Monday, February 17, 2020


17th February, 2020

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has complained that its office has been inundated with reports from Muslim students, their teachers and parents that the software of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) being used for capturing during registration always malfunctions with hijab. The human rights group therefore suspects that the application was deliberately designed to automatically reject hijab. As a result, MURIC has called on WAEC to review the software by making it hijab-compliant.

This was revealed in a statement distributed to the media on Monday, 17th February, 2020 by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

According to the statement, “Reports from state branches of MURIC concerning capturing for 2020 WAEC registration has been alarming and disappointing. In faraway Minna, Niger State, at the Hasha International School, students had issues with capturing in hijab. The same reports came in from several secondary schools in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, etc and it resulted in the officials asking Muslim students to remove their hijab for capturing since, according to them, the hijab was not being captured by WAEC’s software.

“Here lies the riddle. Several questions come to our minds and it appears only WAEC can answer them. So, over to WAEC. Muslims pay the same amount for WAEC as all others. Why are our daughters being victimized? Why are they being set aside for embarrassment? Why must their religion become a source of discomfort for them? Why are the Muslim parents being made to go through psychological trauma?

“And now to fundamental issues that are directly connected to WAEC’s software in the questions. Who designed the software? Why is the software not capturing the hijab used by Muslim female students? Why would it be designed specifically not to capture Muslim females wearing hijab? Are we saying Muslim children cannot be Muslims anymore until they take non-Muslim identities? Why didn’t the designers of WAEC’s software put the hijab into consideration ab initio? Was there any test-running before the design was approved? If there was a test-running, who supervised the test-running and where is the report?

“MURIC demands answers to these questions without delay. Controversies over WAEC registration, stereotyping and maltreatment of Muslim candidates and imposition of anti-Muslim time-tables have become recurring decimals over the years. MURIC has intervened peacefully and diplomatically over the years. Yet the controversies keep popping up year in year out. We warn that Nigerian Muslims are running out of patience concerning WAEC’s intransigence and its contemptible treatment of Muslims. This examination body should therefore be blamed for any breakdown of law and order over its obnoxious and anti-Muslim policies.

“It is our considered opinion that WAEC is being used by certain forces to retard the educational progress of Nigerian Muslims. We also suspect very strongly that the controversial software is one of the plans of Islamophobic elements to frustrate Muslims after it became evident that no examination body has the right to ban Muslim students from using hijab.

“We demand a probe into circumstances surrounding the development, operation, deployment and application of the software being used by WAEC with a view to identifying reasons for the constant rejection of hijab by the software. For a transparent exercise, we suggest the involvement of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), a Federal Government agency, in the investigation.

“We further demand the co-option of a Muslim expert into the team of investigators. We volunteer to supply the Muslim expert and to pay for his or her services. We urge WAEC to accept these suggestions as well as the offer in order to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the examination body has no hidden agenda against Muslims. He who must come to equity must come with clean hands.

“To cap the edifice, we demand quality service for hijab-wearing Muslim students as part of their Allah-given fundamental human rights. We affirm that something is fundamentally wrong with a software that constantly fails to recognise a particular mode of dressing. We strongly suspect manipulation from source. We therefore demand a transparent probe of WAEC’s capturing software without delay. This incident must not repeat itself in 2021. A stitch in time saves nine.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Friday, February 14, 2020


14th February, 2020

There has been a Tsunami of criticisms over the recent killing of about thirty civilians in Auno, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents. Some Nigerians have directed their condemnation at the Federal Government (FG) and the Nigerian military. But an Islamic human rights organization has told Nigerians that they should take a retrospective and comparative look at the issue of insecurity in Nigeria before casting blames.

This was revealed in a press statement circulated on Friday, 14th February, 2020, by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the founder and director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).

According to MURIC, “Wailers are not looking at the terrible state of insecurity before this administration came on board. There is an urgent need to be retrospective. That is the only way to do an objective appraisal. We are up against hardened Libyan mercenaries. We are up against terrorists backed by foreign powers. We are up against internal saboteurs who provide deadly logistics to insurgents.

