Sunday, November 30, 2014


30th November, 2014

Huge blasts rocked Kano Central Mosque on Friday 28th November, 2014. The blasts were immediately followed by sporadic shooting. The casualty figure, according to some reports, is as high as 200 while the number of those wounded is equally high.      

We are devastated by the high toll, the callousness and the barbarism. We pray that Allah forgives those who died in this monumental tragedy and reserves lofty places for them in Aljannah Firdaus. We also pray for quick recovery for the injured.

Our condolences go to Governor Kwankwaso and the Emir of Kano, His Eminence, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Even as we mourn, we call on Nigerians to take note of the lessons inherent in the gruesome attack.

First and foremost, those behind the killings and destructions make no distinction between Christians and Muslims. We have a common enemy and all the accusations and counter-accusations since the beginning of the insurgency have been a waste of both energy and time.

Secondly, those who thought they could ignite a religious war between Christians and Muslims have miscalculated. It has become glaring that the blood-sucking monsters who are responsible for all these killings are religion-blind. Both the leaders and followers of both faiths should therefore close ranks and sink all differences to the chagrin of the enemies of peace.

Thirdly, all places of worship need protection. The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) therefore condemns the concentration of the security agencies on churches at the expense of mosques. Such a strategy is not only defeatist but also lacks clear vision.

Fourthly, it is becoming clearer everyday that instead of becoming weak, Boko Haram is getting stronger five years into insurgency. Yet instead of facing this rebellion headlong, President Jonathan has procrastinated for too long and shown more interest in extending his rule.

Finally, if it is true that a family that prays together stays together, MURIC suggests joint prayer sessions by Christian and Muslim groups all over the country. Our destinies are tied together. Let us pray together to survive together and to keep the country together. We also call for greater vigilance particularly in places where people assemble. There is also an urgent need for all Christian clergymen and Islamic scholars to be more security conscious.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


25th November, 2014

The Presidency yesterday responded to a press statement issued by our organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in which certain issues were raised, especially the supplanting of Arabic Ajami with the Jewish symbol. According to the Presidency, the symbol on the new N100 note is not the Star of David but a spark security feature.

MURIC is satisfied with the Presidency’s explanation regarding the symbol on the new N100 note. But the Presidency has said nothing about the rationale behind the removal of the Arabic Ajami on the old note. The spark security feature (what we initially called Jewish symbol) is peripheral in this case, what is tangential is the Arabic Ajami that was removed.

The average Northerner cannot read any other script except in Arabic Ajami and anyone who wants to communicate with him effectively must use the Ajami, not even writings in Hausa language can help in this matter and the Presidency should know this. Millions of Northerners have therefore been marginalized by removing the Arabic Ajami from the new N100 note.

The removal of Arabic Ajami is being interpreted as an attempt to discourage the learning and use of Arabic language which is the language of the Glorious Qur’an. It is a sensitive religious matter. Nobody can do this in Nigeria and expect the Muslims to organize a carnival for him.

We complained in 2005 when Arabic Ajami was removed from new naira notes during the tenure of Dr. Soludo as Governor of the Central Bank. The fact that the same thing is repeated has raised concern among Muslims. It means that there is a conspiracy to gradually and tactically eliminate Arabic Ajami. The Presidency has failed to address this.

Instead of demanding an apology, the Presidency should have appreciated MURIC’s enquiries. Our statement was issued without malice and we did not issue any threat. The Presidency’s reaction is an admission of the removal of Arabic from the new note. Also, our attention would not have been drawn to the symbol if Arabic Ajami had not been removed from the new note. We demanded an explanation and one has been offered. If indeed we are tax-payers, if indeed Nigeria is a democracy, what offence have we committed by asking the President we voted into power to explain certain things? We are satisfied in one area but there are still some green areas.

We still ask the Presidency to tell Nigerians why Arabic Ajami was removed. We stand by our claim concerning the gross numerical imbalance between Christian and Muslim delegates in the last National Conference (303 Christians to 189 Muslims).

We are not satisfied with the Presidency’s response on this issue. One group has been favoured above another and Mr. President gave Muslims a promise which he did not fulfill, that is the issue, not what was discussed at the National Conference. This is fundamental. In any case, even the Presidency is aware that there is still opposition to some of the matters ‘concluded’ at the National Conference.

