Monday, January 24, 2022



25th January, 2022




An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has tackled the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, over the latter’s refusal to support Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who recently declared his intention to contest in the 2023 presidential election. MURIC argued that Tinubu deserves Afenifere’s support in view of his active role in the struggle for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria.



MURIC spoke through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 25th January, 2022.



“We are shocked to our marrows that the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has remained taciturn two weeks after Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared his intention to run for the post of president by 2023. Worse still, the leader of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo has allegedly ruled out the possibility of supporting Tinubu.  



“MURIC is bewildered by the attitude of Afenifere towards Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu because we can easily recall the role played by the latter in both the Campaign for Democracy (CD) and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which were the two major pro-democracy groups which boldly confronted the military. It is our belief that Tinubu deserves to reap from the gains of democracy having sacrificed so much for its realisation.



“As a member of the CD under Dr, Beko Ransome Kuti in those tough days, the director of MURIC can testify that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu visited No. 19, Imaria Street, Anthony Village, Lagos secretariat of Dr. Beko who was the CD chairman on several occasions to give both moral and financial support. It was a huge risk for him to have done this with the Abacha Gestapo on the trail of pro-democracy activists.



“The fact that Tinubu was also an active member of NADECO and its major financier lends more credence to both his eligibility and credibility. Why should Afenifere deny Tinubu today when he was in the trenches with NADECO when the going was rough?



“Afenifere is making a great mistake by distancing itself from Tinubu simply because the latter supported President Muhammadu Buhari. Afenifere is playing parochial politics. There is no scintilla of doubt that regional politics is parochial politics. It is myopic and unpatriotic. A visionary group will extend its horizon. That is what Tinubu has done and his nationalistic mien has earned him nationwide acceptance. You cannot remain locked up in your shell and expect the whole country to embrace you. Afenifere should wise up.



“Afenifere has one or two lessons to learn from the Igbo. Unlike Afenifere’s cold attitude towards the only Yoruba man who has shown interest in the presidency (at least publicly), the Igbo socio-cultural group, the Ohaneze, has pledged to support two Igbo men (Anyim Pius Anyim and Dave Umahi) who have expressed interest in the presidency with 10 billion naira. That is the spirit.



“We call on Afenifere to sharpen its political instinct. An adage says one good turn deserves another. The Yoruba socio-cultural group should neither reject its best candidate nor remain neutral at a time others are embracing their own.



“The strong suspicion in Muslim circles is that Afenifere is opposing Tinubu because he is a Muslim. This suspicion has a deep root in the age long anti-Muslim antics of Afenifere. We warn that Nigerian Muslims will give any Christian candidate sponsored by Afenifere a good thrashing at the polls come 2023. Democracy is a game of numbers.



“As we draw the curtain, MURIC reiterates its earlier commitment to the emergence of a Yoruba Muslim as the presidential candidate so long as a Yoruba candidate is picked by any political party. Any other region can pick a Christian. It is the turn of a Yoruba Muslim presidency after Obasanjo, Shonekan and Osinbajo. This for us is non-negotiable. No retreat, no surrender.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Wednesday, January 19, 2022



19th January, 2022




The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has sent a Save Our Soul (S. O. S.) message to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, regarding the forceful abduction and initiation of Muslims against their will by the Awo Opa Cult in Ikorodu. MURIC described the practice as criminal and illegal.



This was revealed in a statement issued by the organisation on Wednesday, 19th January, 2022. The statement was signed by the group’s leader, Professor Ishaq Akintola.


MURIC said:


Madam Bilkis Alaba Taiwo, a Muslim and member of the Ikorodu Muslim Community Association, was forcefully initiated into the Awo Opa Cult of Ikorodu in Lagos State on Thursday, 9th December, 2021 after dragging her into the shrine and after forcing her to swallow a concoction.



“We strongly denounce this criminal act. It is illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is capable of causing a breakdown of law and order.



“Investigations have revealed that many Muslims and Christians alike have been abducted in the same manner by the Awo Opa Cult of Ikorodu. One example is Mr. Majiyagbe, the secretary of Asalatu group of Ikorodu who was kidnapped some time ago and forcefully taken to Osugbo cult shrine.  



“MURIC realizes the essence of peaceful coexistence. But the religious intolerance and forceful conversion being carried out by the traditionalists is a threat to religious harmony. Traditionalists are in the habit of forcefully initiating a member of the family of any of their members who dies. Thus they parade themselves as people who are above the law.