“Take a look at the North East before 2015. Attacks by insurgents occurred on a daily basis. Boko Haram occupied 24 local governments in three states (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe). Borno state bore the full brunt as 17 of those 25 local governments were located in the state. It was so bad that Borno residents could not pray in mosques or churches and the streets of Maiduguri were deserted. Those local governments had neither electricity nor network coverage for four good years. Borno schools were burnt and destroyed, markets were closed down and businesses were scuttled. Social life was totally paralysed.

“Corruption aided the insurgency as money meant for arms was diverted by the previous administration. This forced Nigerian soldiers to flee at the approach of Boko Haram fighters. Our soldiers were taking refuge in neighbouring countries. But the picture is different today. No single local government is under Boko Haram control. The insurgents are the ones taking to their heels and their new guerrilla tactics prove the point that they have acknowledged the fact that they are facing superior forces.

“How can we forget so soon? Where were people like Hassan Kukah and the Christian protesters when Alex Badeh, a fellow Christian, and the CDS stole money meant for fighting terror. Yet Badeh knew that Boko Haram was attacking churches. What did Badeh do when he got intelligence that the terrorists were going to attack his village? He went there to evacuate his family with a military helicopter. Badeh later became a victim of the same insecurity which he had fueled.

“It is paradoxical that the same Hassan Kukah who condemned other Nigerians for their flair for criticizing their country in 2014 is the chief wailer in 2020. Even the blind can see clearly here that Hassan Kukah’s parameter for performance in government does not go beyond religion. He was a praise-singer in 2014 when a Christian was in power. His attitude changed from May 29, 2015 when a Muslim became the landlord of Aso Rock.

“It is painful that people are treating the recent upsurge in the attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in isolation. That is neither fair nor objective. Our soldiers are doing their very best. They are just human beings and there are no magicians in Aso Rock. Besides, guerilla warfare is not one in which you wipe out the rebels in a jiffy. The Northern Ireland conflicts, the Latin-American insurgence, the Second Indo-China War, the Soviet-Afghanistan struggle, the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Baltic anti-Soviet campaigns, etc lasted decades.

“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to be patient and understanding. We call on all and sundry to cooperate fully with the security agencies by giving them all necessary information about the activities and movements of insurgents and criminals.

“To the people of Maiduguri and environs, we appeal to you to redouble your Iman (faith). Some of you allowed yourselves to be used against a man who is doing everything possible to protect you and your properties. May Allah forgive you. Remember how those before you blamed Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for their woes and Allah chided them for their lack of understanding.

“Listen to what Allah told them, ‘Death can catch up with you wherever you may be, even if you are in towers of great height. If some good things happen to them, they say this is from Allah. But if misfortune occurs, they say this is from you (i.e. from the Prophet SAW). Tell them everything is from Allah. Why can’t these people understand?’ (Glorious Qur’an 4:78).

“We give assurance that you are not alone. You are always on our mind. You are in our prayers. Your safety is our concern. But do not play into the hands of the enemy by turning against Nigerian soldiers or by blaming a caring Federal Government. Our soldiers are your friends. Many of them have died for you and they are still falling on the battle field.

“MURIC salutes gallant Nigerian soldiers at the battle front. We call on top military hierarchy to up the game against the insurgents. We advise the governor of Borno State to be more diplomatic in his public utterances about military operations in the sub-region, to improve relationship with the military command in the state and to give more logistic support to Nigerian soldiers.

“To conclude this advocacy, we remind Nigerians of the need to set comparative yardsticks between insecurity in pre-2015 Nigeria and the present day. We call on the governor of Borno state to be more tactical in his comments about the military. We charge residents of the sub-region to show more taqwah (consciousness of Allah) in their attitude to their predicament.” 

