CAN FUELING TRAMADOLISED RELIGIOUSITY
The president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr.
Samson Ayokunle, has again lashed out at the Sultan of Sokoto and President
General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji
Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar over the latter’s comment in which he debunked CAN’s claim
of religious persecution.
The Sultan had argued that Christians were not being persecuted in
Nigeria. He also revealed that CAN did not table any complaint of persecution at
the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) which is the official National
interfaith platform for treating such matters. This drew the ire of the president
of CAN who blamed the Sultan for not waiting for the next NIREC meeting before
disagreeing with him in public.
In a chain reaction, the Islamic human rights organization, Muslim
Rights Concern (MURIC) has carpeted CAN president. MURIC accused Ayokunle of
lying, deception and incitement. The human rights group’s statement was issued on
Monday, 30th December, 2019, by its director, Professor Ishaq
“MURIC takes serious objection
to the response of CAN to the Sultan. Imagine CAN president, Dr. Samson
Ayokunle arguing that the Sultan should have waited for the next meeting of
NIREC to fault his (Ayokunle’s) claim instead of debunking it publicly. How
reasonable is that? How can the Sultan wait for a private forum to fault a lie that
was told in public? Are the discussions in NIREC in the public domain? How can
you remove a woman’s clothes in the market place and expect her friends to wait
until she arrives home naked before they cover her up? Isn’t that warped logic?
Those who make provocative statements in public should not expect a pat in the
back in the privacy of their offices. As you make your bed, so you will lie on
it. You cannot sow a million potatoes without reaping a tomatoe.
“The Sultan is a notable bridge-builder primus inter pareil
and a peace-maker nulli secundus. If some religious leaders specialize in
creating tension, the Sultan’s vocation is dousing tension. If some leaders are
adept at inciting their followers, the Sultan is always there to calm nerves.
“With his dynamism, his high mobility, his proximity to Nigerians
of various backgrounds, the Sultan has won the respect and admiration of compos
mentis Nigerians regardless of religious and ethnic leanings. Expectedly, he enjoys the loyalty of Nigerian
Muslims such that when he speaks, he speaks for the entire Muslim populace in
the country. He is level-headed and has never incited Muslims. Not even once. He
is well known as an advocate of peace. This explains why he is called the
Sultan of the people.
“Is it fair to blame such a man
for telling you the truth? MURIC will not stand akimbo while CAN weaves its web
of lies around the Sultan. Can lied by saying Christians are the targets of
Boko Haram and bandits. That is a lie
from the pit of Jahannam and CAN knows it. Exempli gratia, Zamfara State is
widely known as the base of banditry. How many Christians are in Zamfara? All
those kidnapped by bandits in Zamfara are Muslims. Did the Muslims once accuse
Christians of being the perpetrators? Facts are sacred. Why is CAN trying to distort
history? Why is CAN lying?
“The Bible says, ‘Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord’
(Proverbs 12:22). It also says. ‘…He who breathes out lies will perish’
(Proverbs 19:9). In his letter to the Colossians, Apostle Paul warned , ‘Do not
lie to one another’ (Colossians 3:9 – 10). Why then is the president of CAN
lying to his followers? Is this not a case of ‘Do as I say but not as I do?’
Religious leaders should not be found lying.
“The problem with Nigeria is the proliferation of religious leaders
whose behaviours contradict the tenets of their professed religion. They lie at
will. They incite their followers. Nigeria is the only place on earth today
where acrobatic religiousity is compounded with paradoxical criminality. The
leaders deliberately lead their followers towards articulated spirituality for
the purpose of political and economic exploitation. This country will begin to
know peace the moment the citizens start to crosscheck claims made by religious
leaders and stop listening to merchants of aggravated religiousity.
