Wednesday, June 26, 2019
27th June, 2019
CHRISTIAN STATE: CALL WIKE TO ORDER NOW
The governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, declared two days ago that the state is a Christian State. The governor made the statement during a crusade organized by the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Church in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
However, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on stakeholders in the Nigerian project to call Wike to order. In a press statement distributed on Thursday, 27th June, 2019, MURIC described the governor’s statement as audacious, unguarded and reckless. The statement was signed by the Director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“At a time when Nigeria is facing religious and ethnic crises, a state governor still has the temerity to declare his state a Christian state. Wike is short in intellect, long in impunity. It is not his first time of making this pronouncement. We ignored him the first time because we did not want to dignify him with a response. But he has just exposed himself as an analogue governor with a triangular approach to all problems: religion, violence and impunity. Wike cannot think outside this triangular box.
“At a time when religious fanaticism is on the rise and the authorities are cautioning Nigerians to be moderate, a state governor is running loose with reckless statements like, ‘
rticulated demagoguery. It is audacious, preposterous and myopic. It is also a dangerous precedent.
Wike is perpetuating a culture of acrobatic religiousity. He is playing on the intelligence of the good people of Rivers State and lending credence to Karl Marx’s view of religion as opium of the people. He is brandishing state-sponsored religiousity to cover his gross ineptitude.
“The spate of crime in Rivers State is an indictment on Wike. Cult-killing is on the rise. Kidnapping has become an obsession. Youth restiveness is everywhere in the state. But all these are by-products of mass unemployment. This is what Wike should face.
“He should be thinking of empowering the youth. Where are the roads built by Wike? What is the state of Rivers’ schools? Are there drugs in the hospitals? What are the rates of infant and maternal mortality in Rivers State? Port Harcourt is one of the most expensive places to live in Nigeria. How can Wike bring relief to the residents? It is high time Wike focused on governance and stopped propagating motor-park doctrine, manifesting ‘agbero’ faculty and exhibiting ‘bolekaja’ mentality.
Wike’s Christian state is a red herring
“Where is Wike’s constitutional backing? Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly prohibits state religion. It says, 'The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as a State Religion.' Wike’s declaration is therefore ultra vires. It is null, void and of no consequence whatsoever.
“It is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for any governor to declare his state a Christian or an Islamic state. For the avoidance of doubt, a clear difference must be seen between Wike’s declaration and the introduction of Shariah in parts of the North. The state legislatures of states where Shariah was introduced followed due process. The governors did not just wake up one day and make arbitrary declarations.
“In any case, there is also a world of difference between declaring a state an Islamic state and merely introducing Shariah to be used by the Muslim population. That is why several parts of the United Kingdom, the United States and some Western countries have introduced Shariah for their minority Muslim populations without necessarily declaring those countries Islamic nations.
“But where are the secularists? Where are those who claim that Nigeria is a secular state? Why is it that only Muslims are taken up when they make declarations bordering on religious particularism? Why are they silent now? Is this not selective judgement? Must we always behave a la Animal Farm? Our self-righteous public commentators and human rights lawyers would have brought heaven down if any Muslim governor made a similar statement. Why are we like this? Who placed a curse on Nigeria? Well known critics who fail to speak on Wike’s recent pronouncement should bury their heads in shame.
“Before we take a break, we remind Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that specialisation necessitates division of labour. He should, therefore, concentrate on governance which is the job for which he was elected and leave evangelization and fire-brand crusade to Christian clerics. Wike should improve the security situation in order to attract investors and tourists. We appeal to stakeholders in the Nigerian project to call Wike to order.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, June 23, 2019
24th June, 2019
MURIC DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR CITIZEN MAHMUD
Citizen Mahmud Muhammed Katun has cried out over the discriminatory treatment bordering on religious apartheid allegedly meted out to him by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) since 1st February, 2016.
According to the complainant, he was appointed officer (1) on grade level 4 with the generation department of NDPHC. His letter of appointment Ref: NDPHC/NIPP/HR/1187/2015 was dated November 18, 2015. He resigned his job as strictly required in the letter of appointment only to be denied resumption because he wore a beard and therefore looked like a radical Muslim.
According to the letter written to the company by his lawyer dated 24th February, 2017, “He was told by the General Manager Human Resources to give him some time to enable him carry out security investigations about his person to find out whether he was a religious fanatic based on his appearance because of his beards which portrayed him as a Muslim.”