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, February 9, 2020


10th February, 2020

Men of the Nigeria Police stormed Kuduru Forest in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State on Wednesday, 5th February, 2020. Kuduru Forest is a notorious headquarters of kidnappers and other criminals who have been making life unbearable for innocent citizens. 250 criminals were killed in the attack while one policeman died during the raid and another in the hospital.

Following this successful raid, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has applauded the Kaduna Police Command. In a statement issued on Monday 10th February, 2020, the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC lauded the police for taking the battle to the hoodlums.

“We commend the police for storming Kuduru Forest. These criminals have been making life difficult for law-abiding citizens. Now they have been given a taste of their own pudding. They must realize that crime does not pay. We fully endorse this police action and it makes us proud of our policemen.

“This is what we have been advocating for some time now. It will be recalled that MURIC advised Nigerian security agencies some time ago to invade criminals’ den wherever they may be. How can hoodlums create republics of their own within a republic? The only solution to that is to always storm their hideouts, flush them out and make it difficult for them to reassemble.

“We commiserate with families of the policeman who died during the raid and the one who died during treatment. They are in our prayers. But most importantly, we remind their families that these men died as heroes and patriots. They must be proud of them. It is always better to go down as great men than as cowards and criminals.

“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to repose more confidence in the ability of the police and other security agencies to protect the citizenry. Dabbling into new experiments which have not been tested before may create anarchy in the Nigerian security architecture. Successful operations such as the storming of Kuduru Forest bear eloquent testimony to the ability of the Nigerian Police to protect us. What we have on ground is good enough. Let us support them with money, equipment, goodwill and prayers instead of indulging in mischief all over the place.

“As we appreciate the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, for promptly sending emissaries to visit policemen who sustained injuries during the raid, we appeal to him to take adequate measures to compensate families of the two deceased policemen. Emergency relief should be sent to the families in order to cushion the effect of the loss of their bread winners.

“As an epilogue, we charge the Nigerian Police to make the storming of Kuduru Forest the beginning of proactiveness in crime fighting in Nigeria. Constant raids should be conducted on known and suspected criminal hideouts. This will destabilize them and make it difficult for them to strategize.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Saturday, February 8, 2020


Sunday, 8th February, 2020,

On Sunday, 2nd February, 2020, Femi Fani-Kayode launched series of attacks on me on twitter. I have not responded since because more urgent issues at my workplace kept me busy. I am a salary-earner and I must perform my duty to justify the money I receive.

I believe in the dignity of labour. My job tickles me. I think I can now spare a few minutes to respond to his tweets. I must however disclose the fact that friends have advised that I ignore him.

They are concerned so that he won’t drag me to his level.

Fani-Kayode said his father, Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode was my father’s boss. What’s the big deal in that? That was in politics and is that a personal achievement for him? Interestingly enough, his father was not the overall boss. His father also had a boss over and above him.

Isn’t that how life is? Coincidentally his father’s boss was also an ‘Akintola’. Funny, isn’t it? And today I am happy Fani-Kayode is not my own boss so he can’t boss me.

Swelling with indignant pride, Fani-Kayode said “Ishaq is too small to call that name (his father’s name) & he knows nothing about the history of our people.” That is the tragedy of the Nigerian nation: an ex-minister bragging that a professor is too small to mention his father’s name?

What a pity! Can he stand where a professor is professing?

Talking about knowing the ‘history of our people’, may I ask what Fani-Kayode knows about that or even about the history of his father? Does Fani-Kayode think he knows everything about his own father? Well, I will share this little personal experience I had with his father.

He asked for it. Let Mr. Too-Big-and-Know-All tell us if he knows about it. I was the Federal Electoral Officer for Ife-Ijesha Senatorial District during the 1983 general elections. It was my duty to announce the result and that was around 2 am in the night.

The venue was the Police barracks, Moore, Ile-Ife and the press was fully present. I took the microphone to start the announcement but suddenly Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode (Femi Fani-Kayode’s father) came in with several mobile policemen.

