Tuesday, July 30, 2019

SCREENING: MURIC COMMENDS 9TH SENATE


31st July, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
SCREENING: MURIC COMMENDS 9TH SENATE

An Islamic human rights organization has commended the leadership and members of the 9th Senate for confirming all 43 ministerial nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari after screening them.

The commendation came in a press statement issued by the Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 31st July, 2019. The statement described the 9th Senate as progressive, dynamic and patriotic.

“The speedy clearance of nominees, the early completion of the exercise and the confirmation of all the 43 candidates is an indication of better things to come. This 9th Senate means business. It is people-friendly and truly Nigerian. Above all, it is progressive, dynamic and patriotic.

“This is a clear departure from the circus which Nigerians mistook for a senate in the last four years. The 8th senate was a monumental disaster. Hypnotised senators abandoned critical national issues to troop after their president who was facing charges at the tribunal. Nominees were scape-goated and rejected out of spite. It was clear from the first day that the 8th senate was here to frustrate the war against corruption.

“The graft-loving 8th senate refused to confirm Ibrahim Magu, the head of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency. Nigeria’s budget was delayed for seven months! The 8th Senate was an unmitigated failure, a senate of comic characters and pathological liars, a senate of professional sleepers-on-duty, a senate of budget-padding experts whose members were only good at harassing women and spending 19 hours on tree tops.

“In conclusion, we congratulate the new Senate president, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan, for bringing light to replace darkness. We commend him for his cool-headedness, maturity and statesmanship. We urge him to remain focused and to continue cooperating with the executive for a better and greater Nigeria. We appeal to members of the 9th Senate to think more of Nigeria in their deliberations.”

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


Sunday, July 28, 2019

SHIITE PROSCRIPTION: ALLOW FG TO HANDLE THIS


29th July, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
SHIITE PROSCRIPTION: ALLOW FG TO HANDLE THIS

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) last week announced the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiites.

Reacting to this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on Nigerians to allow FG to handle the situation. This was contained in  a statement made available to the media by the Director of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 29th July, 2019.

According to MURIC, “It will be recalled that we suggested that FG should initiate dialogue with the leadership of the Nigerian Muslim community and leaders of IMN in order to find an amicable settlement for the Shiite imbroglio.    

“But more revelations have since come to our attention in the last 48 hours. For example, at least two Muslim neighbours of the Shiites came out openly and in writing to reveal stunning incidents of the use of violence by the group. Their experiences date back to the 90s.

“A major Islamic organisation which is based in the North, the Jamaatu Ikhmad al-Bid’ah wa Ihyais-Sunnah (JIBWIS) also issued a strong statement calling on FG not to handle the Shiites with soft gloves. Most importantly, the testimonies have revealed a dangerous Shiite principle of non-recognition of either a federal or state government.  

“Based on these new developments, we have no other choice than to call on Nigerians to allow FG to handle the situation, particularly in the face of large scale insecurity in the country. FG has been accused of inability to rein in the general state of insecurity in the country. Some have accused FG of failure to take decisive actions to stem the tide.

“MURIC considers the proscription of IMN as a decisive and necessary action. Nigerians who sincerely want to see peace and stability must therefore give FG a free hand on this. Boko Haram would not have festered so badly had former President Goodluck Jonathan taken action when he should.

“It is also our considered opinion that members of the civil society and individuals defending the Shiites are not looking at the larger picture. FG has more comprehensive information. Civil society must ponder over Shiite ideology which rejects the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all constituted authority within the country including traditional rulers.

“We contend that Christian groups are most hypocritical. They support the Shiites because they tend to see it as an opportunity to decimate Islamdom, particularly in Nigeria. What really matters to them is how to weaken Islam in the country. It sounds too much like ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.

“It is well known that the present conflict is between the Shiites, FG and the Kaduna State government. Mainstream Islam is not involved. Knowing the excesses of their Shiite neighbours, other Islamic organisations decided to remain aloof ab initio. Christian leaders who want to exploit the silence of Islamic organisations as an opportunity to create more division between the Sunnis and the Shiites now started pretending to sympathise with the Shiites. The latter is quick to grab the straw.