“CAN president tried to cover
his tracks after lying by silencing the Sultan. That is an abomination. CAN
president cannot gag NSCIA President-General. It is true that there is freedom
of speech. But if freedom of speech can allow blunt lies, the same freedom of
speech should stomach blatant truth. If you cannot stand the heat, don’t go
into the kitchen. If you use your freedom of speech to tell lies and incite
your followers, you cannot stop another person from exercising his own freedom
of speech to speak the truth and promote peace. What is the CAN president
afraid of? Why doesn’t he want the Sultan to speak up? Is he just realizing that
truth, no matter how long, will always overwhelm falsehood?
“It is now crystal clear to discerning Nigerians that CAN has the abstract
noun ‘trouble’ and the transitive verb ‘to forment trouble’. We are not
referring to the entire Christians of Nigeria per se, but the officials
and leaders of the Christian body who take decisions and speak for all
Christians in the country even though without consulting the latter. We know
there are thousands of peace-loving and honest Christians in this country. Is
it not high time CAN listened to such people?
“Some religious offices have been commercialised and the holders of
public offices in certain religions are being held hostages as religious
leaders claim that they were instrumental to the former’s attaining such
positions. All the lies and propaganda are for the purpose of justifying the
juicy rewards from these public office holders. Interestingly, Muslims do not
indulge in such mischief.
“It is outrageous for CAN to
claim that Christians are being persecuted in Nigeria. Where? How? When? By
who? Is it in this same Nigeria or is there another country on earth called
Nigeria? We challenge the CAN president to draw up a list of such persecutions
with names of the persecutor and those of the victims, including dates and
places of occurrence. In fact we will go further to add to the compromise from
our side. CAN president should tell the whole world the demands of Nigerian
Christians in concrete terms. We mean demands which they have probably been
making in the past and which the Nigerian government is yet to grant.
“On our part, we will table our concrete demands which we have been
making from federal and state governments but which have hitherto been denied.
Interestingly enough, some of our demands have been granted Nigerian Christians
even without the latter asking for them. So who is being persecuted? Who is the
persecutor? Who is being oppressed? Who is the oppressor? Who is the victim? A
dispassionate examination of these posers will reveal the identity of the group
that is shedding crocodile tears.
“Who took the Muslims’ only day
of worship (Friday) away from them and gave Saturday and Sunday to Christians?
Who stopped the Muslims from using their 800 years old Shariah and forced the
Christian common law on Nigerian Muslims throughout the country? Who outlawed
marriages ministered in mosques but legalized marriages conducted in churches?
Who demonized Islamic banking but idolized Christian Western banking?
“Who gave the Christians 1st
January but deprives Muslims of 1st Muharram? Who organized the
lopsided 2014 national conference where Muslims who constitute majority of the
population were given a paltry 189 delegates while Christians who are the
minority had 303? Who locked the Nigerian Muslim girl-child out of school over
an ordinary head-scarf called hijab? Who is forcing Muslim students in
Christian private universities to attend church on Sundays? Who demolished
mosques in Ekiti and River’s States? Who is the real oppressor now?
“Fact check: Rev Fr. Hasan Kuka is the Bishop of the Catholic
Diocese of Sokoto. His office is just a stone’s throw from the Sultan’s palace
in the same town. Has anyone ever threatened Father Kuka in Sokoto? Governor
Tambuwal and the Sultan himself were present during the opening ceremony of
that office. Is that persecution?
Fact check: The Emir of Kano has renovated churches attacked by
Boko Haram in Kano. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo narrated how another Muslim
governor in the North rebuilt and renovated all churches attacked by Boko Haram
in his state. He narrated this publicly in his speech at the Annual General
Assembly of the NSCIA held in December 2019 in Abuja. Is the renovation of
churches by Muslim leaders now termed persecution by CAN?
“It is clear that CAN cannot substantiate any claim of persecution.
CAN’s claim is therefore dubious, deceitful and quixotic. CAN is simply heating
up the polity and inciting its members without any justifiable cassu belli.
CAN is fueling tramadolised religiousity.