He took a seat directly opposite me and told me not to announce any result. I resisted. He asked if I knew him. I answered in the affirmative but I added that duty was duty. I told him he was interfering with the electoral process.

For daring to confront a former deputy premier of the former Western Region, one of his mobile police escorts rushed at me with the butt of his rifle but I stood my ground. The policeman still remained beside me with the butt held threateningly over my head.

I was unperturbed. Surprisingly, all these happened in the full glare of the media. In fairness to Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode, he told the policeman to leave me alone. I started announcing the result in his presence and he stood up angrily and left.

The team of mobile policemen followed him. I continued the announcement of results to the end. I would not subvert the will of the people because my father was in a particular party. They have miscalculated if that was why they appointed me as the federal officer.

Islam teaches justice even if it is against your family. My father must have heard the full details next day but he respected my principled stand. He never asked me why I did what I did.  

But I was to learn a bitter lesson about Nigerian politics the next day. I took the original copy of the result with me for submission at the FEDECO office in Ibadan. But on getting to Ikire, my car radio started announcing election results.

To my bewilderment, I heard the announcement of the same result which was in my car. I felt utterly frustrated. So it is true that people write fake figures and announce them during elections. That does not imply that Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode wrote the result.

Or that he was involved. The party did it. They have specialists for that. Though I still drove to Ibadan to submit the original copy of the result, I was treated like a leper by the FEDECO staff at Agodi. I still felt proud of myself anyway.

Surprisingly, I felt no bitterness towards the ex-deputy premier, Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode. I had always admired him anyway and had attended his political rallies on several occasions.

He was a great orator and a bridge-builder. He accommodated all tribes and religions. Unlike his son, Femi Fani-Kayode, there was never any trace of religious bigotry in him. He was, indeed, a great politician.

Now, will it be correct for his son (Femi Fani-Kayode) to say I knew nothing about his father? That incident in Ile-Ife has become part of the history of the political life of Chief Remi Ade Fani-Kayode and his biography will remain incomplete without it.

I stood my ground in front of a former deputy premier and I refused to be intimidated. That is the stuff professors are made of. It is not about any top post or money. It is about principle and dignity. It is about standing up for what is right.

Listen to Fani-Kayode again : “He is not fit to kiss my feet or lick my shoes. He is filth. He is the lowest of the low…” Of course I know that I am not a boot-licker or a court-jester. But for crying out loud! A whole professor is not fit to kiss your feet or lick your shoes?

Hummmmm. See how a politician sees a professor? See what value they attach to education? And this man was a former minister! Thank God he wasn’t in charge of education. I hope nobody will ever think of making him a state governor otherwise he will make a mess of that sector.

Fani-Kayode also had the effrontery to call me “a fake Muslim scholar who attended some fake Almajiri school in Cairo many years ago.” Is that worth any response? I don’t mind being called a names anyway. I’ve been insulted, abused, misrepresented and misinterpreted countless number of times.

It doesn’t matter to me anymore. I can take any insult because of Islam. But you should know that something is definitely wrong with anyone who calls the great Al-Azhar University in Cairo a fake almajiri school.

Next, Fani-Kayode boasts of his being educated in Cambridge. Point of correction: it does not matter where one is educated. What matters is the positive values you possess. What services you are able to render to mankind and what you represent.

If Fani-Kayode is the personification of Cambridge, I won’t touch that school with a long pole. But I happen to know a few decent and credible Nigerians who graduated from that institution. They are miles apart from Fani-Kayode in morals.

Even Nigerian universities award certificates ‘having found you worthy in character and in learning’. I wonder if Cambridge considered the first quality in Fani-Kayode’s case.  

And now this: “When Oduduwa is established we have a place to keep people like him.” That reveals the real motive behind the latest brouhaha in the South West. We also know what they plan to do with Muslims. But it is clear that Fani-Kayode can only brag.