“Otherwise why should they be the ones defending a Muslim group which even mainstream Muslims regard as dangerous? Why this sudden act of ‘benevolence’? Come to think of it: who opposed Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC)? Who kicked against the introduction of Shariah? Who fought the advent of Islamic banking tooth and nail? Who is behind the infringement on the rights of Muslims particularly the hijab issue in the South West?

“Is it not paradoxical that those who have been accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of attempting to Islamise Nigeria are the same people supporting an Islamic sect which refuses to recognise any government but Shiite authority? We put it to Christian groups in the country that they are shedding crocodile tears on the Shiite imbroglio. But the wind has blown and we have seen the ruff of the hen. It is time to back off.

As for members of the civil society, many of them have no sympathy for Muslims and they have never manifested genuine concern for the latter. The same civil society which pretends to be protecting the girl-child by crying foul over early marriage maintains conspiratorial silence over the hijab saga. None of them sees anything wrong with locking hundreds of Muslim girls out of school on account of an ordinary headscarf. It is such a big shame. But we are not deceived.

“MURIC recognises the right of Shiites to practice their faith but strictly within recognised rules of engagement. Shiites must respect Allah-given fundamental rights of their neighbours. They must genuinely renounce violence and pledge to stop the harassment of other citizens. Not only that, they must review their revolutionary tenets particularly that which refuses to recognise federal and state governments. It is treasonable to vehemently persist that they will only recognise an Islamic government based on Shiite ideology alone.

“In this respect, we are constrained to warn the Iranian government to desist from interfering in the internal affairs of Nigeria. Iran is known to have executed Sunni Muslim leaders in its domain even without the latter engaging in any criminal activity. Therefore Iran has no moral right to dictate to the Nigerian government on how to handle Shiite excesses. This is a sovereign nation and any attempt to export the Ayatollah-style bloody revolution to Nigeria will be stiffly resisted by mainstream Muslims in the country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC is not interested in promoting a Sunni-Shiite dichotomy. We are for all Islamic groups. We are simply here to project, promote and protect the rights of all adherents of Islam. Nonetheless, we reject those who smear the image of Islam in any way and those who kill and maim followers of other religions and their fellow Muslims. We recognise the authority of the Federal Government of Nigeria as well as those of state governments and we will not associate with those who seek to render asunder the sovereignty of our great country, Nigeria.

“In our closing remarks, we charge Nigerians to allow FG to handle the situation. IMN was proscribed for its violent propensity. It can be deproscribed when there is enough evidence that the group is no more violent. We appeal to Christian leaders to stop shedding crocodile tears over Shiite-FG imbroglio. We urge civil society and individual activists to desist from selective activism. Those who are silent on the hijab question vis a vis the oppression of the Muslim girl-child should not be quick to comment on the Shiite affair. It is sheer hypocrisy.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

SHIITE PROTEST: DIALOGUE IS THE ANSWER


25th July, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
SHIITE PROTEST: DIALOGUE IS THE ANSWER

Shiite protest in Abuja turned violent two days ago claiming a senior police officer and a journalist among others. The Shiites claimed that about a hundred of their members were arrested and detained.  

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned the violence. The human rights group described the incident as disheartening. This was disclosed in a press statement issued by the Director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, early on Thursday, 25th July, 2019.

“It is most disheartening that people are dying during Shiite protests. We condemn all forms of violence. True to our avowed motto: ‘Dialogue, No Violence’, MURIC as a dialogue-loving human rights organization will never condone or subscribe to violence. We detest the shedding of blood. Life is sacred and nobody has the right to deprive a fellow homo sapien of his Allah-given fundamental right to live.

“We therefore appeal to the supporters of Shaykh El-Zakzaky to review their strategy. The El-Zakzaky affair is getting complicated. Video clips have emerged showing members of the group attacking police vans during demonstrations while the police vehicles were seen manouvring their ways to escape. The death of the senior police officer during the last protest cannot be wished away. Policemen are also human beings. They have dependants and they have the inalienable right to live. Shiites claim that they did not use any weapon but did the officer commit suicide?  