If the Presidency still thinks the issue of numerical imbalance was not important, why did a Muslim delegation visit him in Aso Rock to complain about it? What was the President’s response to them? Didn’t he promise to review the situation? Didn’t he promise to add more Muslim delegates? Did Mr. President keep his promise? The records are there.

The Presidency in his response was also silent on the allegation that no Muslim Minister was appointed for about four years until a formal complaint was lodged by Muslims. It is our humble submission that Mr. President has responded where he finds it convenient to do so.

MURIC appreciates the lightening-speed reaction to its enquiries and wishes that the Presidency sheds light on issues like this whenever they are raised by tax-payers.

The issue of Israeli security experts in Aso Rock, whether true or false, would have been laid to rest if the Presidency had been reacting to publications on the matter which began a long time ago. MURIC is not the first to raise the issue. It has been in the press for a long time.

As part of civil society, our role is to bring the people’s observations to the attention of government, thereby contributing to efforts towards ensuring good governance. We promote dialogue, condemn terrorism and douse tension. Those questions asked by MURIC came from Muslims all over the country, particularly at the grassroots level. They were not questions from elites among the Muslims, neither did they come from Muslims in the corridor of power.

For instance, the symbol which was initially taken to be the Star of David had gone viral on internet, Blackberry messages, Whatshap and other social media for about a fortnight particularly among Muslim groups before MURIC spoke up. The handlers of the Presidency’s social media department should have called the Presidency’s attention to it and a simple statement from Aso Rock would have saved the day. MURIC’s role in this regard should be seen as complementary, not hostile or confrontational.

Finally, MURIC assures the Presidency of its highest regard for the office of the President. The issue of the symbol on the new N100 note is settled but the removal of Arabic Ajami still remains.

We also affirm that Nigerian Muslims are not anti-Jonathan as millions of Muslims voted for President Jonathan in the last election and they are still members of the ruling party as well as other political parties. The issues raised in our statement are non-political and the earlier the Presidency addresses them or makes amends the better. Nigeria of today does not have the luxury of time.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, November 23, 2014


23rd November, 2014

The Federal Government (FG) on November 12, 2014 unveiled the new design for the N100 commemorative centenary banknote which will be officially issued on December 19.

However, the office of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has been inundated with calls for action on the Jewish symbol on the new one hundred naira note slated for flag-off in December. Nigerian Muslims are complaining that the Arabic writing in Hausa language (the Ajami script) that read ‘Naira Dari’ (i.e. one hundred naira) on the N100 note has been removed and replaced with the Jewish symbol, the Star of David.

As a faith-based human rights organization which believes in the dialogue option, MURIC is duty bound to articulate the demands of Nigerian Muslims particularly on matters which have to do with imbalance in governments’ (Federal or state) treatment of the adherents of the different religions.

MURIC recalls that Arabic inscriptions which have always been on Nigerian currency since independence were unceremoniously removed in 2005 from N5, N10, N20 and N50 denominations. They remained on N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations.

Nigerian Muslims regard the latest action, namely, the supplanting of Arabic with Jewish symbol from the new N100 as a continuation of the campaign of elimination by substitution against Arabic language and, by implication, against Nigerian Muslims. It is well known that a large section of the Nigerian population use the Arabic Ajami and removing it from the new note will deprive millions of users of the Arabic Ajami of the ability to recognize, identify and use the new currency.

Furthermore, putting the Jewish symbol on the new N100 falls short of international standard as currencies worldwide are designed to suit each nation’s culture and history. Where does the Jewish symbol fit in? Which Nigerian community speaks the Jewish language? The insertion of the Jewish symbol is therefore clannish and parochial. It is tainted with undisguised religious fanaticism.

There is nothing wrong for our president to like Israel as a nation but it is another thing entirely to openly and brazenly promote Zionism at the highest office in this country when we are still struggling with the last vestiges of colonialism. Nigerian Muslims are becoming increasingly suspicious and very uncomfortable with the actions and inactions of President Jonathan.

Firstly, in spite of the preponderance of Muslims in the South West, he appointed no single Muslim as minister in the whole region for almost four years.

Secondly, he marginalized Muslims in the deliberations which took place in the National Conference by appointing a meager 189 Muslims as against 303 Christians. What kind of leader pursues such gross imbalance in his policies by giving a higher number of delegates to a minority group? How can deliberations of such a conference receive popular acceptance?