In a letter dated 2nd May, 2017, the company’s lawyer requested that all correspondences on the matter should be addressed to him. Not satisfied, citizen Mahmud reacted by sending a petition on the matter to the Federal Ministry of Justice on 4th March, 2019. The ministry acknowledged his petition with a letter dated 2nd May, 2017 ref No. PEI/CRD/4304/1/8 assuring him that the issue was receiving its attention.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has thrown its weight behind citizen Mahmud. In a press statement issued by its Director and Founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 24th June, 2019, the human rights organization described the company’s action as callous, unsavory and detestable.
“NDPHC’s treatment of citizen Mahmud is despicable. It should be condemned by all right-thinking Nigerians and all lovers of justice, fairness and equity. It is callous, unsavory and detestable. The company asked him to resign as a condition of offer of appointment. He did but was denied resumption of duty simply because he has a beard. This is criminal profiling. It is another bad example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is unacceptable.
“Nigerians can now see the problem with their country. Citizen Mahmud received the letter of interview on 30th October, 2015. He attended the interview on 3rd November, 2015. He was found competent and so he collected a letter of appointment on 7th December, 2015 yet he was denied the same job when he tried to resume duty on 1st February, 2016.
“We have no doubt that the human resources manager has supplanted him with another incompetent person, probably of another faith. Citizen Mahmud attended the job interview with his beard on 3rd November, 2015 and nothing was said about it at that stage. How can the beard become an issue at the point of resumption of duty? Jobs are being brandished in places of worship. Referrals are only acceptable if they come from religious leaders. Who did this to Nigeria?
“Thousands of qualified Muslims are victims of stigmatization. They are denied jobs on account of their faith. They are oppressed. They have been forced to the foot of the pyramid of poverty. Excellence is being sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity. Who cursed Nigeria?
“MURIC charges the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to invoke Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in this matter as a deterrent to those who use their positions to profile and victimise people of other faiths.
“For the sake of microscopic clarity, Section 42 provides that
(1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government (or its agencies-addition ours), to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinions are not made subject.
“We also demand a full investigation of the action of the General Manager Human Resources in this matter. It is our contention that he has abused his office contrary to Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (1991) which provides that ‘a public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any act prejudicial to the rights of any person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy’
“The deafening silence of civil society over constant stereotyping of Nigerian Muslims is more than disturbing. Fundamental human rights must be for all. It is therefore hypocritical to practice selective human rights activism. Muslims are also human beings and our hearts bleed as Nigerian elites turn the blind eye when Muslims are victimized but shed crocodile tears when others cry wolf where there is none. Elite conspiracy is therefore Nigeria’s major problem.
“We remind Nigerians that justice is the soul of peace. No one can deny one and still get the other. In spite of our unflinching faith in dialogue and our rejection of violence, we still believe that a country where a particular religious group is constantly victimized and ridiculed cannot expect peace at all times.
“On a final note, we demand justice for citizen Mahmud. This man has remained jobless since 1st February, 2016 when he attempted to resume work. He must be fully compensated. NDPHC must be made to pay him his full salary and all other entitlements from 1st February, 2016 (which was the day he must be assumed to have resumed work) to date. In addition, that particular human resources manager must face the full wrath of the law.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, June 17, 2019
18th June, 2019
ADELEKE UNIVERSITY PERSECUTING MUSLIM STUDENTS
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has accused Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State, of persecuting Muslim students in the institution. According to the Islamic human rights organization, the private tertiary institution is serially violating the fundamental human rights of Muslim students in the institution.
This was disclosed in a press statement circulated on Tuesday, 18th June, 2019 by the Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“Adeleke University is a serial violator of Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslim students. This institution forces Muslim students to attend church on Sundays. It makes it mandatory for students living in the hostel to attend church every Wednesday and Saturday.
“The practice of any other faith on campus except Christianity is banned. Muslim students must not be seen observing Salat. Hijab is a taboo in Adeleke University. Yet all these Islamophobic practices are smartly hidden from prospective students of the institution until they have paid the exorbitant school fees and can no longer withdraw.
“We call on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to come to the rescue of Muslim students in Adeleke University. It is a religious scam. This institution hides under a non-religious nomenclature to ensnare Muslim students into an enclave of religious apartheid.
“In particular, we invite NUC to take a look at the students’ handbook of this institution, especially pages 7, 49, 50, 56 and 60. These pages, to our mind, contain rules that infringe on the religious freedom of Muslim students. As a regulating body, NUC has a duty to intervene in this matter as part of its oversight function on Nigeria’s universities.
“Such intervention is necessary at this juncture to enhance quality control. We remind NUC that man is body, soul and spirit. These three organs must function without hinderance for students to perform maximally. As things stand today, Muslim students of Adeleke University have been deprived of the spiritual component of their humanity. We therefore call on NUC to investigate this issue as a matter of urgency. Religious repression is a potential threat to peace, law and order.