“This is why the Shiites need to urgently take another look at their current disposition. It is time to stoop in order to conquer. Non-Shiite Muslims who reside close to Shiite headquarters in Zaria have given damning evidence of the intimidation of neighbours by the Shiites in the days and years before the army’s attack. Those harassed included Christians and non-Shiite Muslims. This is quite worrisome. This discovery has made it difficult for those who are intervening in the Shiite imbroglio to absolve the group of any wrongdoing.

“Shiites should not be deceived by the hypocritical declarations of solidarity from certain quarters. Most of such statements are made by people who are keen on exploiting the sectarian lacuna between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. They are therefore empty, meaningless and politically motivated. Shiites are simply being egged on to self-immolation by inmates of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ ideological camp who will disappear into thin air when it matters most.  

“The only panacea which we envision is for the followers of El-Zakzaky to make themselves amenable to negotiations. Dialogue is the answer. Violence is a square peg. Peace is a round hole. We repeat the suggestion which we made some months ago, viz, that the Federal Government (FG) should invite the leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and representatives of the Shiites to a roundtable.

“Due to past experience, Shiite representatives must be prepared to sign an undertaking that the group will remain peaceful and law-abiding if its leader is granted bail. The conditionalities must also include a vow to stop holding processions which obstruct traffic in anyway anywhere in Nigeria.

“MURIC condoles Channels Television on the death of one of its staff at the scene of the protest. In the same vein, we commiserate with the Nigerian police on the death of the senior police officer.  

“Before we stop hitting the keyboard, we appeal to the followers of Shaykh El-Zakzaky to reflect deeply on the need to respect the rights of other Nigerians, to be humble in the practice and manifestation of religion and to desist from any act capable of causing discomfort to their fellow compatriots. We appeal to FG to initiate dialoge on the El-Zakzaky affair.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

MURIC COMMISSERATES WITH DEFENDER’S MANAGER


24th July, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC COMMISSERATES WITH DEFENDER’S MANAGER

The death has been announced of Alhaji Imran Shittu Awosanya, a former official of Learnards Industries Limited. The late Imran is the father of the Administrative Manager of the Defender newspaper, Hajia Basirat Shittu-Adefaka. He died on Saturday, 20th July, 2019.

Meanwhile an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has commisserated with the eldest daughter of the deceased, Hajia Basirat, her husband, Prince Bashir Adefaka and the entire crew of the Defender newspaper.

In the message of condolence issued early on Wednesday, 24th July, 2019, MURIC pleaded with the family to regard the deceased’s death as a blessing in disguise since it spared the younger ones and it occurred long after his retirement.

“We urge those left behind by Pa Imran Shittu Awosanya to keep aloft his golden ideals of self-satisfaction, asceticism, hardwork and high level discipline.”

The statement was signed by the Director and Founder of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.           

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC


MINISTERIAL LIST: MURIC CONGRATULATES PANTAMI


23rd July, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
MINISTERIAL LIST: MURIC CONGRATULATES PANTAMI

President Muhammadu Buhari this afternoon submitted to the Nigerian Senate a list of his ministerial nominees containing 43 names.     

In its initial reaction, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described the list as water-tight. The human rights group congratulated the nominees but singled out Dr. Isa Ali Pantami for encomiums.

“This is a water-tight ministerial list. It is the product of political ingenuity. We felicitate with all the nominees. In particular, we rejoice with Dr. Isa Khalifah Pantami. We know him as a special breed and a performer nulli secundus.

“We are particularly pleased with the nomination of Isa Pantami because he is a cerebral Islamic cum Infotech scholar. This is a rare combination. A former product of the Federal University of Technology, Pantami is the current Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).  

“We have no doubt that his excellent performance at the NITDA gave rise to his nomination as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We are equally certain that Pantami’s educational background, particularly his training as a pupil at the Tsangaya Traditional School where he spent four years learning the Qur’an, prepared him morally and spiritually for the challenges of office.

“With a first degree and an MSc in computer science plus an MBA in Technology Management, Pantami was all set for launch as an infotech guru. His PhD in Computer Information Systems from the prestigious Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland and another Post Graduate Certificate in Research Method in the United Kingdom are the icing on the cake. Indeed, Pantami is a rare gift to the Nigerian nation.