Thirdly, Mr. President saturated the security system in Aso Rock with Israeli security operatives, a nation well known for its animosity towards Muslims. The supplanting of Arabic language with Jewish symbol is the fourth among Jonathan’s anti-Muslim policies.

The above are daring, divisive, reckless and highly provocative steps. They get Nigerians wondering where President Jonathan is taking this country. But if once is happenstance, if twice is a coincidence and if the third time is enemy action, what do we call the fourth time? We are sick and tired of our president’s hatred for us. He openly confronts Muslims and goads us to challenge him.

But we will not be provoked. Neither shall we be intimidated by executive maladministration. As apostles of dialogue and advocates of peaceful coexistence, as tax-payers, voters and citizens of this country, we hereby ask President Jonathan to explain the Jewish symbol on Nigeria’s money.

We also demand to know why the presidency could not employ security experts from neutral countries like Britain or France instead of Israel which is a sworn enemy of Muslims. Mr. President may also deem it fit to tell us if there is no correlation between the Israeli security experts in Aso Rock, the Israeli caught with Nigeria’s N9.3m arms money in South Africa and the Jewish symbol on the new N100 note.

Mr. President sir, are you not gradually selling Nigeria to Israel? And are you sure this will not attract the wrath of Israel’s enemies to our dear country? Can this also be partly responsible for the viciousness of the Boko Haram phenomenon?

MURIC appeals to Muslims nationwide to await President Jonathan’s response to the above questions and to remain calm and law abiding. Islam teaches tolerance (Qur’an 3:134) and obedience to constituted authority (Qur’an 4:59).

We must also eschew violence as stipulated in Qur’an 2:190. Instead of using illegal and unconstitutional means, we charge Muslims to explore every opportunity offered by the Nigerian constitution and the Nigerian democratic process to protest against Jonathan’s oppression of Nigerian Muslims. Tyrants can be taught lessons of their lives in times of elections.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Thursday, November 20, 2014


20th November, 2014

A large number of State Security Service and police personnel took over the National Assembly today. The security men prevented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal from entering the complex. However, the Speakers’ loyalists managed to smuggle him into the chamber after a protracted scuffle.

We are greatly disappointed by this ugly development. It is shameful, ridiculous and laughable. We are shocked that the Nigerian Police and the SSS can treat the nation’s lawmakers like ordinary students or unionists. It is a most disgraceful conduct.

Whoever gave the orders for the desecration of the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives is not fit to rule a local government, talk less of a country. In the same vein, whoever gave the orders for police invasion of the National Assembly and the subsequent blockade of the people’s representatives is not fit to wear the uniform of any of the security agencies in Nigeria. It is the mother of all sacriledge.

How on earth can the Nigeria Police fire teargas at lawmakers whom they are expected to protect? Why should lawmakers have to scale the fence of the National Assembly to access the chamber?

What happened to the principle of separation of powers? It is high time President Jonathan realized that respect begets respect. Mr. President will attract greater respect and a robust goodwill if he respects other institutions in the system. It is a great disappointment to see the president desecrating the same institution he swore to defend. Actions like the invasion of the National Assembly and attempting to disable a sitting Speaker is bound to attract resentment for Aso Rock.

Is it really worth all this hullabaloo? Must Nigeria be thrown into chaos just because Aso Rock wants to disenfranchise the whole North East via a pretentious emergency rule?
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) wishes to remind President Jonathan that historians are taking notes. Mr. President must therefore decide how he wishes to be remembered: as the president who sustained democracy through justice and equity or as one who destroyed it through acts of impunity.

MURIC rejects the excuse given by the Nigerian Police that it acted based on intelligence report that thugs were about to disrupt proceedings at the National Assembly. Does the Speaker look like a thug? Can any policeman worth his uniform fail to recognize him? The police should save their story for the marines.

This invasion is sacriledge. It is the beginning of the end of law and order.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


19th November, 2014

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) recently called for the screening of vigilantes who are supplementing efforts of the Nigerian military in the fight against Boko Haram insurgents.

This is a shocking development because the civilian forces comprising of hunters, vigilantes and Civilian-JTF members had begun to bring hope to the nation with their reported victories against the enemy. Armed civilian forces of Rabih Azzubair Ibn Fadlallah have been reported to have liberated Maiha and Mubi in Adamawa State. They allegedly captured the ‘Emir’ installed by Boko Haram.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) received news about the invitation for screening with a pinch of salt, particularly with the alleged arrest of two key vigilante leaders, Sarkin Baka Adamawa, who led Ibn Fadlallah vigilante civilian forces to liberate territories captured by Boko Haram insurgents.