Some people are deceived so they think he is very bold. But it is sheer bravado. See how he cowardly omitted the word ‘Republic’ from his ‘Oduduwa’. Smart Alec. We know why Fani-Kayode is making so much noise, pretending to champion the Yoruba cause.

Anyway, the Yoruba people know that he lacks pedigree. He should stop deceiving himself. His eyes are on 2023. He wants to be governor. Any political party that wants to enter one-chance is free to pick him.

But do not say I did not warn you: Muslims in Osun state and Yorubaland in general will have nothing to do with a sworn Muslim-hater. Fani-Kayode has no political value. Will the same Northerners whom he has always disparaged vote for him? Fani-Kayode is an expired politician.

He should forget that ambition. He is simply wasting his time. I ask my friends and well-wishers to forgive me for reacting this time around. I promise to ignore Fani-Kayode’s tantrums in future.  

Ishaq Akintola (PhD)
Professor of Islamic Studies
8th February, 2020

Thursday, February 6, 2020


My attention has been drawn to the above statement which is being ascribed to me by a hostile and destructive section of the Nigerian media. I was constrained to check the false publication and I found it on and
Though I am a Muslim activist, I have always recognised the rights of all citizens. I believe in live and let live. Christians have the right to exist just as Muslims have the right to exist. It is most wicked to ascribe this kind of statement to me. Our organisation sends fraternal greetings to Christians during every festival. Although some extremist Muslims criticise us for recognising Christian festivals, we defend our position by saying that Islam recognises the existence of other religions. We condemn Boko Haram attacks on Christians each time it happens. How then can anybody publish such trash about me? I reject it in Allah's Mighty Name.
This publication is definitely the handiwork of those who feel threatened by my consistent advocacy for the assertion of Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims. They have been used to persecuting Muslims for so long and getting away with it. They are now feeling the heat because MURIC is challenging them and we are winning the struggle. In fact the current hostile attacks on me as a person shows that MURIC’s actions are yielding positive results. Their next obsession is to seek our destruction. Allah will not allow that to happen. That is why they are sending death threats. That is why they are embarking on blackmail, outright lies and coercion. That is why they have mobilised the laziest section of the media to incite people against us.  But all these will not deter us from the path of intellectual jihad.  
Some media houses are in the habit of deliberately distorting statements. I have ignored so many of such falsifications in the past but I am no longer going to tolerate their inciting publications. I hereby give a warning to the two media houses mentioned above to retract the publication within seven days or they will hear from my lawyer. Henceforth, any media house that publishes fake news or inciting statements against us will meet us in the court of law. Enough of reckless and irresponsible journalism. It is Islamophobia that motivates them but they will learn the hard way. They have forgotten that we are in a civilised world. Any media house that incites people against us will be taken to court. They will only make MURIC rich. Our lawyers have been idle for some time. Now they are going to get a piece of action.
Meanwhile, I must thank level-headed and objective members of the media for the good work they are doing. Nigeria needs peace to make progress and the press is a critical stakeholder in this regard. Those who publish falsehood are out to cause trouble. They are enemies of Nigeria. Most especially, they are the black sheep in the media. They tarnish the image of the noble profession.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020


5th February, 2020

There has been intense controversy over the faith of the man caught attempting to bomb a branch of Winners Chapel Church, Kaduna, on Sunday 2nd February, 2020. Although the police gave the suspect’s name as Nathaniel Samuel (a Christian name), a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and Rev. Joseph John Hayab, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have argued that the suspect was a Muslim by name Muhammed Sani Nasiru.         

In the developing story, an Islamic human rights organization, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has pitched its camp with the Kaduna State Police Command, insisting that the suspect was indeed a Christian by name Nathaniel Samuel. In a statement circulated by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 5th February, 2020, the human rights association reaffirmed its earlier position that the suspect is a Christian and that his name is actually Nathaniel Samuel.

