Thursday, October 22, 2015


22nd October, 2015,

The Federal Government (FG) allegedly declared yesterday that work could not continue on Lagos-Ibadan expressway due to financial constraint.    

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) finds this statement alarming and disappointing. Is FG aware of the strategic importance of this road? This is the only road plied by millions of Nigerians going in and out of Lagos. As the commercial hub of the nation, any disconnect between Lagos and the rest of Nigeria tantamounts to economic strangulation of the whole country.

How do we transport goods to and fro Apapa Port if the only access road is rendered unmotorable? Trailers who ferry these goods rely solely on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Unfortunately the road is in such a dilapidated state that even the trailers fall by the roadside on a daily basis. Yet there is no alternative since there is no reliable rail system yet.

The two companies (Julius Berger and the Chinese Construction Company) which started the work have done very well so far. All the parts of the road which they have refurbished are now very smooth and wide. But the areas yet to be covered are full of bumps and they are now getting worse by the day, particularly since the companies stopped working on them a few months ago.

The bumps are an eyesore and driving there is hazardous. Vehicles break down frequently on the rough surfaces while accidents are also common there as drivers either run into ditches or collide with those behind them as they attempt to avoid the bad portions of the road.

The bad spots have also been causing long vehicular queues thus turning a journey that should not last longer than one hour to one that lasts five or six hours. This is not good enough for our economy because Nigerians can do a lot for their country during those hours of waste and pain.

Worse still, Nigeria has lost so many of its crème de la crème to this road in the last seven years that only those who want to be counting dead bodies in their hundreds and on a daily basis will deprive Lagos-Ibadan expressway the necessary fund for refurbishing at this point in time. We cannot afford the retention of a culture of waste. Furthermore, almost all the spots where resurfacing was stopped by the two companies when the last regime refused to pay them now dangle the sword of Damocles over the heads of road users.

We are not oblivious of the fact that past regimes are to blame for the negligence. The immediate past regime of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan must have been responsible for the failure to pay the construction companies. But today the buck stops at President Muhammadu Buhari’s table. Government is a continuum. Buhari has inherited both the assets and the liabilities. Over to you, Mr. President. 

FG’s only excuse for suspending work on the road is shortage of funds. We can understand this particularly in these days of dwindling resources. But there must be a way out. FG can rearrange its priorities or enter into an agreement with local or foreign partners who have the required funds. The toll gates may come back as a way of recovering funds and paying back the partners. But work must resume on Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, October 18, 2015


19th October, 2015,

About 3,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) whose camp is in Kuka Reta town are currently in serious danger. Kuka Reta Town is about fifteen (15) kilometers from Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State. Reliable sources confirm that the camp has run out of food supply, drinkable water and drugs.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is constrained to raise the alarm on the frightening situation in Kuka Reta IDP camp in view of the dangers inherent in the exposure of IDPs to such inhuman conditions. Apart from hunger, starvation, malnutrition and the likelihood of deaths, diseases such as cholera and diarrhea are likely to spread within the camp.

MURIC is confounded by the enormity of the danger and hardship to which IDPs in Kuka Reta camp are exposed. We condemn this culpable negligence on the part of the authorities. We therefore call on the Yobe State Government, the state’s arm of the National Emergency Agency (NEMA) and all aids groups in the state to address the issue with military dispatch.

In addition, we appeal to international donors and the world community at large to come to the aid of the traumatized people of North East Nigeria as it now appears the Nigerian government alone cannot bring succour to the more than 1.5 million people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency.

In conclusion, we reiterate the need for the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish the North East Development Commission (NEDEC) to cushion the effects of economic degradation of the region after four years of brutal attacks, deliberate destruction of infrastructure and the attendant cessation of socio-economic life.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


7th October, 2015,



An editor of Premium Times, Ibanga Isine, was arrested yesterday, Tuesday 6th October, 2015, by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) in the premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja, while covering the court’s proceedings. He was set free late last night.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns this arrest. It was unnecessary, uncalled for and a sheer flexing of muscles by men of the SSS.

MURIC reminds the SSS that journalists have duties to perform in the same way that security operatives have works to do. Neither should stand in the other’s way because their jobs complement each other. The SSS and other security agencies should therefore see the press as friends and not as enemies. The general public will not appreciate the diligence and sacrifice of security agents unless the media gives it the necessary publicity.