“We hereby send a Save Our Soul (S. O. S.) message to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, to rise to the occasion before the current tension escalates and a full-blown conflict breaks out between traditionalists and Muslims in Ikorodu division of Lagos State.



“The obnoxious practice of abduction and forceful initiation of Muslims and Christians into traditional religion as being done by traditionalists in Ikorodu stands in contra-distinction to the spirit and letter of Section 38(i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In addition, Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms lays emphasis on respect for the religious feelings of all people of the world.



“Abduction of citizens by the Awo Opa cult restricts the movement of such citizens. It therefore breaches Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says inter alia, ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof…’



“By rough-handling their victims and by forcing concoctions down their throats, the cultists have further violated the provisions of Section 34 (b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution which affirms the right of every individual to respect for the dignity of his person and (b) prescribes that no person shall be held in slavery or servitude and (c) emphasizes that no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.



The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 also says, ‘Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.’



“The proliferation of criminality in Nigeria has never been due to any absence of laws proscribing criminal acts. Our Archile’s heel has always been the lack of will to use the legal instruments at the disposal of authorities to stop criminality. We therefore appeal to the Commissioner of Police to use his good office to stop the illegal practice of forceful abduction and initiation by the Awo Opa Cult of Ikorodu, Lagos State.



“We demand the investigation of circumstances surrounding the abduction, unlawful detention, traumatization and forceful initiation of Madam Bilkis Alaba Taiwo. Furthermore, we demand that those found to have been responsible for her trauma and forceful initiation be dealt with according to the laws of the land.



“It is on record that thousands of Muslims resident in Ikorodu staged a peaceful demonstration over the incident two weeks ago. Nobody can forecast their next line of action particularly if any Muslim is abducted again by the traditionalists. It is only the timely action of the Lagos State Commissioner of Police that can placate the Muslims in Ikorodu.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Sunday, January 16, 2022



17th January, 2022




The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has applauded Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, for signing the Ogun State Chieftaincy Bill into law. The new law curbs fetish practices in the installation and burial of Ogun kings thereby allowing each king to be installed and buried according to his religious dictate. The Islamic human rights group described the development as a booster for freedom of religion.



MURIC spoke on Monday 17th January, 2022 via its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola.


He said:


“The governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, signed the Ogun Chieftaincy Bill into law on Monday 10th January, 2022. The bill, which is titled ‘Obas, Chiefs, Council of Obas and Traditional Council Law of Ogun State Bill 2021’, is aimed at curbing fetish practices and putting an end to the monopoly of traditionalists who have hitherto controlled all installation and burial ceremonies of kings in the state.



“MURIC identifies with the aspirations of the brains behind this bill. It is a booster for freedom of religion and a vital shot in the arm for the dignity of homo sapien, for decency and for Allah-given fundamental human rights.



“It will stop overbearing traditionalists who have monopolised the installation and burial rites of Obas in the state with their fetish practices without respecting the personal religious beliefs of the Obas. Many Christians and Muslims who are eligible to vie for the obaship stool but who have been kept in abeyance by the fetish practices will now be able to compete freely with others from the ruling houses.



“It is our hope that this will be extended to the obnoxious and illegal practice of unilateral imposition of curfews on communities by Oro worshippers. Ogun lawmakers may have to take another look at this aspect as it may require another bill to stop the imposition of illegal curfew by Oro worshippers.



“MURIC also commends the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode, Oba Sikiru Adetona and Hon Akeem Balogun (Ogun Waterside State Constituency) for working in synergy to introduce the HB No 36/OG/2020- bill in the Ogun State House of Assembly. Equally worthy of appreciation are members of the state assembly who supported the bill.



“We call on other state assemblies in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti to syndicate the bill. Only thus can the houses of assembly in those states be described as truly democratic and in pursuit of freedom of thought, liberty and human dignity.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Friday, January 14, 2022



14th January, 2022




The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, declared his intention to contest for the post of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday, 10th January, 2022. Subsequently, an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has confirmed Tinubu as a candidate that fits into its long-term aspiration for a Yoruba Muslim president. The group described Tinubu’s declaration as a welcome development.



This was disclosed to journalists on Friday, 14th January, 2022 by the director and founder of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.