“A seasoned academic, Pantami lectured for more than a decade at the Federal University of Technology, Bauchi where he got his first degree ab initio. An erudite scholar of international repute, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Madinah. His academic and professional tentacles pulled strings in globally recognized centers of excellence such as Havard, Cambridge and Switzerland.

“A prolific writer, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has authored more than twelve books and published articles in reputable local and international academic journals. He has also travelled far and wide. As expected from a man with this rich experience and deep knowledge, he has impacted positively on the Nigerian IT industry since he became the head of NITDA.

“As we take a break, MURIC commends President Muhammadu Buhari for fishing out this great Nigerian for a ministerial post. Here is an erudite scholar and distinguished IT professional who has earned the highest recognition in the global Infotech industry as well as numerous local and international awards in recognition of his outstanding professionalism and personal integrity. While most great men are hardly celebrated at home, Mr. President has elected to celebrate this illustrious son who has won laurels in global professional circles. It is a reward well deserved and a choice wisely made.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC


Monday, July 22, 2019

ALLOW HIJAB IN ARMY, POLICE & PARA-MILITARY


22nd July, 2019

PRESS RELEASE:
ALLOW HIJAB IN ARMY, POLICE & PARA-MILITARY

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is considering interim relief to allow a Muslim female soldier to wear hijab. The minister of defence is also set to review the policy on dress code in the South African army. The female soldier, Major Fatima Isaacs, reportedly disobeyed the order of a senior officer who asked her to remove the hijab she adorned under her beret.

In a related development, a female Muslim police woman of South East origin who was formerly called Patience but who has converted to Islam and now bears Halimah is allegedly facing disciplinary action from her senior colleagues for using hijab with her police uniform somewhere in Ikorodu, Lagos State. A photograph of Halimah in police uniform with her hijab tucked under her police beret went viral two weeks ago.

Sequel to this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police and all para-military forces in the country to allow their female Muslim staffers to use hijab. This was stated in a press statement signed by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 23rd July, 2019.

According to the Islamic human rights organization, “Many Muslim women in the armed forces and the police are suffering in silence. Halimah the police woman is not the only one who craves to use hijab. There are many others. They cannot speak out for fear of the kind of disciplinary action being faced by Halimah. But the result is lack of job satisfaction, loss of focus and a desertification of spiritual well-being. They are just being human and every homo sapien is body, soul and spirit.

“This is why we are calling on the police authorities to treat Halimah’s case with understanding. This is not a case of professional misconduct. It is a quest after spiritual sanctification. The police should note Section 38 (i) and (ii) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantees her religious freedom.

“The case of Halimah can be compared to that of Fatima in South Africa and the latter is not being court-martialed. Instead, the South African army is reviewing its dress code as it pertains to Muslims. This is what our army and police should do. We cannot affor to stick dogmatically to an anachronistic system.

“The world is changing fast. Lt. Cdr. Wafa Dabbagh became the first Canadian military officer to wear hijab in 1996 and the Canadian military dress code manual was adjusted to allow it in 2001 (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43758999). Canada gave her female Muslim police officers the liberty to wear hijab in 2013 (https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2008754/canadas-mounties-allow-women-officers-wear-hijab)

“Scotland had just six female Muslims out of 17,242 officers in August 2016 when it approved hijab because it was discovered that Muslim women were avoiding police job due to fear of losing their hijab if they joined (https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/scotland-police-muslim-hijab-diversity-tolerance/ and https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-3716642). Ireland joined the European bandwaggon on approval of hijab for police women who are Muslims in April 2019 (https://www.islamicfinder.org/news/ireland-permits-muslim-police-officers-to-wear-hijab/)

“The British police, Ireland, Scotland, US, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, Australia, etc have already keyed into the use of hijab by their female Muslim members. In November 2018, a High Court judge in Trinidad ruled that Muslim women police officers are to be allowed to wear their hijabs while on duty. So what is Nigeria waiting for?

