Tuesday, October 31, 2017


1st November, 2017

The head of Nigerian Customs, Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd) was quoted two days ago as saying that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is 50% controlled by the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) corroborates Hameed Ali’s statement. It is frank, insightful and arcane.

We are alarmed that the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) has allowed powerful moles to grow in the ruling party under their watchful eyes. The result is the inability of the present government to fulfill some of its campaign promises made before the 2015 general elections.

A glaring example is the power sector where a former minister confessed recently that PDP sold the DISCOs to its members. This explains why the efforts of Babatunde Fashola, the current Minister of Power, has not yielded the desired result. Fashola had promised to turn the power sector around in six months but sabotage cannot be ruled out with the DISCOs in the hands of the opposition.

There must be more to this than meets the eyes when the DISCOs’ story is juxtaposed with the ‘coup d’etat’ which occurred in the National Assembly (NASS) at the very beginning of the Buhari administration. It was this ‘coup d’etat’ or political betrayal which facilitated the rebellious and uncooperative stance of the current NASS culminating in its ability to weaken the Federal Government (FG), retard legislative progress and constitute itself into a major headache for the anti-corruption fight.

MURIC is deeply concerned that PDP moles have been allowed to hang around for too long. They are doing a lot of havoc, all in an attempt to portray Buhari as slow and incompetent. In particular, they have been largely responsible for depriving Nigerians of the dividends of democracy as promised by the APC. If the former ruling party regards this as politics, we see it as lack of patriotism coupled with acute poverty of chivalry, modesty and magnanimity.

Nigerians must open their eyes to see through the opposition’s wicked tricks. Why must we be made to suffer in darkness and heat just because they want to stage a comeback in 2019? We warn Nigerians not to allow people who do not believe that stealing is corruption to control their affairs again. Nigerians should not allow hardened kleptomaniacs to stage a comeback.



Among the wicked tricks being used by these enemies of the Nigerian people is using the humongous money stolen while still in power to launch massive anti-Buhari propaganda, including hiring crowds to attend public programmes, paying sympathizer activists in strategic places on social media platforms to rubbish the achievements of the Buhari regime and to deceive gullible Nigerians into believing that the Federal Government (FG) is doing nothing.  

We charge President Muhammadu Buhari not to wait for the iron to get hot before striking but to make the iron hot by striking. He must weed out the moles in his government because their lukewarm attitude, sabotage and ill-will are affecting Nigerians at the grassroots level. It is giving the wrong impression (and a negative one for that matter) about government. For instance, government officials who have publicly renounced Mr. President have no business being where they are. They should be shoved outside.    


Before we round up, we must commend the recent sack of key public officials like Abdul Rasheed Maina, Babachir Lawal and Ayo Oke who were indicted after investigations. This singular action has injected a large dose of confidence in Buhari’s anti-graft war. We therefore reiterate and reinforce our full confidence in the person of President Muhammadu Buhari. He remains a great asset for Nigeria and a treasure of immense measure come 2019.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


25th October, 2017

The West African Health Examination Board (WAHEB) which was established in 1925 has scheduled its next examination for Friday 3rd November, 2017. WAHEB is the regulatory body in charge of Schools of Health Technology and Hygiene in Nigeria. The body organises qualifying exams for schools of health technology in the country. Its time-table shows that one of its papers will start 12-30 pm and end by 3 pm on 3rd November, 2017.    

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) strongly condemns WAHEB’s examination time table because it clashes with the period of Muslim Friday prayer (Jum’ah). It is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It is equally provocative, callous and capable of causing the breakdown of law and order.

Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
provides:  “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance’’

There is no gainsaying the fact that WAHEB’s time table has violated both the letter and spirit of the above constitutional provision by scheduling a paper for 12 pm to 3 pm on Friday, 3rd November, thereby preventing Muslim candidates from the ‘practice and observance’ of Jum’ah prayer. This act constitutes a serious threat to peace, law and order.

The tradition of the board had been to either schedule only one paper on Fridays or schedule two papers from 9 am - 11:30 am and from 2:30 pm to 5 pm so as to allow Muslims to attend Friday prayer between 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm. This had been the practice of the immediate past registrar, Mr. E. B. Asoto. But the current registrar, Mrs. Gladys Nchelem Ihunda has for the past three years allegedly re-scheduled the body’s examinations between 12.30 pm and 3 pm on Fridays thereby targeting Muslim candidates for religious persecution, spiritual deprivation and psychological trauma.