Ironically, Boko Haram fighters reportedly burned the house of the same Sarkin Baka in retaliation for wreaking havoc on their men. Is this the way to compensate a hero and great patriot? The second person allegedly arrested is the founder of Civilian JTF, Col Sagir Musa.

We are at a loss regarding what might have informed the call for screening and these two arrests at this crucial time. Are we fighting the people or we are fighting insurgents? It is not only interesting but disturbing to note that whereas the local vigilantes were able to liberate Mubi and Maiha from the stranglehold of the insurgents, the so called screening gave Boko Haram the opportunity to capture Gombi, Hong and advance on Song en route Yola, the state capital.

While we appreciate the fact that some kind of discipline must be established in the operations of the vigilantes, we affirm that the period of Boko Haram advancement is not the best time to embark upon such an assignment. The enemy must be confronted and halted before we start talking about discipline.

Is it not an irony that the IGP holds the hands of those who confront terrorists after soldiers reportedly flee? Does this action not raise eyebrows? Does it not raise more questions than answers? Why can’t we first deal with the wolf and return later to ask the hen relevant questions? It is our considered opinion that unless there is more to this than meets the eyes, the IGP is putting the cart before the horse.

This has ignited lack of confidence in the tactics being employed by the Nigerian authorities, leading to calls from certain quarters for civilians in the North East to defend themselves. It is a very dangerous development.

Equally curious is the initial seizure of all sorts of weapons from indigenes of the troubled North East by soldiers (bows, arrows, cutlasses and knives) thus rendering them completely helpless during Boko Haram raids and the hundreds of soldiers who escorted former Governor Modu Sheriff while returning to Borno a few days ago.  

MURIC calls for the immediate release of Sarkin Baka Adamawa and Colonel Saghir and the creation of a conducive atmosphere for the civilian JTF and vigilante groups to continue playing their complementary role in the war against insurgency. More importantly, the Nigerian military must urgently find ways of boosting the morale of our gallant soldiers and supply them with state of the art weaponry.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, November 17, 2014


17th November, 2014

The speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly was allegedly impeached today by only seven People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House out of 26. The seven minority members were allegedly led into the hallowed House by about 200 policemen who reportedly disallowed the remaining 19 members who belonged to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from entering the House to participate in the deliberations of the day.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this disgraceful act of impunity. It is a blatant rape on democracy, an open misuse of the police and an undisguised invitation to chaos. It is also an unbridled breach of due process. It contravenes the principle of justice and equity, violates natural justice and tramples upon the rule of law. It is therefore unacceptable.

We recall a similar scenario during the attempted impeachment of the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly by only 5 PDP members. The recognition given by President Jonathan to Governor Jang of Plateau State as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum despite the fact that Jang scored 16 votes while his rival, Governor Amaechi of Rivers State, scored 19, also comes to mind.

These undemocratic, autocratic and Bohemian decisions have marked out President Jonathan and the ruling party as unrepentant champions of injustice and brandishers of conscienceless power who are ever ready to subjugate powerless conscience.

MURIC is shocked by the overzealousness of the seven minority members to set aside universally recognized rules on quorum. It is a shameful disregard for decorum and a total disrespect of decent political culture. It exposes politicians in the ruling party as charlatans and Machiavellians.

Posterity will hold President Jonathan, his ruling party and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) responsible if Nigeria’s nascent democracy fails. The misuse of policemen by the ruling party and the unprofessional conduct of the IGP further cement the argument for the establishment of state police. It has become crystal clear that those in power today have the noun ‘oppression’ and the verb ‘to oppress’.

MURIC does not need a crystal ball to predict that the 2015 general elections cannot be free and fair as long as it is conducted by the same President Jonathan who gave credit to 16 over 19 and 7 over 19.

It is paradoxical that our president has just returned from Burkina Fasso where he played Big Brother Africa after a military coup in that West African country. We are constrained to ask, “Where is leadership by example?” Does charity begin at home in Nigeria at all? What lessons are we imparting to the Nigerian youth and students who engage in unionism?