“Before we drop the anchor, we advise CAN officials to stop
deceiving its followers with imaginary tales of persecution. In addition, CAN
should, in its own interest, desist from whipping up sentiments and inciting
its membership against both the government and Muslims in the country. Responsible
leadership demands truthful mentorship. Rwanda, Liberia and Sierra Leone learnt
the lesson too late and they paid heavy prices. It is not wise to start what
one cannot finish.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
MURIC CONDEMNS EXECUTION OF CHRISTIAN
The Islamic State in West Africa
(ISWA) has released a video in which it purportedly executed eleven blindfolded
Christian captives. The video was released on Thursday, 26th
December, 2019. The terrorists claimed
that the action was in revenge of the killing of ISIS leader, Abubakr
Al-Baghdadi and its spokesman, Abul-Hassan Al-Muhaiir.
The Nigerian Islamic human rights
organization, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has however condemned the
execution. The group spoke through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in a
press statement issued late on Friday, 27th December, 2019.
“We strongly condemn the execution of the Christian captives by ISWA. It
is gruesome, coldblooded and barbaric. We reject the criminal antics of
terrorists. This is definitely not Islam. It is the handiwork of misguided
“We have no doubt that it is part
of an attempt to embarrass the Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) after the
latter had successfully prevented any attack in other parts of Northern and
central Nigeria, including Abuja, before during and after Christmas and the New
Year for the past three or four years. We also note with pleasure that bomb
attacks on churches have stopped completely while incidents of suicide bombing
has been reduced to its barest minimum. We commend FG for this remarkable feat.
“Observers may wish to note that 135 innocent lives were lost in another
terrorist attack in Burkino Fasso on Christmas day. We equally condemn the
massacre in Burkino Fasso. It is callous, inhuman and despicable.
“Our hypothesis is that the terrorists may have intended to effect a
double hit in Burkina Fasso and here in Nigeria. The Nigerian operation may
have been called off after the planners saw the alertness and gallantry of the
Nigerian security agencies. The execution of the Christian captives point to an
act of frustration after the planned attack on Nigerian soil became mission
“It is noteworthy that there was
no ultimatum or warning of any kind prior to the execution. This is quite
unusual and this fact cements our hypothesis. The enemy may want to catch us
off guard by striking during the New Year celebrations. We therefore call on
the security agencies to be on alert during the end of the year and New Year celebrations
to avert any planned attack. We also appeal to Nigerians generally to be
security conscious. Security watch must not be left to those in uniform alone. We
must be our nation’s eyes and ears.
“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to
understand the mentality of terrorists and the anatomy of extremism. They (the
terrorists) wish to create fear in our hearts so that nobody will confront
them. But they have failed in this regard because the government has risen to
the occasion and our gallant soldiers are giving the terrorists sleepless
nights. They also intend to cause war between Nigerian Christians and their
Muslim neighbours. In fact this is the primary objective. The ultimate aim is
to enable them to sneak in behind the lines, seize the seat of power and begin
a reign of terror in the whole country whereby both Christians and moderate
Muslims will, willy-nilly, be at their beck and call.
“We therefore call upon our Christian neighbours to understand the
humongous challenge which terrorism poses. The government needs the cooperation
of all to overcome these challenges. We charge Imams and pastors to use the
minbar and pulpit to preach patience and tolerance all the time. The Nigerian
society is passing through a trying period. Religion in particular has been
bastardised beyond Karl Max’s legendary opium. Religion has become another
thing entirely in Nigeria. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a deradicalisation
programme both in the churches and mosques.
“In summary, we strongly condemn
the execution of Christian captives in Nigeria and the killing of 135 people in
Burkina Fasso explossions. We appeal to religious leaders to forge a united
front in the deradicalisation of religion in Nigeria. We appeal to Nigerians to
be vigilant and to report suspicious persons and circumstances to the security
agents. We also call on Nigerians to exhibit more tolerance, patience and love
towards one another.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
DASUKI, SOWORE, WERE XMAS GIFT:
GIVE US 54 SOLDIERS FOR THE NEW YEAR
Islamic human rights advocacy group has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for
ordering the release of Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Omoyele Sowore. Both were
released by the Department of State Security (DSS) yesterday. Dasuki was
detained three years ago over the $2.1 million arms fraud case while Sowore was
incarcerated for leading #Revolutionnow Movement.