Section 42 of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria also provides:
(1) A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person:-
(a) be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government (or its agencies-addition ours), to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religion or political opinions are not made subject.

In the same vein, Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (1991) which provides, “a public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any act prejudicial to the rights of any person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy’’

MURIC, therefore, calls on the Minister of Education to, among other things, order the immediate review of WAHEB’s time table, investigate the circumstances surrounding the manipulation of the board’s time table in such a way that it runs counter to the provisions of the law and puts the nation to peril and find out the extent of the responsibility and culpability of Mrs. Gladys Nchelem Ihunda in this matter taking cognizance of Section 13 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act (1991).

Peace will continue to elude Nigeria until those who ignite conflagrations are held accountable. Therefore no attempt should be made by the Ministry of Education to sweep this matter under the carpet. Nigerian examination bodies are known for targeting Muslim candidates for persecution.

For example, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was embroiled in a similar religious oppression scandal when it scheduled one of its examinations to take place during Jum’ah period about a year ago while a WAEC official allegedly removed the hijab of a female Muslim candidate (Miss Khadijat Anisere). We demanded apology but WAEC refused to apologise to date.

Let it be on record, therefore, that Nigerian examination bodies are deliberately provoking Muslim candidates. But in general, what it means is that Christians in positions of authority use such positions to prevent Muslims from enjoying their Allah-given fundamental human rights. The patience and maturity being exercised by Muslims should not be mistaken for cowardice. On the contrary, examination bodies and governments should note that everything has a limit. Those who take actions capable of provoking Muslims must be held responsible for the consequences of any future breakdown of law and order.

That is why it is necessary for the Minister of Education to act with dispatch on this issue. The advent of social media has made matters like this highly sensitive and volatile as this story about WAHEB has gone viral among Muslims throughout the country. Others will be deterred from wicked, petty and fanatical obsession if a scapegoat can be made of the current registrar, Mrs. Gladys Nchelem Ihunda. Nigeria does not need officials who cannot rise above primordial sentiments. We must learn to do the right things at the right times.

MURIC reminds Nigerians of the anatomy of terrorism and religious violence. Those who blame Muslims for religious violence have one or two lessons to learn here. It is repeated persecution like the one being suffered by Nigerian Muslims which often leads to violent reactions and terrorist acts. Violence and terrorism are mere smoke and there can never be fire without smoke. However, the real fire which causes the smoke called terrorism is persecution and denial. The Aristotelian theory of causality posits that actions beget reactions. All along, Nigerians have been addressing the symptom, leaving the real disease to spread like wild fire.    

Religious crisis is rampant in Nigeria because ours is a society where Muslims are frequently forced to make a choice between their career and their religion. Unfortunately the Federal Government (FG) ignores the cries of Muslim victims. Intimidation of Muslims by their non-Muslim bosses is the order of the day. Here are the five evils Chamberlain spoke about: brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. MURIC says enough is enough. Set the minaret free. Let the Muslims go.

This ugly development serves as a good example for the need for FG to declare Friday a work-free day. Christians are not suffering the way Muslims are suffering in this country. Can WAHEB or any other examination body schedule any of its examinations on a Sunday? Has any Christian been prevented from going to church on Sunday the way Muslims are being prevented from going to the mosque on Friday? It is not possible because Sunday is a work-free day.  The solution therefore is in the hands of FG. No Christian boss will be able to persecute Muslims on Fridays once it is declared work-free. FG must therefore do the needful. Muslims are enslaved in present-day Nigeria. Give us Friday. Break the shackle of repression around Muslims’ wrists and ankles. The proposed restructuring exercise must address this once and for all.

We warn against the scheduling of meetings, political rallies, conventions, elections, programmes and activities on Fridays, at least until FG declares Friday free. In the education sector in particular, we advise schools, colleges and institutions of higher learning to desist from holding lectures, tests, examinations, debates, seminars, workshops and symposia between 12 noon and 3 pm on Friday. It has been discovered that such meetings are deliberately fixed for Fridays either to prevent Muslims from attending Jum’ah or to deny Muslims the right of participating in crucial issues while vital decisions are taken in their absence if they leave for the mosque.

Our members in all states of the federation have been instructed to closely monitor those who flout these constitutional provisions and report same to us. While we remain faithful to our principle of non-violence, we warn that justice is the soul of peace. Those who deny one can never have the other.  