“MURIC is aware that such practices of religious intolerance exist in a few other private universities. We therefore advise Muslim parents and Muslim students to take necessary precaution. They should investigate very well before picking universities of interest.
“Many private universities do not bear Christian names but they pursue Christian evangelical goals. Worse still, they lack the spirit of tolerance. Muslim candidates who have already chosen private universities where they are likely to become victims of Islamophobia are, therefore, advised to apply for a change of university before it is too late.
“Western education was the weapon used by the British colonialists to coerce Muslims into converting to Christianity in the past. The new trick is to use private universities to achieve the same aim or to compromise willing staff of public universities to do the dirty job. It is neocolonialism pure and simple.
“The children of Muslim victims of religious oppression under the colonialists are today the targets of apartheid private universities. Those who oppressed the father when he was in school are bent on persecuting the children. This is the gospel according to the slave-driver. This vicious cycle must be halted at all cost.
“As we draw the curtain, we warn that private and public institutions where Muslim students are denied their Allah-given fundamental human rights are sitting on kegs of gunpowder. We call on NUC to investigate this allegation of religious persecution in Adeleke University, Ede and take appropriate action if found culpable. It will serve as a deterrent for other neo-imperialists masquerading as higher institutions.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
12th June, 2019
JUNE 12 RECOGNITION WILL IMMORTALISE BUHARI
President Muhammadu Buhari this week signed the June 12 bill into law, thus making it Nigeria’s official Democracy Day. The signing of the bill also has the effect of rendering May 29 redundant in the annals of the history of democracy in Nigeria.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has applauded President Buhari for making the recognition of June 12 a fait accompli. In a statement issued by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola on Wednesday 12th June, 2019, MURIC hailed Buhari for coming out boldly in support of truth, justice and fair play.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is the hero of the moment. He deserves accolades for coming out boldly to do what several regimes lacked the guts to do. Buhari is a genuine democrat, a patriot nulli secundus and a statesman primus inter pareil.
“As for May 29, it is good riddance to the bad rubbish that was fraudulently contrived as democracy day. That date had never truly reflected the spirit of nationalism in this country and it had never been accepted by true democrats and June 12 activists North and South of Nigeria.
“June 12, 1993 election which was won by Chief Moshood Kashimowo Abiola (MKO) was by far the fairest, most peaceful and most democratic election held in Nigeria to date. Its annulment by the Babangida regime was criminal, myopic and counter-productive while the incarceration of MKO and his eventual assassination were the heights of tyranny. But the military dictator, Gen. Sanni Abacha (rtd), out-heroded Herod by masterminding the killing of MKO’s wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola, while the husband was still in captivity.
“It is these acts of totalitarian tyranny and extreme inhumanity which make Buhari’s act of benevolence stand out and characterized his administration with a real human face and an embodiment of good governance. It must be noted that successive administrations have ignored all appeals to recognize this momentous Day, including those who benefited most from the June 12 struggle.
“That is why Nigerians have given all civilian regimes since 1999 a thumbs-down except the Buhari administration. This also explains why Afenifere has become irrelevant in the political architecture in the South West. The Yorubas have discovered that they have benefited nothing from Afeniferisation which has come to mean retrogression, negativism and parochialism.
“For who could have thought that succor and honour would come to the Yoruba nation from the least expected source, a Fulani man, a ‘Jibril from Sudan’ as President Buhari was mischievously described after his amazing recovery from his mysterious illness? We do not need to tell the Yoruba race what to do since to whom much is given, much also is expected.
“This singular act, i.e. Buhari’s recognition of June 12, also proves that criminality or righteousness is not the monopoly of any single tribe in Nigeria. As we have the Evans in kidnapping, the Oyenusi’s in armed robbery and the Shekaus in Bokoharamism, so do we have the Buhari’s in good governance, the Oloyedes in transparency and the Tony Elumelus in business acumen. We should therefore desist from ethnic and religious profiling. Fulanisation, Islamisation, Afeniferisation and Biafrisation exist only in nomenclature. They are mere figments of imagination coined by mischievous subjects, unscrupulous elements and enemies of progress.
“The most important lesson in the June 12 affair lies in its font et origo in 1993 and its resurrection in 2018/2019. Unlike the current situation where Nigerians surrender themselves to gymnastic religiousity and ethnic bigotry, June 12 by origin symptomized Nigeria’s unity in diversity as Nigerians sank ethnic and religious bias to vote for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. But destiny has again brought Nigerians together in 2018/2019 as a Northerner and Fulani man excavated a seemingly dead June 12 and breathed life into it.