MURIC said, “The police gave the suspect’s name as Nathaniel Samuel. But for reasons best known to him, Fani-Kayode said the man is not a Christian, that his name is Muhammed Nasiru. What was the basis for that denial? Is Fani-Kayode trying to protect Christianity from Christians or what? The chairman of CAN in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab had earlier denied that the suspect is a Christian. He claimed that the suspect’s name was Muhammed Sani Nasiru.

“Fani-Kayode called the incident ‘a setup and a conspiracy to discredit Christianity’. If we may ask, who is conspiring with who? Is he insinuating that the Kaduna Police Command is conspiring with the Muslims? That will be ridiculous.

“But new developments have proved beyond reasonable doubt that Fani-Kayode’s imagination is running wild. First, the suspect himself confessed in the presence of the press that, ‘My name is Nathaniel Samuel. In fact, I am supposed to be a pastor at the Living Faith Church because I attended the Word of Faith Bible Institute.’ Secondly, his social media account revealed that he is actually Nathaniel Samuel. His facebook account which was created on 9th May, 2011 described him as an event manager and a professional master of ceremony (MC).

“But the last nail in the coffin of the doubting Thomases was the testimony of the suspect’s father, Mr. Samuel Ezekiel. He confirmed that his son had never been a Muslim for one day. ‘No! Not even for a single day has he been a Muslim’ said the father.

“Well, well, well. The wind has blown. We have seen the ruff of the hen. CAN lied. Fani-Kayode lied. These were lies from the very pit of Jahannam. In saner climes, Both Rev. Hayab and Fani-Kayode would have apologized since yesterday. But not in Nigeria where anything goes and public figures have perfected the art of misinforming and misleading their followers so much that the more we look, the less we see.

“The fact that Nathaniel Samuel was not the first Christian to attempt the bombing of a church underlines our contention that there is a Christian version of Boko Haram. John Alaku Akpavan, was arrested while attempting to bomb Radio House Abuja on 5th June, 2011. John is definitely not a Muslim name. Lydia Joseph also attempted to bomb St. John Catholic Cathedral in Bauchi State on 12th September, 2011. Muslim women do not bear the name Lydia.

“Again, Emmanuel King was arrested while trying to bomb the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on 28th December, 2011. Though Emmanuel is obviously a Christian name, he tried to shift the crime on Muslims by disguising in Muslim attire. Augustine Effiong, an indigene of Akwa Ibom, was behind the bomb explosion which occurred in Bayero University, Kano (BUK) on 29th April, 2012. What of Samson Mangai who was arrested in Plateau state attempting to bomb a church?

“Madam Ruth also attempted to bomb the ECWA church, Kalaring Kaltingo, in Gombe State on 12th March, 2012. Jonathan Gyanet, a police officer was arrested while attempting to bomb ERCC church in Akwanga, Nasarawa State on 20th April, 2014. A Christian bomber was lynched while trying to escape after blowing up the COCIN Church of Jos on Sunday, 26th February, 2012. About eight Christians were also arrested in Bauchi after a failed attempt to bomb the COCIN church on Sunday, February 26, 2012.

“There is no need for Fani-Kayode and CAN to beat about the bush. Let us call a spade a spade. A criminal is a criminal. His faith does not matter. They are in all religions. We Muslims admit it when we see criminals among us. But CAN always wants to play this holier-than-thou game. Nigeria will be rid of high profile criminals the moment religious leaders decide to expose them. The rate of crime will also reduce drastically if anti-crime sermons come from both the pulpit and the minbar on a weekly basis.

“On a last note, we advise both Rev. Hayab and Fani-Kayode to stop under-estimating the intelligence of Nigerians. People are taking note of what you say and what you do. Chroniclers are piling up the record of events. The latest incident of a Christian attempting to bomb a church involving Nathaniel Samuel will certainly constitute an update for the chroniclers. Nigerians are watching. Nobody can fool them anymore. Let us desist from speaking on or defending what we know nothing about. A more dispassionate approach is better for peaceful coexistence in this country.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, February 3, 2020


4th February, 2020

The Islamic human rights organization, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has clarified its position vis-à-vis the Yoruba ethnic group. This is coming on the heels of the allegation made by a former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who called the leader of MURIC a traitor. According to the group, its membership cuts across all states of the federation and all ethnicities, as a result of which it must work for the interest of all without fear or favour and it cannot afford to lean towards any particular tribe.     