As we round up, we implore Nigerian Muslims to remain calm and law-abiding as we hope that the Minister of Education will do the needful before the November 3 examination is taken. Even after that date, Muslims should desist from taking the law into their hands. MURIC has the capacity to use the instrumentality of the law to stop illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional examinations and also take good care of the irresponsible and unpatriotic officials behind them, using the same legal channel.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Friday, October 13, 2017


13th October, 2017

The Nigerian Army commenced a military exercise tagged ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in the South West few days ago. A major feature of the exercise is its medical outreach which provides locals the opportunity to access medical care pro bono.        

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is greatly excited by this initiative. It is profound, patriotic and chivalrous.

Apart from the brilliant idea of providing medical care for the local population, Operation Crocodile Smile is capable of reducing the rate of crime in the South West. It should be noted that the South East, which is notorious for its high crime rate reportedly became calm few weeks after the commencement of Operation Python Dance by the Nigerian Army.

These military exercises are necessary once in a while in view of the proliferation of criminal activities in the country. Armed robbery, kidnapping, rape, etc remain on high profile. But the general state of insecurity became pronounced with the threat of secession made by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The seizure of several weapons actually raised the alert level to red.

This year alone, 661 pump action guns were confiscated by the Nigerian customs on January 30, 2017. 440 guns illegally imported from Turkey were discovered by customs on May 24. Another 1,100 were recovered on September 11 while 470 pump action guns were seized on September 21. More powerful weapons like machine guns and RPGs were also seized at the border.  

It is normal for these seizures to give the authorities and the discerning public cause for serious concern and the volatile situation altogether constituted the raison d’etre for military exercises like Operations Python Dance and Crocodile Smile.

MURIC commends the Nigerian Army for this proactive measure. Arrogant force will not bow until counter-force surfaces. We also laud the Federal government (FG) for deeming it fit to approve the military exercises. It is well-known that a weak government cannot protect innocent citizens. Equally credit-worthy is the Nigerian chief of customs, Ahmed Ali. The brilliant performance of the customs department during his tenure can be traced to his high level of discipline. The importers of those dangerous weapons could have had their way but for his tough stance.

We are however deeply perturbed by the irrational outcry of a few disgruntled elements who have condemned the exercises. The most noteworthy is the latest call on Yorubas to boycott the medical outreach in Operation Crocodile Smile. We reject this demand. It is not only infantile but also irresponsible. This request is sadistic and anti-people in view of the situation of medical facilities in the country as well as the poverty level among the populace. Anyone who asks the poor masses to boycott a medical outreach where they can have access to free medicare is out of touch with reality. It is only criminals and anarchists who will object to a military exercise designed to keep kidnappers and armed robbers at bay.

Finally, we charge Nigerians in general and the Yoruba in particular, to give full cooperation to soldiers engaged in the exercise. It is for our safety. The citizenry must be security conscious. Kidnapping is alien to Nigerian culture and everything necessary must be done to bring this menace to a halt. We urge the Nigerian Army to sustain the exercise until criminals find something more productive to do. We suggest a quarterly repeat until irredentists and criminals are forced out of business.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, October 8, 2017


9th October, 2017

The Federal Government appears set for restructuring particularly with the setting up of a committee on this crucial matter by the ruling party, the All Peoples’ Congress (APC). Restructuring became popular after the South East, South South and a section of the South West complained about marginalization. Several politicians from both the opposition and the ruling party have since spoken in support of this clamour.

However, we of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) dissociate ourselves from all agitations for secession. We condemn all irredentist movements rearing their ugly heads in Southern Nigeria, particularly the agitation for the creation of Oduduwa Republic. We affirm clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally, that Muslim leaders in Yorubaland were not carried along before those demands were tabled. Nonetheless, just as some ethnic groups have complained of disaffections, we contend that Nigerian Muslims also nurse serious grudges bordering on marginalization against the Nigerian state.

We must start from the lanes of history because today was born from the wombs of yesterday. Islam has been in Nigeria since the 11th century and the British met Islam on ground when they arrived in the 19th century (800 years later). The British did not deem it fit to observe the rules of natural justice when they colonized the country as all Islamic landmarks were eliminated and supplanted with a wholly Christian system.

This injustice may have been at the root of frequent religious crisis in Nigeria because successive governments after independence refused to listen to the agitations of Muslims for a review of the status quo. The issues being raised by Muslims are listed in the following paragraphs so that the authorities may address them when restructuring eventually begins.