“MURIC charges Nigerians to seize this unique opportunity to sink all prejudices. By proclaiming June 12 as our Democracy Day, President Muhammadu Buhari has brought hope of survival to the Nigerian project. This singular action is a sign of good things ahead particularly for groups who still feel marginalized. Buhari knows where it pinches and he will address all grievances.
“It therefore behoves every Nigerian citizen to cooperate with the Buhari administration. We advise aggrieved groups to adopt dialogue and eschew violence. Our voices are being heard. The fact that Buhari ignored powerful enemies of June 12 to give the latter recognition means that we have a leader who is prepared to damn the consequences in the quest for justice. All we need to do is to remain peaceful, law-abiding, hardworking and prayerful.
“As a parting shot, we remind Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari is gradually and steadily laying the solid foundation for a cohesive, virile and united Nigeria. Posterity will no doubt remember him as the Father of Modern Nigeria. We urge politicians to halt unhealthy politicking and to think Nigeria first. We call upon Nigerians to shun ethnic jingoism and religious particularism”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, June 10, 2019
11th June, 2019
DON’T CHRISTIANIZE YOUR CABINET - MURIC TELLS S/W GOVS
As South West governors resume office after their inauguration on 29th May, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called for the formation of balanced cabinets by the new governors of Oyo, Lagos and Ogun.
Making the call was the Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola. In a press statement circulated on Tuesday 11th June, 2019, the Islamic human rights organization advised the new governors to allow their cabinets to reflect the spirit of participatory democracy by ensuring that all stakeholders are not only consulted but fully involved.
“Your new governments must be inclusive. It must carry all sectors and groups along. That is the secret of good governance. As you pick political figures, you must involve technocrats and business gurus.
“We are watching the exercise with keen interest. Muslims in the South West are aware that all the new governors in Ogun, Oyo and Lagos are Christians. They should not make the same mistakes made by Ayodele Fayose and his successor, Kayode Fayemi in Ekiti State.
“Fayose ensured that Muslims were politically strangulated during his tenure. The secretary to the state government (SSG), the chief of staff (COS), all fourteen commissioners, all permanent secretaries and all board chairmen except one were Christians. In spite of our exhortations, Fayemi gave Muslims only one commissioner out of fourteen. This kind of attitude cannot promote peaceful coexistence. Neither does it represent good governance.
“We have a special message for Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. He has already appointed a Muslim as the chairman of the Muslim Pilgrims Board. His choice is a very good one. Professor S. H. A. Malik is one of the most respected Islamic scholars in Nigeria. But Makinde should not assume that he has given Muslims any post. No, he has not.
“That position can only be filled by a Muslim. Makinde must therefore do his homework very well. Oyo State is not a place where any governor can dare the Muslim population. Bola Ige learnt this lesson too late. We are waiting to see where the posts of SSG and COS will go. The number of seats allocated to Muslims and Christians in the cabinet and board appointments will determine Makinde’s political sagacity.
“For the avoidance of doubts, MURIC is aware of the essence of merit in making appointments. Therefore, we are not suggesting the contrary. Any governor who claims that he could not find competent Muslims to appoint is deceiving Nigerians. The truth is that political appointments have become indices for the general welfare of various groups. Failure to pay attention to the Muslim population in terms of appointments therefore tantamounts to deliberate attempt to impoverish Muslims.
“To conclude this advocacy, we welcome the three new governors in the South West and urge them to give every sector its fair share in governance. We counsel against the christianisation of governance in any form. Rather, the new governors should give their subjects balanced cabinets”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, June 9, 2019
10th June, 2019
MURIC EXPOSES NCEF’S ESCAPIST GIMMICK
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described the reaction of the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) to its statement which was published on Friday 7th June, 2019 as an escapist gimmick, a distortion of facts and the handiwork of distractors, agent provocateur and confusionists. MURIC’s latest statement which was issued on Monday, 10th June, 2019 was signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The Islamic human rights organization was reacting to a rejoinder of NCEF which was published yesterday, Sunday, 9th June, 2019 in which the latter attacked MURIC. According to NCEF, MURIC was trying to score political points. NCEF also claimed that placing Shariah in the 1999 Constitution was Nigeria’s problem, not Christianity or Islam.
“NCEF has digressed and it is deliberate. We took NCEF up on its allegation of Islamisation and its criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s attendance of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit last week. But instead of addressing the substance, NCEF has veered to the shadow.
