Thursday, August 30, 2018
30th August, 2018
MURIC CALLS FOR PARDON FOR THE 54 SOLDIERS
The Federal Government (FG) on Tuesday 28th August, 2018 inaugurated the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy. The Committee is to assist President Muhammadu Buhari in the discharge of his constitutional responsibility of granting state pardon to deserving prisoners and ex-convicts.
Reacting to this development, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called the attention of the committee to the plight of the 54 soldiers who are currently serving a ten year jail term for alleged mutiny.
The director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, who signed the statement, contended that the 54 soldiers should be seen as heroes, patriots and whistle-blowers instead of criminals and mutineers. He therefore appealed to the committee to recommend them for presidential pardon.
Akintola said, “These 54 soldiers merely refused to confront Boko Haram with poor weapons. They did not actually refuse to fight. They asked for better weapons. Their insistence drew attention to the massive corruption at the battle front in the days of ex-President Jonathan. It enabled the current administration to uncover the $2.1 billion arms fraud.
“But today these brave patriots are languishing in jail. They were first sentenced to death by a military court martial. The death sentence was later commuted to ten years in jail by the Chief of Army Staff. We believe that this is one miscarriage of justice too many. Why should those defending our dear country against insurgents suffer such ignominy? Why should our whistle-blowers end up in jail? The 54 soldiers made no attempt at shooting their superior officers. They only demanded better weapons.
“We believe that setting them free will reinforce the patriotic zeal in hundreds of soldiers who are currently fighting insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country. These 54 soldiers are from different religious and ethnic backgrounds brought together by fate and a burning passion to free their country from the claws of Boko Haram. We have never met or seen them physically in real life except on television and on the pages of newspapers. On our part, we are simply moved by the desire to support the war against corruption and to ensure that there is no miscarriage of justice.
“We have issued many statements in our call for pardon for the 54 soldiers even before the setting up of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy. We mentioned their case in our Maolud message of 12th December, 2016 entitled ‘Set Innocent Captives Free’; our press statement of 9th March, 2017 entitled ‘MURIC Calls For Special Pardon For the 54 Soldiers’; another statement dated 30th June, 2017 under the caption ‘Set the 54 Soldiers Free’; our Maolud message of 30th November 2017 entitled ‘Buhari Should Pardon the 54 Soldiers’; our press release of 18th May, 2017 , our Id al-Fitr message of 14th June, 2018 and our most recent Salah message issued last week on 22nd August, 2018.
“In conclusion, we strongly appeal to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy to recommend the 54 soldiers for presidential pardon on compassionate ground. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, ‘Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to their fellow homo sapien’”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, August 27, 2018
28th August, 2018
INEC LAGOS SHOULD WARN ITS BAD EGGS
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has again reacted to the response given by the Lagos office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in which it claimed that no single Muslim woman was disallowed from registering for the 2019 election. According to public relations officer of INEC in Lagos, Mr. Femi Akinbiyi, the allegation was not true.
In a statement signed by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC said, “There has been telephone communication between INEC officials and MURIC leadership since our last statement and we had the impression that INEC understood our fears. We even sent out a message on social media appealing to Muslims that INEC was taking corrective measures. We had rested the case but today’s statement has become necessary in order to redeem our image since INEC came out to deny that some Muslim women were victimized. Nothing was said about whether or not our complaint was investigated.
“Media reports even quoted Lagos INEC as saying MURIC was lying and that no Muslim woman was asked to remove her hijab or draw it back to reveal her ears. That is not good enough. Lying is not in our character. This is a matter of honour. Those who reported these cases to us are not ghosts. We know that INEC might not have called us liars directly and that the media probably interpreted INEC’s denial that way. But the press is right because denying outrightly that no Muslim woman was victimized is tantamount to saying we lied.
“Asking the public to disregard MURIC’s statement is as good as calling us rabble-rousers. It is a provocative and belligerent stance. INEC has failed to appreciate what we did. We do not mind being called names anyway, so long as we achieve the main objective of stopping the victimization of Muslims in the ongoing continuous voters’ registration (CVR) exercise in the long run.
“The least we expect the electoral body to do is to tell Nigerians that it will investigate the report. We also expect INEC to issue a warning to its adhoc staff. Grandstanding cannot help in this case. Neither should INEC engage whistle-blowers and complainants in a media war. This will arouse negative sentiment. We simply reported cases of denial of Allah-given fundamental human right to register for the election. Corrective measures should have been taken instead of engaging us in media tete-a-tete. There are records of such positive interventions which have benefited all stakeholders.
“MURIC’s complaints are always based on credible information from Muslims out there in the field. Apart from social media platforms operated by our state branches, MURIC headquarters alone has 16 different whatshap groups, facebook and other social media platforms where members file in their reports. These reports are collated and screened by the various administrators in charge and forwarded to MURIC’s directorate for action. Our claims are easily verifiable.
“MURIC as a critical stakeholder will not attack INEC. We are aware that the electoral body parades a lot of credible and well-trained professionals and seasoned administrators and we respect these noble people. But that does not mean there are no black sheep in the system. There is a Judas in every twelve.
“Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs) often serve as an early warning system to assist government or its parastatals in knowing when things are going wrong.
No organization is perfect and that includes INEC but to turn informers and whistle-blowers into liars or enemies is not the wisest thing to do, particularly when it involves organizations with wide networks. The best INEC should do is to conduct discreet investigation and issue a general warning to its staff.
“As a responsible organization, MURIC manages information by releasing only vital ones and by timing its revelations. For example, we are aware that all is not well between INEC’s Muslim staff in Ebonyi state and its administrative secretary who has allegedly been threatening Muslim staff under him and victimizing them. Has the reported fanatical mien of this official been brought to the attention of INEC leadership at national level?
“Is it true that this official, Mr. Charles Ezema Nnanyelugo has been referring to President Muhammadu Buhari as the head of the Fulani’s animal zoo of nepotism and Islamisation agenda for Nigeria? Is it also true that this allegation against the administrative officer is already being investigated by security agencies? Can this same official be expected to carry out his duty as an electoral umpire without bias? What guarantee can INEC give us that Mr. Charles, who has demonstrated tons of prejudice against the person of President Buhari, will not compromise his oath of office in the 2019 election by favouring Buhari’s opponents?
“Now that INEC has refused to warn its erring staff in Lagos, we have no other choice than to get evidence for the electoral body. Muslims who go for registration and similar exercises are advised to find means of recording incidents of victimization. This should not be too difficult because we are in a world of information technology. This will be extended to all public offices where Muslims go for services like hospitals, ministries, parastatals and licencing offices. Enough is enough. Muslims will use civilized and non-violent methods to liberate themselves if those in charge will not do what is expected of them.
“As we round up, we assure INEC that our mission is to contribute positively to its success. We are aware of some of the challenges facing the electoral body. Our efforts at bringing certain inadequacies to the attention of INEC officials should not be misconstrued as exposing the parastatal’s weaknesses. Such complaints should be taken in good faith, investigated and necessary action taken if found to be credible. INEC is doing its best as far as we know but overzealous staffers need to be cautioned. Public confidence in INEC may be grossly eroded if the electoral body refuses to warn its bad eggs”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, August 26, 2018
27th August, 2018
2019: INTENSIFY VOTERS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
As Nigeria prepares for the 2019 general elections, an Islamic human rights organization has called upon the citizens to redefine their stand in the national political architecture. This was contained in a statement distributed to the press on Monday, 27th August, 2018 by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
According to the organization, it is time to put the voters’ enlightenment campaign in high gear. The director of MURIC, Ishaq Akintola, who signed the statement said, “The jackals are gathering. Political demagogues are using rhetoric to deceive Nigerians. Most of the messages being passed across suffer from poverty of ideals and desertification of principles. Apart from anti-corruption, all other messages lack ideological identity. Nigerians are being hoodwinked. How are they going to pick the right candidates from 91 political parties? What is the difference between party ‘A’ and party ‘B’?
“One of the calamities which have struck the Nigerian political arena is the unbridled proliferation of parties. It is a crazy rat race and politicians have resorted to the use of deceit. Those who brought Nigeria to its knees and turned it to a beggar nation are claiming to be its saviours. They want to use that claim as an excuse to come back. Those who robbed Nigeria silly are claiming to be our messiahs.
“Nigerians must open their eyes very wide. Those who deserve our votes are those that we see clearly that they are fighting corruption. These are the politicians who can bring back the glory of this country. Vote for candidates who are likely to liberate you, your children and the future generation of Nigerians from the shackles of backwardness, poverty and bad governance.
“Say capital ‘NO’ to thieves and their godfathers. Reject rogues, shady characters, opportunists, impostors, religious extremists, hypocrites and parasites even if they are Muslims. Vote for politicians who promote austere living. Shun those who are extravagant and flambouyant. Avoid those who amass wealth. Ignore those who hobnob with past rulers who were known to be corrupt”.
MURIC has a message for the youths. “Nigerian youths should remember that the streets of Europe and America where trams, trolleys and double-decker buses run on precision would not have been there today if the likes of Winston Churchill and George Washington had been corrupt or if European and American citizens had compromised principle to vote for stomach infrastructure. They made sacrifices. They did not rush for immediate results. They did not sell their voters’ cards. The result is the comfort they enjoy today.
“In like manner, we charge Nigerians to reject politicians who propose stomach infrastructure. They are political parasites bent on defrauding the hoi polloi. Avoid stinkingly rich politicians whose source of wealth cannot be ascertained. Ritual killing is in their character and they will not hesitate to sell Nigeria to their herbalists and marabouts. Beware of legislators who are in the habit of delaying the budget, demanding bribe before confirming appointees and retarding Nigeria’s progress generally. Their eyes are on super-jumbo salaries from 2019-2023 and the resultant impoverisation of the proletariat for another four years.