expressed its mind in a press statement distributed to the media on Thursday
afternoon by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola. But while hailing the
Nigerian president, the human rights organization demanded the release of the
54 soldiers serving jail term for asking for better weapons to fight Boko
express our profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing
Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Omoyele Sowore. It shows that our president is
listening. But like Oliver Twist, we ask for more. If it is true that Dasuki
was detained over the $2.1 million arms fraud case (and it is), what becomes of
the poor soldiers who exposed the fraud but who, paradoxically, are still
languishing in jail?
became aware of the poor weaponry among federal troops fighting Boko Haram when
the 54 soldiers demanded better arms. They are therefore heroes, not villains
and should not be languishing in jail. It was their protest which led to
questions regarding the $2.1 million meant for the purchase of sophiscated weapons
but which was diverted to fund political campaign.
Buhari exhibited magnanimity by releasing Dasuki and Sowore. It is true that those
two men have people, including the media, crying out day and night for their
release unlike the 54 soldiers who have nobody to agitate for them. We beg the
president to show mercy to these young men. ‘The quality of mercy is not
strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath’.
have borrowed the words used by William Shakespeare in the Merchant of Venice
to appeal to Mr. President to use his prerogative of mercy in the case of the
54 soldiers. Mercy is ‘twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that
takes’, Shakespeare added. Dasuki and Sowore were Christmas gifts to Nigerians,
MURIC is demanding for the release of the 54 soldiers as New Year hampers.
we laud President Buhari for setting Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Omoyele Sowore
free. We congratulate the families of the two men and all those who intervened
in their cases. We appeal to the president to exercise his prerogative of mercy
by setting the 54 soldiers free.”
Rights Concern (MURIC)
MURIC ADVOCATES LIVE AND LET LIVE
Christians join millions in the body of Christ throughout the world to
celebrate Christmas in memory of the birth of Jesus (peace be upon him) today,
25th December, 2019, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has
felicitated with Christian leaders and their followers in the country.
statement issued by the director of the human rights organization, Professor
Ishaq Akintola, early on Wednesday 25th December, 2019, reminded
Nigerians of the need for adherents of the Abrahamic faiths to forge a
brotherhood of love, tolerance and forgiveness.
are children of Abraham (peace be upon him)”, said MURIC. “That is a statement of
fact. Children of the same father should not be living like cat and mouse.
Beyond that, we are all children of Adam and the Adamic chromosome runs in our
DNA. That widens the circle of brotherhood beyond the adherents of the
Abrahamic faiths and extends its biological tentacles to the whole of humanity.
Muslims, African traditionalists, Hindus, Bhudists, Confucianists, Jainists,
etc, are therefore under obligation to think humanity first. We must halt all
forms of segregation, stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of religion,
race, colour or tribe. We must bring peace back to the world.
calls for a cessation of hostilities in all troubled parts of Nigeria and the
rest of the world. We urge all homo sapiens compos mentis living in
troubled areas to embrace dialogue as a means of returning normalcy to their
regions. In particular, we charge religious leaders in Nigeria to step up genuine
interfaith relationship and adopt the philosophy of live and let live in order
to put a halt to the constant heating of the polity.
we pray for the return of enduring peace and security in our dear country,
Nigeria. We pray for the safe return of Leah Sharibu, the Chibok girls and all
those in captivity in the country. We pray for Divine protection and guidance
for the leadership of the country at both federal and state levels. We also
pray for political stability and economic buoyance for Nigeria.”
Rights Concern (MURIC)
CAN, US, GANGING UP IN INIQUITY
The United States (US) has
accused the Nigerian government of restraining religious freedom. On its own part,
the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has also supported this allegation.
CAN claimed that Christians were becoming endangered species in their
fatherland. The umbrella Christian organization also claimed lopsidedness in appointments
under the Buhari administration.