“It is an escapist gimmick and a distortion of facts. It is the handiwork of distractors, agent provocateur and confusionists. We supplied facts and figures about OIC and its origin in our own statement. We said General Gowon (rtd) took Nigeria to OIC. NCEF could not contradict this. We mentioned the gains brought back home from OIC summit by the president. NCEF has no response for that.
“How can NCEF be complaining about Nigeria’s membership of OIC when many West African countries are there: Ivory Coast, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, etc? Uganda, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique are all there. Guyana from South America is a member. Russia and Thailand are members in observer status.
“Both the United Nations and the African Union are observer nations of OIC. How many of these countries have been Islamised since 1969 when OIC was founded? In fact, can anyone embark on any Islamisation exercise under the watch of the UN? We are not surprised that NCEF was forced to put its car in the reverse gear after realizing all these facts.
“But instead of admitting defeat, NCEF begins to beat about the bush. It is grandstanding. Modesty and humility are not in NCEF’s vocabulary. It is blaming Shariah in the 1999 Constitution. How does that relate to Buhari in 2019? Was Buhari in power in 1999? How did Shariah in the constitution become Buhari’s baby? Why should he be reported to a foreign parliament for what he knew nothing about? Is it the federal government that is practicing Shariah? Is Buhari practicing Shariah? When did Shariah start and when did Buhari become president? We can see clearly that senility and amnesia are close neighbours.
“By the way, was Shariah part of NCEF’s original statement which MURIC reacted to on Friday? The issue was OIC. How can you jump from one subject to another without thrashing the original subject matter? It is escapist. It is an attempt to confuse Nigerians.
“We are shocked that NCEF now claims to be seeking ‘a peaceful and lasting solution to current national crisis’. ‘Peaceful and lasting solution’ indeed. We have no doubt that even NCEF does not believe itself making such a claim. Can anyone seek peaceful solution by setting fire to the roof? Is it by inciting Christians against Muslims that you can seek ‘peaceful and lasting solutions’? Is it by uttering hate speeches that you can seek ‘peaceful and lasting solutions’? Or is it by always crying wolf where there is none?
“We remind NCEF that its impertinence led the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to disown it. We urge NCEF to first reconcile with CAN and stop seeking undue relevance. NCEF should also examine the audio and video clips of its preachers which are full of incitement before claiming to be seeking ‘peaceful and lasting solutions’. Interestingly enough, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel whose inciteful video clips proliferate cyberspace is the secretary of NCEF. Need we say more?
“The real problem in Project Nigeria is groups like NCEF who want to live but do not want others to live. They are particularly allergic to anything Islamic when in actual fact the Nigerian system was totally christianised by the colonial masters.
“We recognize and accept the Christian way of life for our Christian neighbours but the earlier they also recognize the Islamic way of life for Muslims the better for all of us. Nobody can Shugaba us. We affirm clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Nigerian Muslims are an integral part of this country and we are not leaving any time soon.
“We appeal to NCEF and its co-travellers to drop this allegation of Islamisation. Nobody can Islamise Nigeria. The Yorubas who reside in the North have Obas. But is that Afeniferisation or Oduduwisation? The Igbo people are scattered all over Nigeria and they have their own Igwes in all those places. But is that Biafrisation?
Why then do we single out the Hausa-Fulani in our midst and accuse them of Islamisation and Fulanisation? It is stigmatization. It is intolerance. It is petty and crude. It is a mockery of civilisation. If Afeniferisation or Oduduwisation is mere fancy, if Biafrisation is a mirage, we make bold to say Islamisation and Fulanisation are mere hallucinations. None of these ‘isations’ is in the best interest of our country.
“We should therefore come together and drop name-calling or adopting meaningless terms to deceive gullible Nigerians. Stereotyping has robbed us of the last vestiges of civilization. There are criminals in all tribes just as there are decent and law-abiding men and women in all groups. The way forward is for the good people to unite and expose the bad eggs. Nigeria is a great nation with immense potentials. This is how to make it greater. Let us stop these meaningless allegations and harness our country’s human and material resources.
“As we wind up, therefore, we invite NCEF to true tolerance which can only be found in the principle of live and let live. NCEF must allow the integration of all religions, cultures and ethnicities in the Nigerian project. Nigeria is for all of us. It is not a Christian property. Neither is it for Muslims alone. NCEF has locked up Nigeria in a Nigeria-for-Christ-project. It is time to open its windows and allow the breeze of nationalism to come in from all directions. NCEF should stop seeing Islamisation in its dreams. Let us all dream greatness for Nigeria instead.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)