These are verifiable facts. Infotech has reduced the world to a global village. Instead of engaging in armchair criticism, we advise doubting Thomases to check the following links:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43758999
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/09/british-police-force-says-it-may-allow-female-officers-to-wear-f/
https://www.worldreligionnews.com/religion-news/check-new-uniform-female-muslim-police-officers-uk
https://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2008754/canadas-mounties-allow-women-officers-wear-hijab
http://shiawaves.com/english/islam/7309-ireland-allows-muslim-police-officers-to-wear-hijab
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-37166422
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/rcmp-diversity-policy-hijab-1.3733829
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2016/08/25/Scotland-allows-women-police-officers-to-wear-hijab-following-Canada-s-Mounties.html
https://www.islamicfinder.org/news/ireland-permits-muslim-police-officers-to-wear-hijab/

“The United States Army approved hijab in 2017 following a memorandum issued by the Secretary of the US Army in Washington on 3rd January 2017 under the subject-matter Army Directive 2017-03 (Policy for Brigade-Level Approval of Certain Requests for Religious Accomodation)

“It is only in Nigeria that religious maradonisation has taken control of our thinking faculties and we have consequently excommunicated objectivity from our boarders. The hijab does not interfere with the professional efficiency of the person wearing it. For crying out loud, she covers her head, not her brain!

“Available records indicate that several Muslim women have shelved the idea of joining any of the uniformed forces for fear of abandoning hijab. We therefore advocate the use of hijab by female Muslim uniformed officers in keeping with global best practices. It is the only obstacle standing between Muslim women and military service, including the police, customs, immigrations, traffic administrators, etc.

“We call on the army, police and paramilitary authorities to meet the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) which is the umbrella organization for all Islamic associations in the country with a view to discussing the dress code for Muslims in their institutions. It is interesting to note that a similar discussion is currently taking place this week between the South African defence force and representatives of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) of South Africa.

“The revision of the dress code for Muslims in the Nigerian armed forces and its para-military must not be seen as an anathema when the South African army is considering same even when the population of Muslims in South Africa is just 1.9% whereas Muslims are in the majority in Nigeria.

“The cases of Fatima and Halimah must jog the professional conscience of the Nigerian military and the Nigerian police. For how long can we remain dogmatic? For how long must we enslave Nigerian Muslims under neo-colonialism?

“Even the colonial master has softened up. Female Muslims in the British police have been using hijab for years now. It amounts to gender discrimination with a religious taint. It also means that Nigeria is yet to fully integrate its Muslim population fifty-nine years after independence. It casts a shadow of insincerity on our so-called efforts at building cohesion, oneness and peace.

“The present system is, to say the least, parochial, discriminatory and oppressive. Our uniforms should be fashioned to suit the needs of our communities and Muslims constitute an integral part of our communities. By the same token, our military and police forces should genuinely mirror the communities they serve. Allowing female Muslim officers to use hijab will trully reflect the richness and diversity of our country.

“A liberal policy which allows female Muslim officers to wear hijab will inject a huge dose of confidence in the Muslim population and give them greater sense of belonging. As it stands today, our military and paramilitary uniforms appear to have been designed for a non-Muslim environment and population. It is not Muslim-friendly but anti-Muslim. Many Muslim police and para-military officers are suffering in silence. This should not happen in a true democracy. It is high time we corrected this lopsided democratic entity.  

MURIC charges Northern states which have large Muslim majorities to immediately and speedily launch the pilot scheme by embarking on the fashioning of para-military uniforms of female Muslims which conform with Islamic guidelines. We cannot afford to continue a copy-cat policy which derides Islam. The liberation drive must start now.

“We charge the Federal Government (FG) to include hijab as part of the dress code for women volunteers in the proposed community police which plans to recruit 40,000 volunteers in every state. Particularly now that we are starting community policing, involve Muslim women in hijab. We remind FG that women in Muslim communities will find it more convenient to relate and confide in Muslim police women who use hijab. Criminologists agree that women in communities are sine qua non to the provision of information to the police at grassroots level.


“In summary, we call for the immediate review of the dress code policy as it affects Muslims generally in the Nigerian Army, the police and paramilitary forces in line with global best practices. FG should kickstart this policy as Nigeria embarks on an aggressive community policing in the next few weeks. We appeal to the Nigeria police to allow Halima the police woman to continue to use her hijab.”