The Federal Government should therefore call the SSS to order. This single incident is capable of damaging the relationship between the press and the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. We warn that the freedom of the press must be jealously ensured if the democratic profile of this administration is to remain credible both within and outside Nigeria.   

Harassing members of the First Estate of the Realm is a sure way of digging the grave for any sitting government.We therefore urge the SSS to check the excesses of their overzealous staff. Every SSS operative should be re-engineered to respect civil rights and observe decorum while on duty.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, October 4, 2015


30th September, 2015  


Nigeria will mark her 55th independence anniversay tomorrow 1st October, 2015 in the midst of socio-economic, political and security challenges. Although the military has succeeded in taking the battle to the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, kidnapping and armed robbery remain pains in the neck in the South. Electricity is gradually stabilising and signs of change are beginning to appear in the oil sector.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) feliciates with the Federal Government as the nation marks its 55th independence. We lay emphasis on the need to fully integrate various ethnic and religious groups in the country in order to enhance lasting peace and speedy economic growth. Every group must be given a sense of belonging so that all can consciously contribute its quota to the development of the country.

In this respect, we call for the reinstatement of the Arabic Anjami which was removed from the naira by the last administration of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan after subterranean pressure from some unpatriotic religious leaders. Nigerian Muslims regard the removal as an act of hostility taken to spite Muslims. We consider it as a step taken to satisfy a section of Christians who had been secretly agitating for the removal of Arabic graphics from some official emblems used in Nigeria. Above all, we see the removal of Arabic from the naira as absolutely unnecessary and an action taken by Jonathan to spite Nigerian Muslims.

We hereby state without any fear of contradiction that the use of Arabic as part of the graphics on our emblems does not in any way portray the imposition of Islam or its landmarks on Nigerians. This is so because Arabic stands parri pasu with English graphics wherever the former is used.

English graphics represent Westo-Christian civilisation while Arabic graphics symbolise Islamic culture. Those who insist that Arabic must be removed from our emblems nurse an agenda of domination by elimination. They are repressive elements who are not ready to coexist with Muslims as free Muslims. Rather, they are only prepared to coexist with Muslims as brain-washed, enslaved, subjugated and half-baked Muslims.

  MURIC affirms clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Nigeria belongs to us all. Christians and Muslims must learn to coexist peacefully on equal footing.

We must learn to respect the culture, freedom and fundamental human rights of each other. Arabic or Anjami and English must be allowed on our naira notes and other emblems because they both signify the cultures of Christians and Muslims respectively.

Whoever insists on the removal of Arabic Anjami from the naira and from other emblems must accept the equal removal of English graphics from the same materials.

After all English is the language of the Bible as we know it in Nigeria and it is on our naira and all other emblems. In the same vein, Arabic is the language of the islamic scripture, the Glorious Qur'an and any opposition to its use as symbol in a multi-religious society like Nigeria implies deep hatred for Muslims, intolerance of people of other religions and lack of readiness to integrate muslims in the system.

  A large number of people in the North rely on the Anjami to read and write. English language means nothing to them. Arabic is used by the Shuwa tribe in Nigeria and removing it from the naira constitute a breach on their Allah-given fundamental human right. The removal of Arabic from the naira by the Jonathan administration caused a lot of havoc because it marginalised this section of the population from economic activities in the country.

Apart from this, Nigeria's West African neighbours use the Anjami to transact business with their Nigerian partners. This has been rendered futile since the arbitrary decision to remove Anjami from the naira was taken thereby affecting our balance of trade.   Jonathan was grossly unjust by removing Arabic from the naira. It was one of his worst moves.

As the first form of education in the whole of West Africa and as the first written and read language in Nigeria, Arabic deserves better treatment.

Arabic language was used in Nigeria as early as the 11th century. English language did not arrive until the advent of the British colonialists in the 19th century. That is a wide marging of 800 years. Is there justice in removing Arabic where English is retained?  How can Jonathan twist history with such reckless abandon? We demand justice. We demand parity. Here is an example of such issues over which Muslims nurse grudges. We are articulating it today because we believe in dialogue. It is our hope that the new Buhari regime will not allow extremists to hijack it before addressing it.  