MURIC invites the international community to note these ugly developments on the Nigerian political scene. We charge the lawmakers who were shut out of the Ekiti State House of Assembly to use every constitutional means available to resist the tyrants in our midst.  

We call on Nigerians generally to ignore affiliations on the basis of political parties but to defend democracy on the basis of principle, truth and morality.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, November 10, 2014


11th November, 2014

47 school children were reported killed yesterday while 79 were wounded when a suicide bomber struck in a secondary school in Portiskum, Yobe State. The attack has been widely blamed on the Boko Haram insurgents.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this cowardly, senseless and barbaric attack on innocent school children. Our hearts go to the families of the dead and wounded and we pray that Almighty Allah will give them succour in these trying moments.

There is no doubt in our mind that the Federal Government has not only grown senile but also become bemused on the issue of tackling terrorism. It is our considered opinion that the lack-luster approach of President Jonathan to security matters led to the deterioration of the situation in the North East.

Or is it not embarrassing enough that the president and his team remained cynical for more than a week after the abduction of more than 200 school girls? 211 days after the disappearance of the girls, FG remains clueless. To cap the edifice, the man at the helm of affairs is warming up today to declare for a second term in office, to beat his chest over his phantom achievements, to jubilate, to sing and dance over the dead and mutilated bodies of another 47 school children, mowed down in their prime.

In the face of this Kilimanjaro-height mountain of evidence of gross ineptitude and crass nonchalance, MURIC is constrained to ask the captain of the Nigerian ship of state, “Mr. President, when are you going to resign?”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Saturday, November 8, 2014


The Chairman,                              9th November, 2014
National Human Rights Commission,

Dear Sir,

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) brings to your notice for proper investigation and action the brutal killing of 22 year old Muhammad Konto Abba-Sulum in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria, on Wednesday, 5th November, 2014.

The deceased, who was driving, was stopped at Bolori Layout, Maiduguri, by two uniformed soldiers, James Isuwa and Umoh who got into his vehicle and ordered him to drive ahead. He was forced to drive to a certain point where they shot and killed him. The soldiers also took the car away.

Unfortunately for the killer soldiers they were sighted by vigilantes the next morning when they took the car to a filling station along Baga Road. They were accosted by the civilian vigilantes because the car had been reported missing the previous day. They were subsequently handed over to the military in Maiduguri.

The deceased, Muhammad Konto Abba-Sulum, who was born on 8th July, 1992, graduated in October 2014 (B. Sc. Physics) at the University of Maiduguri. He was preparing to join the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) when the lawless soldiers cut him down in his prime.

The killing of this promising young man is a crime against humanity. Yet it is just one out of so many unreported killings and wanton violations of Allah-given and fundamental human rights of civilians in North East Nigeria since the beginning of the Boko Haram insurgency. MURIC demands full investigation into this gruesome murder. We request NHRC to wade into the matter with a view to:

1.  Ensuring that the case is not swept under the carpet in the spirit of camaraderie;
2.  That the culprits are brought to justice
3.  That adequate and full compensation be paid to the bereaved parents and
4.  That the full investigation and castigation serves as a lesson to other reckless security agents in the country.

Thank you for your selfless service to humanity.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


7th November, 2014


Millions of Muslim voters were disallowed from registering for the last general elections held in April 2011 courtesy a grand conspiracy between some Christian fanatics among the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).    

Going by INEC’s current body language coupled with Oritsejafor’s recent outburst, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has every reason to suspect foul play in the ongoing distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) and capturing of faces of new eligible voters.

It will be recalled that CAN president, Oritsejafor, yesterday raised a false alarm that INEC planned to disenfranchise Nigerian Christians. He made the allegation without explaining how it could be possible for INEC to do that. On the contrary, it was Christians working as registration officers during the 2011 election who persecuted and profiled Muslims and disallowed them from registering.

Muslims who complained were told by those Christian officers that they should go to Kano or Sokoto if they wanted to dress like Muslims. Since this treatment was common in the whole South West during the 2011 election and since the remarks made by the officials were similar, it follows that CAN cannot wash its hands off such marginalization of Muslims.

We are therefore not a little amused by Oritsejafor’s false alarm that INEC planned to disenfranchise Christians. We are tempted to ask Oritsejafor, “Is there any means by which INEC officials can identify Christians merely by seeing them on queues?” “Is it not Muslims who are so easily identifiable?” “What has Oritsejafor got to gain by playing such pranks?”

