

“As we draw the curtain, we appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to protect Nigerians from this electoral trap designed by the NASS. Mr. President should not sign. An electoral munble-jumble is the least expected of Africa’s giant. This new amendment bill is capable of causing confusion even in INEC’s camp because it has not been tested and because the general election is too close for changes to be effected in the law guiding elections. We therefore advise that the proposed amendments should be scrutinized by both the presidency and INEC and kept in view (KIV) for the 2023 general elections if found viable”.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)




Thursday, December 6, 2018

ALLOW HIJAB IN WAEC FORM PICTURES


6th December, 2018 
PRESS RELEASE:
ALLOW HIJAB IN WAEC FORM PICTURES
   
Some school authorities in Lagos State are forcing female Muslim students to remove their hijab before taking pictures meant for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) forms.     


This is contained in a press release issued by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Thursday, 6th December, 2018. The Islamic human rights organization mentioned names of some schools where the female Muslim students are allegedly being asked to remove their hijab for the ‘capturing’. Such schools include Government Secondary School, Ijanikin, Iba Housing Estate Senior Secondary School, Ajangbadi Senior High School and Oto-Awori Senior Grammar School.


Lamenting over the persecution of female Muslim children in Lagos schools, the director and founder of MURIC said, “It is very unfortunate that this crude attitude is manifesting in 21st century Lagos. It is retrogressive, archaic and anachronistic. The school principals and teachers involved should be ashamed of themselves.


“What crime has the Muslim girl-child committed? How does the hijab harm any teacher? Is it an amulet? Is it a weapon of mass destruction? Why must it be the South-West every time? The University of Ibadan International School has locked out all female Muslim students who wear hijab for the past two weeks thereby denying the girl child education which is critical to her intellectual growth. Teachers of Araromi Senior High School, Sari-Iganmu, Lagos State also went berserk on Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, sending all hijab-wearing students out of the school despite the LASG directive which clearly prohibited such action. Who is afraid of the hijab?



“We are calling the Lagos State Government’s (LASG) attention to the illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional activities of these reactionary elements. They should be called to order. These are rebellious teachers and enemies of peace. It should be noted that the action of these teachers is capable of disturbing public peace. We hope Lagos is listening.


“Once again, Nigerians can see more evidence of hypocrisy and falsehood in the claim that there is religious tolerance in the South-West. It is a farce, a mirage. The real truth is that although they constitute the majority, Muslims of the South-West are under siege by agents of neo-colonialism. Non-Muslims who are the minority occupy lofty positions and they use such positions to persecute Muslims.They deny them jobs, admission into schools and also undermine their progress in various ways.


“The issue of hijab is one out of many. The female Muslim children who are being oppressed are Yoruba. Interestingly, those who are oppressing them are also Yoruba. Most of the Muslim children are indigenes of the states where they reside and yet this is happening to them. It is wrongly assumed that there is religious tolerance in the sub-region because the Muslims are extremely forbearing.


“Nigerians and outsiders have been deceived about the true situation in Yorubaland concerning religious tolerance. It is time to do a concise analysis of the situation. Muslims and Christians tolerate themselves in the same family. They also tolerate themselves when they rent and live inside the same house even if they are not blood relations. But that is where tolerance stops. It does not extend to social relations or workplaces. Christians always stand in the way of Muslims when it comes to public issues. The average Christian in the South-West has been indoctrinated to use his or her office to promote her religion and to deny Muslims their rights.


“A good example is how Christians in Yorubaland reacted to the court judgement approving hijab in Osun State about three years ago. Christians instructed their own chidren to wear church choire garments to school! But do they still wear the church garments to school today? Could it be sustained? Divine truth will always overwhelm social truth no matter how long it takes.


“Nobody should blame Muslim parents from now on if they come out to defend their children. From now onwards, whoever persecutes our children on the basis of religion has persecuted the parents. Any teacher who harasses a Muslim student, male or female, has harassed all Muslims in the state and, indeed, in the entire country. From now on, our dogma is ‘harass one, harass all’.


“We will not allow teachers to give our children illegal instructions. It is illegal instruction to ask a female Muslim student to remove her hijab for any reason whatsoever. LASG has approved the use of hijab in all public schools and it was widely publicized. Principals and teachers are paid public servants and they should obey the government’s instruction.


“The approval of hijab by LASG is a major dividend of democracy to be enjoyed by Muslims in Lagos State after suffering religious persecution for decades. We will not stand akimbo while some disobedient teachers disallow our daughters from enjoying this freedom. Any principal or teacher who instructs female Muslim students to remove their hijab is disobeying the state government.


“That is not only insurbordination, it is also a criminal offence and we will pursue the legal implication to a logical conclusion. Muslims are tax payers and the money we pay to government’s coffers forms an integral part of government’s revenue which is used to pay the teachers. Our children have every right to have access to education without let or hinderance. It is ‘hinderance’ to ask a Muslim girl-child to remove her hijab. We demand full compliance with LASG directive. It has become law in Lagos State because it is the crux of a court judgement.


“Those teachers should know that Muslims also network. Muslim students meet their parents at home and the latter report in the mosques and Islamic organizations. Many of these reports are passed to MURIC and we have a full dossier on them. Can those teachers try what they are doing now in the North? Can they try it in Kano or Bauchi? Is it not the same country and the same constitution? Even WAEC did not instruct them to derobe students in hijab. It is sheer overzealousness on their part and pathological hatred for genuine Muslims. The only Muslims they can tolerate are the weak ones who readily compromise their religion


“The implication of asking a female Muslim student to remove her hijab before ‘capturing’ is very serious. It means the invigilator may ask her to remove her hijab during examination for proper identification since, ceteris paribus, she will be wearing her hijab while writing the examination. This is also most likely to demoralize and destabilize her. It may affect her performance and examination result.  