MURIC’s statement was circulated by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 4th February, 2020.
The statement reads:

“The impression is being bandied in certain quarters that we are anti-Yoruba simply because we objected to religious and ethnic bias in the new security initiative. There is an urgent need to clarify our position particularly because of our Yoruba members. We must not give a red carpet reception to a regional initiative which does not guarantee the safety of people from other regions. Our membership cuts across all states and ethnicities, as a result of which we must work for the interest of all without fear or favour. Therefore, we cannot afford to lean towards any particular tribe. Neither must we manifest hostility to any ethnic group, state or region. The whole country is our constituency.

“True to the teaching of our faith, we must not discriminate between the Igbo, Itsekiri, Yoruba, Hausa or Fulani. We must treat all equally. The Glorious Qur’an chapter 49 verse 13 lays emphasis on the need to treat all tribes and nationalities equally. In the same vein, the hadith cherishes the unity of mankind of all colours and races and forbids tribal jingoism. In fact, it is sinful for a Muslim to fight for his tribe alone at the expense of other ethnic groups.

“We have given this background for Nigerians, particularly the Yoruba people, to understand the position of MURIC on current issues. We must stand by the teachings of Islam no matter the situation because that is the divine truth and divine truth must eventually overwhelm social truth and human dispositions. MURIC may be a human rights association but it should be understood that it is not only a non-governmental organization (NGO), it is also a faith-based organization (FBO). It should therefore be guided by the tenets of the Islamic faith.  

“This is why the allegation of treachery leveled against the leadership of MURIC by the former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, is unnecessary, baseless and unfounded. The author of the allegation simply does not understand the basic tenets of Islam because he is not a Muslim and has not deemed it necessary to investigate.

“The loyalty of a Muslim is, first and foremost, to Allah, his Creator, not to any group or tribe. A Muslim does not fight blindly for his tribe. But that does not mean that he has worked against his tribe. It is natural for every human being to have sympathy for his people but he must suppress the emotion to swing in favour of his tribe. That sentiment must never at any time override the need to be fair to all other tribes and to the rest of humanity.

“Islam sees the whole of mankind as one. People in a community must be one and those in a city must be united. Cities within every state must form a synergy and this must transform into national unity when all states will come together as one. This is what we lack in Nigeria but it is what Islam teaches. It doesn’t stop there. Countries of the world must come together in unity. This is the essence of the oneness of Allah.

“We therefore call on Muslims in Yorubaland to appreciate the beauty and wisdom in the message of Islam and to stand firm with their faith. Allah will not ask us about our tribes on Yawm al-Qiyamah (the Day of Resurrection). Rather he will ask us about our relationship with the whole of mankind and how well we worshipped Him.

“Ours is a larger brotherhood in the oneness of Allah. Contrary to insinuations in some quarters, particularly that of Femi Fani-Kayode who called the leader of MURIC a slave of the Fulani, there is no slave-master relationship in Islam. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘You are all equal like the teeth of a comb. There is no difference between the Arab and the non-Arab except in the level of piety of each individual.’ That is why the Igbo Muslim, the Ijaw Muslim, the Yoruba Muslim and the Fulani Muslim stand shoulder to shoulder in prayer (Salat) and no special place is reserved for any Muslim worshipper.

“Our stand on the controversial security network in the South West should therefore be properly understood. No sane Nigerian will oppose initiatives aimed at boosting security but religious and ethnic tinges must be removed. There must also be transparency in the recruitment and management of such security outfit. We reiterate our stand with firm commitment. No retreat, no surrender, no U-turn.