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


Thursday, July 18, 2019

MURIC LAUDS SENATE FOR CONFIRMING CJN, OTHERS


19th July, 2019

MURIC LAUDS SENATE FOR CONFIRMING CJN, OTHERS

The Nigerian Senate yesterday confirmed Justice Muhammad Tanko as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN).

Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has congratulated the newly confirmed CJN. The Islamic human rights advocacy group described his confirmation as a victory for democracy and the rule of law. This was contained in a terse statement circulated on Friday, 19th July, 2019 by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

“We congratulate Justice Muhammad Tanko on his confirmation as the substantive CJN. We also felicitate with other nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari who were confirmed yesterday. It is victory for democracy and the rule of law. Light has finally overwhelmed darkness. This is the people’s Senate.

“The 9th Senate deserves accolades for starting on a positive note. This is quite promising. Unlike the heavily sarakitised 8th Senate which was confrontational, diversionary, wasteful and unpatriotic, we can see the signs of a red chamber ready for real business. True to the principle of separation of power, we do not expect the 9th Senate to be a rubber stamp but at least it is not likely to become a bottle-neck for governance.

“We charge the current Senate to expedite action on the confirmation of other nominees, especially the acting head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu who was denied confirmation by the 8th Senate throughout its tortuous duration.

“As we draw the curtain, we note that the newly confirmed CJN told Senate yesterday that there is corruption in the judiciary. We therefore invite him to set the machinery in motion to carry out a thorough reform of the Nigerian judicial system without fear or favour.”

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


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

STOP POLITICISING RUGA


18th July, 2019

STOP POLITICISING RUGA

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has cautioned Nigerians to stop politicizing the RUGA affair. The Islamic human rights organization gave the warning in a press statement circulated by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday, 18th July, 2019.

“Nigerians should stop listening to rogue politicians. There is nothing like Fulanis planning to install Emir of Oshogbo, Emir of Enugu or Emir of Asaba. It is all balderdash. These are false alarms being raised by unscrupulous politicians and expired demagogues.

“For decades in this country, we have always had Seriki Hausawa in almost all the cities of the South just as we have always had Oba Yoruba and Igwe of the Igbo in almost all the cities of Northern Nigeria. These were mere symbolic leaders of those tribal groups residing in states and cities other than their own. They were there for ease of administration and inter-tribal relations and they peacefully co-existed with their host communities.

“But suddenly rogue politicians and merchants of hate speech began inciting Nigerians against Northerners, particularly Fulanis and herdsmen. All sorts of crimes were ascribed to them, especially kidnapping and armed robbery. It is as if the Oyenusis among the Yoruba have suddenly disappeared while the Evans among the Igbo have melted away like ice cream in the desert sun.

“It amounts to gross mischief and incalculable disservice to humanity to use this as a reason for rejecting the RUGA plan. RUGA, which means rural grazing area is being misinterpreted to gullible Nigerians as an attempt by Northerners to install Emirs in the South or an attempt by them to invade Southern communities. This is far from the truth.  

“MURIC condemns the politicization of RUGA. We frown at the stereotyping of any ethnicity or group of persons anywhere in the world, particularly Nigeria. All tribes have their own share of criminals just as there are decent and industrious citizens among all ethnicities. We are alarmed at the rate of deception, outright lies and make-beliefs calculated at inciting Southerners against Fulanis and Hausas.

“We call on Southerners to resist political charlatans who are out to spread hate and ignite widespread hostilities. We call on Southerners to think out of the box as there are many angles to the concept of RUGA. For instance, we can start looking at the quantity of cattle sales in a place like Lagos where about 6,000 cows are slaughtered daily. This is big business for crying out loud.

“Any visionary governor from the South will accept the RUGA policy purely for economic reasons. We cannot afford to remain na├»ve and blinded by ethnic jingoism. 10% commission to the state coffers is not pittance especially as it runs into billions of naira.

“As we fold our mats, we charge Southern governors to think more of the economic gains of RUGA and not the rumoured, unfounded and quixotic installation of emirs in Southern communities. It is a farce. We should be looking at the message, not the messenger. We call on Southerners to ignore disgruntled politicians and stop idolizing demons. Nigeria needs unity now more than ever before and this is why we must move closer to all non-indigenes residing or doing business in our communities.”

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