“MURIC therefore charges Muslim parents in the state and throughout Nigeria to wake up and protect their children. Possess your possession. These innocent children are looking up to you in loco parentis for protection. We did not send them to school to be persecuted, intimidated and harassed. Heartless teachers are out to demolish our children’s spirit. They are playing on their emotions. They are playing God in the lives of our children. They are demoralizing them. It is time to rise to their defence. It is now or never.


“Islamic liberation theology affirms that leaders, parents and those in position of authority shall be held accountable for the sufferings of those being persecuted on earth. Almighty Allah says, ‘We shall question those to whom the messages (of Allah) are delivered. We shall also question those who delivered them” (Qur’an 7:6).


“We must also remind parents that it is a religious duty to stand up for those under persecution. Qur’an 4:75 says, “What stops you from struggling in the cause of Allah when men, women and children are being persecuted, and they are crying out, ‘Oh Lord, rescue us from this land whose occupants are oppressors and give us from You a defender, and give us from You a helper!”   


“Every Muslim parent should be able to do this without applying violence. Go to your child’s school and ask questions whenever your child reports a case of harassment. Don’t suffer in silence. Let your local Imam or Islamic organization act on your behalf if you cannot go. These teachers are discriminating against Muslim children under the false premise of the ‘slave children’ dogma.


“We are servants of Allah, not servants of any living creature no matter how highly placed. We refuse to be slaves in our own country. Neither shall we accept the status of second class citizens. We would rather be free men in the grave than live like puppets or slaves. The principle of equality before the law must be respected”. 


MURIC also appealed to Islamic organizations in the country to come to the rescue of the Muslim girl-child. “We urge all Islamic organizations in the country, particularly the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN) to rise to the occasion. The Muslim girl-child has become an endangered specie today and we must all wake up to our responsibility to protect her. We must not disappoint her. The girl-child is our daughter, our sister, our wife and our mother. Nobody will protect her if we fail to speak up today. Islamic organizations are hereby advised to set up monitoring committees that will visit all the schools around their vicinity. They are however cautioned on the need to avoid violence at all cost.

 
“We call on LASG to walk its talk. Female Muslim children need the government’s protection from the excesses of fanatical Christian principals and teachers. We charge civil society, particularly human rights groups to speak up. Muslims are human beings too and we deserve human rights. Where are the human rights lawyers? Let them speak up now or shut up forever.


Where are the women liberation organizations? Why are they always silent when Muslim women are the victims? Why are they ignoring the cries of the Muslim girl-child? What crime has the Muslim girl-child committed? Why does she deserve humiliation, dehumanization, deprivation of her personal dignity and criminal denial of her Allah-given fundamental human rights? We charge all human rights groups to search their consciences.


“These are astounding cases of injustice against little children. Here is a case study for those who accuse Muslims of violence and terrorism. Violence and terrorism are mere symtoms. The real disease is injustice. Violence and terrorism are mere smoke. Injustice is the fire. There is no smoke without fire and it is the height of stupidity for any firefighter to turn his water hoses on the smoke, leaving the fire to continue raging. Justice is the soul of peace. Those who deny one cannot enjoy the other. This is MURIC’s philosophy of violence and terrorism.


“In our concluding remarks, we appeal to LASG to take urgent action against teachers who disobey its directives regarding the donning of hijab. Muslims should not be blamed for rejecting illegal instructions from rebellious and recalcitrant school principals and teachers. Muslim parents and Islamic organizations must get ready for the coming struggle. The Muslim girl-child must not remain a slave forever.
        
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)




Wednesday, December 5, 2018

AVOID FUEL SCARCITY THIS YULETIDE


5th December, 2018 
PRESS RELEASE:
AVOID FUEL SCARCITY THIS YULETIDE
   
Oil marketers have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government (FG) threatening to embark on a strike and shut down all depots across the country if their outstanding debts totalling N800 billion in subsidies, are not paid.


In a press statement issued on Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) appealed to both the oil marketers and FG to iron out their differences in order to avoid fuel scarcity during this yuletide.


According to the director of MURIC who signed the statement, Professor Ishaq Akintola, “Yuletide is a sensitive period. This is the time most Nigerians choose to travel to their cities and villages in order to cement family ties. It is not the right time to allow fuel scarcity.


“We appeal to FG to do everything within its power to ensure that oil marketers do not carry out their threat. Unlike in the past, this administration has been able to ensure smooth supply of fuel. There have been no queues in petrol stations across the country. We appreciate this feat. But we are saying it should not be allowed to happen. Fuel scarcity causes lots of inconvenience for ordinary Nigerians”.

MURIC said it issued a warning about the likelihood of an attempt to cause artificial fuel scarcity towards the end of the year. “We warned about this in our press release dated 29th October, 2018 (http://dailypost.ng/2018/10/29/muric-warns-fg-fuel-scarcity-masterminds-looming-labour-strike/).

“Our exact words on that occasion were, ‘November is just three days away today and these agents of darkness must be somewhere now plotting to disrupt the smooth flow of supply and distribution. Their main objective is to discredit the government of the day particularly now that the 2019 election is just a stone’s throw away. It is therefore necessary for FG to watch out from now on. Another attempt may be made to cause artificial fuel scarcity. Those behind the move do not care about the common man. They do not care about hundreds of citizens who will be stranded on the roads as a result of fuel scarcity or the average Nigerian car owner who will be compelled to spend hours at fuel stations’.

We therefore appeal to FG to avert another fuel scarcity particularly in the interest of ordinary Nigerians who may be caught in the crossfire as transport fares are most likely to skyrocket.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)