MURIC said :


“It is no longer news that the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has declared his intention to contest for the post of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This happened on Monday, 10th January, 2022.



“It will be recalled that our organisation has repeatedly demanded the emergence of a Yoruba Muslim candidate for the post of president of this country because of the prolonged religious persecution being faced by Muslims in the South West. We have been consistent in this demand. This is verifiable in at least four different press statements issued by us in the past.



“One, on 23rd February, 2021 under the title ‘Why has no Yoruba Muslim Occupied Aso Rock?’ (;;;



“Two, on 11th May, 2021, we wrote, ‘On Yoruba Muslim Presidential Candidate We Stand: MURIC Tells Obasanjo’ (;;;).



Three, on 7th June 2021, our statement was entitled ‘MURIC Clarifies Statement on Yoruba Muslim President’ (;;



“Four, on 25th October 2021, our press statement was captioned ‘On Yoruba Presidential Candidate We Stand’ (;;;



“Tinubu’s declaration for the highest post in the land is therefore a welcome development. Also in pursuit of this campaign, MURIC has spent the last four days from Monday 10th January, 2022 (when Tinubu made his declaration) to Thursday, 13th January consulting its state branches in the Yoruba states : Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. The outcome of our investigation reveals a resounding support for Tinubu’s declaration.



“All our state branches confirmed that Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu has been close enough to Yoruba Muslims. The Lagos chapter of MURIC also vouched that although Tinubu is not the type that will marginalise Nigerian Christians, at the same time, he will not estrange Yoruba Muslims or ignore their complaints when he becomes president of Nigeria.



“This is the time Yoruba Muslims need the support of their Muslim brethren all over the country to ensure that Tinubu emerges as the candidate of his party at the primaries. They should also vote for him massively during the presidential elections to ensure that he emerges as the president of Nigeria to be sworn in on 29th May, 2023.


“This is the only fair thing that can happen to Yoruba Muslims. Interestingly enough, nobody can claim that the advent of Tinubu as the president of Nigeria is unfair to Yoruba Christians because at least three Yoruba Christians have been both presidents and vice presidents of Nigeria.  



“Mathew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo was military head of state and president (1976 – 1979, 1999 – 2007). Earnest Shonekan was interim head of state (August 1993 – November 1993). Right now, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor of the Redeemed Church, has been vice president of Nigeria for the past seven years (from 2015 to date).



“But no single Yoruba Muslim has had the opportunity to taste power in the centre. It is therefore the turn of a Yoruba Muslim and the cap fits Ahmed Tinubu, a Muslim born into a strong Muslim family. Yoruba Muslims are proud of Tinubu as a politician of timber, caliber and caterpillar. He has the mandate of Yoruba Muslims.



“We sound out a caveat emptor to all political parties in the country. Any party that picks a Yoruba Christian as its presidential candidate is on its own. Yoruba Muslims and, indeed, Muslims North and South, will not vote for such a candidate.



“We do not wish to be misunderstood. We will therefore reiterate our position on Christian candidates in the coming presidential election. MURIC has no objection to Christian candidates emerging from any other geo-political zone. It means we are not saying that a Christian cannot be president of Nigeria. We are simply saying that such a Christian should not be a Yoruba man or woman.



“Yoruba Muslims have been marginalized for so long. Politically, Christians have monopolised ministerial positions, state commissionership, boards and agencies. Economically, civil service jobs are selectively offered. The education sector has been the Archiles heel of Yoruba Muslims and a concentration camp where Muslim children are forced to adopt Christian culture. A Christian president from the South West will therefore turn the headache of Yoruba Muslims into migraine.



“MURIC will not be partisan. We will give all political parties a level playing ground. Therefore, we will also support any other political party that picks a Muslim candidate from the South West. No political party should claim that it cannot find qualified Muslim politicians when the likes of Babatunde Fashola, Dr. Muiz Banire, Dr. Abdul Lateef Abdul Hakeem, Senator Fatai Buhari, Rauf Aregbesola, etc, are making waves on the Nigerian political architecture.



“Our target is the liberation of Yoruba Muslims from the shackles of political marginalisation, socio-economic repression and educational enslavement. While MURIC will never exhibit enmity, derision or contempt towards Christians and people of other faiths, it has zero tolerance for Muslim haters. Aluta continua : no retreat, no surrender until victoria acerta.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)