One: Nigerians enjoy a total of eight (8) public holidays in a year. These are Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy. Five (5) of the eight holidays belong to Christians (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, 1st January, i.e, New Year Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday). Only three (3) holidays belong to Muslims, viz, Id al-Kabir, Id al-Fitr and Maulud an-Nabiyy.

Restructuring should give Muslims 1st Muharram. This will bring the total number of Muslim holidays to four while Christian holidays remain five.

Two: Christian marriages contracted inside churches or registries are held sacrosanct everywhere in Nigeria whereas Muslim marriages (nikah) are not recognized for any official purpose. Muslim couples find themselves in a cul de sac each time they presented their Islamic marriage certificates for official purposes. It is paradoxical that in a democracy, one marriage conducted by a religious group is acceptable while the other is not. What kind of constitution is Nigeria using?

Islamic marriages should be recognized in all official circles where Christian marriages are recognized. The Nigerian Marriage Act (1990) should therefore be revisited.

Three: Nigeria has a two-day weekend, viz, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was a half day during the colonial era and Sunday was the only full day at the weekend. However, Saturday was made a full day to favour the Seventh Day Adventists, a Christian denomination during the regime of General Yakubu Gowon, a Christian military ruler. It is very clear, therefore, that the two weekend days recognized in Nigeria belong to Christians while Muslims have none since Friday, the Muslim day of worship, remains a working day.

It is pertinent to note that Friday was a work-free day until the British brought Christianity and stopped Muslims from enjoying their Allah-given fundamental human right. The relief we are seeking through restructuring is that Friday should be declared free to assume parity with the Christians’ Sunday. While we are not seeking anarchy, we are confident that the Federal Government (FG) has all the paraphernalia of administration to work out the modalities.

Four: Immigration officials engage in regular stereotyping of Muslims who apply for international passports. They intimidate Muslims particularly at the point of taking pictures. Muslim males are ordered to remove their caps; Imams are coerced into removing their turbans; bearded Muslims are compelled to shave or trim their beards; hijab-wearing Muslim women are made to remove their hijabs or ordered to draw their hijab backwards to reveal their ears. The same scenario plays itself out in driving licence, national identity card offices and during registration for elections.

In the process, thousands of Muslims have been denied international passports, driving licences and  national identity cards while millions have been disenfranchised during elections. The authorities must find a way of stopping the persecution and profiling of Muslims.

Five: Uniformed groups in Nigeria, including the army, police, uniformed voluntary groups, nurses, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), students of primary and secondary schools, etc, use uniforms designed by the Christian colonialists. These uniforms should have been reviewed after independence because they only suit the Christians. Some of them constitute breaches to Islamic dress code and offend the sensibility of Muslims who are compelled to wear the uniforms regardless of their inner feeling of resentment.

In view of the fact that Western countries like Britain, Canada and the United States have designed uniforms with hijab for their female Muslim police, soldiers, students, etc, Nigeria’s restructuring authorities should borrow a leaf from those countries.

Six: There is no single Shari’ah court in South Western Nigeria where Muslims constitute the majority. This is contrary to what obtained in Yorubaland before the advent of the British. There were Shariah courts in Ede, Iwo, Ikirun, Ibadan, etc. Yoruba Muslims are now compelled to take their civil matters like inheritance, marriage, etc to Christo-Western courts. This is preposterous and unacceptable.

We demand the establishment of Shariah courts in all South Western states including Edo State where there is a significant percentage of Muslims.

We call the attention of FG and the restructuring committee of the APC to the above six reliefs. Muslims are in bondage in this country and we believe that restructuring should emancipate people in captivity. APC promised change. This change can only be meaningful to us if it breaks the shackles around our necks. We have begged enough for the restoration of our Allah-given and fundamental human rights. We are tired of begging. Restructuring is about reapportioning the dividends of democracy such that it goes round and it is not restricted to one section.

Colonial administration was grossly unfair to Muslims. Nigeria was Christianised by Britain and Muslims bore the brunt. We suffered forceful conversion, denial of rightful employment and even worse forms of persecution. But what is most disappointing is the policy of exclusion adopted by post-independence governments.

On a final note, we demand full integration and full recognition as bona fide citizens of Nigeria, not second or third class citizens. We are the aggrieved party. The British most brutally and most unjustly took all we had from us, giving us nothing in return and offering no relief. It has continued to give us a feeling of rejection, marginalization, denial of the dividends of democracy and lack of a sense of belonging. The time for redress is now and our six-point relief is here for all to digest.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)