“The death threats, blackmail, abuses and insults that have been hurled at us cannot shake us from our conviction because we know we are standing on the truth. Nobody can kill the truth. It will always resurrect. Not even media blackout will stop us from speaking the truth because social media has offered a better alternative. We encourage the organisers to go ahead with recruitment bearing our observations in mind.

“The recent hostility from a section of the Yoruba public towards MURIC and its leadership arose from its lack of understanding of the teachings of Islam. They expected MURIC to support anything introduced by the Yoruba because the leader of MURIC happens to be a Yoruba person. That was exactly what Femi Fani-Kayode referred to when he called MURIC’s director a ‘traitor’.    

“But on the contrary MURIC’s director cannot be a traitor because neither him nor any other Muslim leader in the region was carried along in the process leading to the emergence of a security outfit. Fani-Kayode felt disappointed that a Yoruba man refuses to accept a Yoruba initiative. But the fact is that the issue goes beyond that narrow perspective. A Muslim must not consider his family, tribe, or friends alone. He must be thinking of all the people in the country, nay, the whole of humanity resident in the Yoruba region.

“Allah commands in the Glorious Qur’an 4:135. ‘Oh you who believe, stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it is against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it is against a rich or poor man, because Allah can best protect all. Follow not your lusts lest you swerve (from the path of truth). And if you distort justice or refuse to do justice, verily indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.’  

“This is the rich heritage of Islam and it has informed our actions and comments on the issues at stake. No true Muslim in the region will refuse to abide by it because it is in our Qur’an. MURIC did not concoct it. What we expect non-Muslims in the region to do is to respect our faith just as we respect their own. Let us discuss the little differences we have on this security issue. Dialogue will work, but not this death threat, blackmail, intimidation and coercion. It will not work, not on MURIC at least.

“Our differences can be easily identified. One: prospective recruits into the new security initiative have been asked to collect birth certificates from churches and letters of reference from pastors. That is a no-go-area. We reject those two conditions totally, categorically and emphatically. It will not happen. No true Muslim in the region will join the security outfit with those myopic, obnoxious and parochial conditions. However, we will encourage Muslims to enroll in the system if you withdraw both prerequisites.

“Two: we alleged that the name of the security outfit was picked from the bible, of course that is very obvious. We have requested that you should pick a neutral name that will give nobody any complex or suspicion. If you change it you will get hundred percent support from Muslims in the region. If you insist on using the name, that will not stop Muslims from joining it but it will put the scheme under our radar. We will put you under our x-ray machine watching every action of yours from now on. We are not enemies and we believe that we must be able to reach across to one another on condition of mutual respect. This is our position, afterall you did not carry us along ab initio.  

“We assure all and sundry that we have good intention towards all tribes and faiths. Therefore, no tribe will enjoy any special sentimentalities or be given any preferential treatment by us. Neither shall we exhibit animosity towards any tribe. We are all equal, like the teeth of a comb.

“MURIC is not for any particular tribe. Our vision of Nigeria is that of an egalitarian community where people live together in peace and harmony, a nation in which no one is oppressed, where every citizen enjoys Allah-given fundamental human rights regardless of class, creed, or ethnicity. We are middle-roaders and socio-intellectual jihadists fighting corruption and extravagance, seeking freedom of worship for all, emancipation for the oppressed, justice for the persecuted, jobs for the jobless, food for the hungry, healing for the sick, clothing apparels for the naked and shelter for the homeless. All these are part of principles of Islamic liberation theology.

“As we round off, we call the attention of all men of good faith to our offer of dialogue to the South West security initiative. We reject all forms of intimidation, blackmail and death threat. They are inconsequential as far as we are concerned. We reject any form of religious bias in the security system being planned and insist on mulling ethnic prejudice and tribal particularism. We seek the understanding of people who thought our group should have supported a Yoruba security initiative simply because its leader is a Yoruba man. MURIC insists on pursuing the ideals of nationalism and humanity propagated in the tenets of Islam as opposed to the narrow confines of ethnic segregation and tribal jingoism.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)