“2019 is going to be a straight fight between corrupt politicians on one side and anti-corruption politicians on the other. Those who benefited from corruption in the past but who have been feeling the pinch since the Buhari administration took over and closed the corruption tap from which free money was flowing will be on the side of corrupt politicians. Patriotic citizens and anti-corruption activists who want Nigeria to rise again will be on the side of anti-corruption politicians. The side you belong will determine the kind of person you are.
To be or not to be, that is the question: whether we will support corrupt but powerful and criminal-minded politicians so that this country can remain perpetually in the grips of political challatans whose major selling point is the ability to enrich themselves while dropping crumbs from the table for their court-jesters and boot-lickers. Meanwhile our roads, airports, electricity, education, health, etc will continue to suffer criminal neglect and the citizens wallow in abject poverty.
To be or not to be, that is the question: or whether we will summon the courage to declare a general caveat emptor against corrupt politicians to permanently pitch our camp with integrity, anti-corruption and the rebuilding of Nigeria’s infrastructure. It is all about whether Nigeria should remain corrupt or not. It is about whether leaders should have integrity or not. It is about whether or not the poor masses should remain slaves permanently.
Finally, we remind Nigerians that the Muslim Rights Concern is CONCERNED because we have seen acute poverty, widespread illiteracy and disease among Nigerian Muslims in particular and the Nigerian people in general. We call on the citizens to make 2019 the date of freedom. We appeal to civil society and the press to double their efforts in creating awareness for voters in this regard.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Thursday, August 23, 2018
23rd August, 2018
MARGINALISATION OF MUSLIMS MORE WIDESPREAD
This was revealed in a fresh press release issued on Thursday morning and signed by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the leader of MURIC.
“We thought the marginalization of Muslims in the ongoing voters registration exercise was limited to the South West, but we received information yesterday after releasing our first statement that it is also happening in Suleja, Niger State. Our source is very credible. We have branches in all states of the federation and MURIC state chairmen have been mandated to send in reports as they happen. We are still waiting for more reports.
“Our concern right now is that if it is happening in a place like Suleja which is in the North Central part of the country, the possibility of Muslims in the South East and South South falling victims cannot be ruled out because Muslims are in the minority in those places.
“The latest report reaching us is that the victimization of Muslims in the ongoing voters registration exercise is not restricted to Muslim women alone. Any Muslim male who appears, dresses or speaks like a Muslim is finding it difficult to register in some centres. It is now a crime to greet people with ‘Salaam Alaykunm’ while standing on the voters registration queue.
“INEC should criminalise the marginalization of any citizen for no just cause. We Muslims in this country are bona fide citizens. Nobody can Shugaba us. Even INEC lacks the power to declare us persona non grata. We are tax payers and our hard-earned money is part of what INEC is spending for the operation. INEC should fish out the bad eggs among its ad hoc and permanent staff and punish them in order to serve as deterrent to others.
“MURIC appeals to Muslims who fall victims of INEC staff’s anti-Muslim gimmick to refrain from any display of anger or resort to violence. Instead of resorting to self-help, we advise them to call or send text messages to their local Imams, leaders of their Islamic organizations, the state chairman of MURIC or MURIC headquarters on telephone numbers 08090674844 and 08187631861. We urge Muslim victims to get evidence of victimization. We will not hesitate to make scapegoats of recalcitrant and fanatical INEC staff, whether ad hoc or permanent”.
MURIC also complained about the slow procedure. According to Akintola, “The Muslim Rights Concern is concerned about the efficacy of the process. We are concerned that the operation should be hitch-free. We are also concerned that Nigerians are not made to suffer undue hardship during the exercise. Our concern is not for Muslims alone. It is for all Nigerians. We feel the people’s pain.
For instance, the registration process is too slow, very tedious, highly cumbersome and extremely tortuous. It should be simplified. Nigerians should not be made to suffer whether they are Christians, Muslims or traditionalists. They should be able to enjoy the dividends of democracy by exercising their franchise without much ado.
“But this is not happening in this dispensation. It is such a pity. There are too few registration centers and they are far from one another. Besides, people shuttle between their homes and registeration centers for days before getting registered. It takes some about two weeks to get registered. Some stop going out of frustration.
“Why can’t INEC evolve a people-friendly method of registration. The rush for registration is so much that those who arrive as early as 5 am still pick number 400 on the queue! The earliest arrivals reach the centers as early as 4 am. This is very unsafe for Nigerians in view of the security situation around the country. But to add salt to injury, INEC’s ad hoc officials do not arrive until about 10 am. They only register about 80 or 100 and leave. INEC’s performance falls far below the average if only about 100 are registered daily out of over 500 people on the queue. Something needs to be done very urgently.
“MURIC suggests decentralization of the centers. More centers should be created particularly in cosmopolitan cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Kaduna, Zaria, Port Harcourt and Enugu. We suggest further extention of the deadline in view of the widespread victimization of Muslims in order to have enough time to redress wrongs.
“As a parting shot, we remind members of the press that they have a vital role to play in this exercise. Part of the role of the press is to inform and to educate. The operation is not being properly covered. It is high time journalists got cracking. This registeration exercise is going haywire. Journalists should cover some registration centers and interview people on the queue to get their opinions”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)