In the true spirit of independence, Nigerian Muslims hereby demand the reinstatement of Arabic on all naira denominations from which it has been removed. In the interest of peace, we warn that Arabic Anjami should no longer be removed from any other naira denomination in futute. By the way, apart from massaging the ego of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and satisfying the narrow interest of Muslim-haters, what has Nigeria gained from removing Arabic from the naira? We appeal to the Federal Government to redress this wrong.

For meaningful progress to take place, post-independence Nigeria needs leaders who are blind to ethnic and religious prejudices. Religion is supposed to unite people and inspire love. It becomes a curse when leaders misuse it for personal gains. Any good Christian leader can take Nigeria to El Dorado so long as he does not marginalise Muslims. Ditto for any good  Muslim leader who treats Christians as equal partners in the Nigerian project.

In conclusion, we appeal to the Federal Government to quickly revisit the issue of the removal of Arabic Anjami from the naira. We reaffirm the readiness of Nigerian Muslims to coexist peacefully and on equal terms with their Christian neighbours. We urge Nigerian Christians to embrace their Muslim neighbours with open arms and vice versa. Unless we eschew subjectivity, Christians and Muslims will not be able to join hands with the Federal Government in its fight against corruption. Both the church and the mosque have vital roles to play in cleansing this country because 99% of Nigerian politicians and leaders belong to one religion or another. We must change them kneeling down or catch them while prostrating.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


26th September, 2015  


The stampede in Muna on the way to the stoning spots (jamaraat) which occurred on Salah day Thursday 24th September, 2015 claimed about 717 lives among whom about 30 are suspected to be Nigerians.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply saddened by the death of highly qualified Nigerians like Professor Tijani Elmiskin and Bilkisu Yusuf in the stampede. We are devastated and we are in a mourning mood with the bereaved families.  

In particular, we commiserate with President Muhammadu Buhari, Sultan Muhammad Sa'd Abubakar III, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) as well as all Nigerian Muslims at this trying moment.

We remind all true believers that Allah allows tragedies in times like these in order to test their faith. "Or do you think Allah will not try you simply because you are believers? Remember that we tested those before you..." (Qur'an 19:1-3).

As part of the team which officiated during this year's pilgrimage, we affirm that officials of the National Hajj Commission performed their duties as expected of them. The airlift from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia was hitchfree and the two tragedies which occurred in Saudi this year can only be blamed on situations beyond NAHCON's control. The current chairman of NAHCON, Alhaji Abdullahi Mukhtar, was seen on several occasions getting personally involved in operations and keeping vigil at night to ensure a smooth hajj exercise. He stayed among the pilgrims and officials, rode in the same buses with them and shunned all offers for VIP treatment.

As eyewitnesses of the gory stampede incident, we testify that it was caused by security breakdown on the part of the Saudi authorities.

We left Muzdalifah for Muna around 6 am on that fateful day. We branched in the NAHCON camp to drop our personal effects and headed straight to the jamaraat which were less than three kilometers away.  
To our surprise, the road was blocked by Egyptian pilgrims who had cast their own stones and were returning to their camp.
 Instead of taking the route designated for returning pilgrims, they stubbornly took the route meant for those who were going. The road became narrow and movement became difficult. The atmosphere became charged and even breathing and vissibility were affected. The few policemen who were around desperately threw water at us to save us from collapsing. It became glaring to us at that moment that a monumental stampede was just around the corner.

The Saudi authorities therefore lied when they tried to put the blame squarely on African pilgrims. The stampede would not have occurred at all if Saudi security agents had disallowed pilgrims returning from the jamaraat from taking the same route on their way back.

The practice over the years have always been to take a detour but this was not enforced on Thursday. The fact that the road to the same jamaraat became very free and safe yesterday and this morning when Saudi security agents strictly enforced the rules by disallowing returning pilgrims to use the same route as those going proves that our hypothesis is correct.

This is criminal negligence and the Saudi authorities must be held accountable. We urge the Nigerian government to support NAHCON's stand on this. Nigeria must demand compensation from the Saudis for families of the berieved. We should also task the Saudis to involve the world Muslim Ummah in the planning and implementation of the annual hajj exercise in view of the emerging scenario of complacency on the part of the Saudi authorities.  

In conclusion, MURIC commends NAHCON for insisting that Nigeria should be part of any investigation of the tragedy. We laud the professionalism of the Nigerian officials in the team. We pray that Allah gives the berieved families the fortitude to bear the losses.  

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)