“Is it part of godliness to oppress and still be the first to throw accusations”? “Does it not amount to deceit and dirty politics?” “Should such pranks come from the house of God?” Were Christians disenfranchised like Muslims in 2011?

We challenge Oritsejafor to show evidence of INEC’s ploy to disenfranchise Christians otherwise Nigerians must conclude that the CAN president is accusing others to cover up his sinister plan against Muslims.

MURIC is constrained to remind Nigerians of the bitter pill forced down the throat of South West Muslims during the 2011 general elections when millions were not allowed to register and were consequently disenfranchised.

Millions of Muslim women who wore hijab were asked to remove them before their faces could be captured by the camera. Those who refused to do so were turned back and forced to return to their houses. MURIC office was flooded with complaints during this period but we appealed to the victims to exercise patience.

Apart from the women, thousands of Muslim males who wore caps and tajia suffered the same fate. Even the Imams were not speared. For wearing turbans, they were turned away from registration centers and threatened with arrest and prosecution.

MURIC resisted this ugly trend and our complaints were widely reported by the media during the 2011 election. We have every reason to believe that the same gameplan is about to replay itself during the present exercise.

We therefore call on INEC to educate and WARN its permanent and ad hoc staff not to attempt, under any guise whatsoever, to stop Muslims from carrying out their civic responsibilities this time around.

South West Muslims have been pushed to the wall. They will not leave registration centers until they have been attended to. Neither will they obey anyone who asks them to remove their hijabs, caps, tajias and turbans.

Nigeria belongs to us all, Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists. Any attempt to repeat the stigmatization and political marginalisation of Muslims or subject them to mockery at registration centers will be firmly resisted. Even without going violent, Muslims will not allow enemies of peace to deprive them of their Allah-given fundamental human rights.

Finally and for the avoidance of any doubt, we affirm that no section of the Nigerian constitution disallows Muslim women from using hijab or their men from using caps, tajia or turban. Therefore any INEC official who attempts to disallow Muslims who use the aforementioned will not only be breaching the law but will also be inviting anarchy.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Friday, November 7, 2014


7th November, 2014

The distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) exercise began nationwide sometime ago. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been conducting the exercise with hiccups noticed here and there.  

While we commend INEC for taking giant strides in the conduct of elections in a country as complex as Nigeria, we hasten to warn that the electoral body must quickly correct errors in its calculations and submissions. In particular, INEC leadership must develop an eagle eye capable of detecting bad eggs who may be responsible for errors of commission.

We know that even INEC can err since erring is human. But such mistakes must be limited to errors of omission. INEC must expose insiders who collaborate with election riggers no matter whose ox is gored. Adequate punishment capable of acting as deterrent must also be meted out to such black sheep.

In this regard, INEC must quickly correct the numerical inexactitude noted in the number of registered voters in Lagos State. Whereas INEC declared 6,247 million voters for Lagos in 2011, the electoral body has declared 4.8 million only for the 2015 exercise. This leaves a huge shortfall of 1.4 million. In Ogun State for example, hundreds of names were reported missing, including that of Mr. Allen-Taylor, a lawmaker from the state.

The failure of INEC to start the distribution exercise in Lagos on Friday as previously announced by INEC is equally disturbing. The state government had declared Friday workfree because of INEC’s announcement so as to enable civil servants and other workers in the state to partake in the exercise.

The economic loss as a result of the holiday must have been immense and INEC must be held responsible for this. The electoral body must tighten its belt as it should not create the impression that any particular state is being targeted for under-registration.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) finds these anomalies alarming. We charge INEC to correct the irregularities in order to allay voters’ fears. Rigging does not take place on the day of election per se. It starts from registration of voters.

INEC has built a good reputation which must not be allowed to be soiled by overambitious politicians and greedy individuals. The electoral body must therefore take such steps that will assure state governments, political parties and the electorate generally of its good intentions. This must be done in the next few days in order to avoid doubts and suspicions which may lead to protests and violence before, during and after elections.

Finally, MURIC calls on INEC to quickly address the issues raised. The 1.4 million names missing in the Lagos axis is unacceptable. Something must also be done about the names missing on the voters’ register in other states. Similarly, INEC must compensate Lagosians for the distribution exercise which could not take off in Lagos on Friday by extending the exercise by at least 24 hours.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)