However, a press statement
issued by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has debunked the above allegations.
The human rights organization faulted US democratic status and described its
role in global matters as the height of double standard. The group also accused
CAN of shedding crocodile tears. MURIC’s statement was signed by its director,
Professor Ishaq Akintola.
According to MURIC, “We see the mention
of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) by the US as a smokescreen. IMN is not
being denied freedom of worship. It is the excesses of the group that is being
curtailed. Nobody stops them from worshipping but the government has a duty to
protect the rest of Nigerians from actions of the group which undermine
Allah-given fundamental rights of other citizens.
are not bothered by the US latest ranking of Nigeria as religiously biased. Has
the US ever seen anything good about our country? Some foreign powers are
always eager to discredit developing nations. It is a game mastered by imperialists.
We can see the signs. Instead of breaking up in 2015 as predicted, Nigeria is
waxing strong. The war against corruption is on course. Infrastructure is
growing at a fast rate. Therefore, a spanner must be thrown at the works to
justify forceful intervention and a grip on Nigerian oil.
“America should do some
introspection. Those who claim to be the champion of democracy in the world
cannot, in good conscience, beat their chests and say, ‘We have been fair to
all’. America complains to Nigeria that Christians are being killed even when
it is well known that Muslims are the greatest victims of the killings. America
invited former CAN president to address Congress a few years ago. But no Muslim
leader has ever been invited to the same platform. Yet America has been using
the lies told before Congress to judge our country. Is this fair?
“Muslims of Southern Nigeria
have been complaining of persecution for decades but America turned its deaf
ears. America pretends nothing is happening to Nigerian Muslims even when the
Muslim girl child is locked out of school over an ordinary head scarf which is
even allowed in US schools.
“US human rights record
outside Nigeria is even nothing to write home about particularly regarding its
attitude to issues affecting Muslim nations and Muslims in general. Sanctions
are used selectively against Muslim nations in order to weaken them militarily
and economically. Israel is free to kill and maim Palestinian children while
America uses vetoes to frustrate resolutions of the United Nations aganinst
Israel. In fact, democracy is a sham if assessed against the backdrop of
happenings in the UN where America alone can stop any decision made by the rest
of the world. The US invaded Iraq without approval from the UN. So what moral
right has America to judge other nations?
“If America is truly the world’s champion of democracy and the chief
promoter of human rights, why is that country always silent each time Muslims
are at the receiving end? More than 8,000 Muslims were massacred in the Bosnia
genocide, particularly in Srebrenica and Zepa in 1995. What did America say? What
did America do when Muslims were being killed in their hundreds in Myammar? Even
right now hundreds of thousands of Uyghur Muslims are being detained in Western
Xinjiang, China, but America cannot be bothered. Since last week, Muslim
demonstrators are being killed over anti-Muslim Indian citizenry laws but the
White House is only interested in bullying Nigeria.
“Our message to CAN is this, allow America to set fire to your country
and we can assure you that it is not the Muslims alone who will face turmoil.
Our people say that when a hen perches on a rope, neither the hen nor the rope
will enjoy stability. Whether to avoid foreign interference in your country and
live in peace with your Muslim neighbours while you watch your children and
grandchildren play peacefully in the garden or to open the doors wide for an
army of occupation which will bring general pandemonium, the choice is yours.
“CAN should remember that
religion or no religion, America’s national interest is America’s priority. America
has no permanent friends. Neither should anyone blame Americans for loving
their own country. The blame goes to those who open the doors of their country
for foreign forces to support them in eliminating or, at least, in undermining
their perceived rivals or oppressors.
“CAN has only manifested its
naivety in modern international politics. The US has thrown religious
persecution as a bait. Unfortunately CAN has swallowed it, hook, line and
sinker. It is not the first time that America will fly a kite. What was America’s
excuse for invading Iraq? Was it not weapons of mass destruction (WMD)? Was any
WMD found at the end of the day? Did America apologise? Iraq’s infrastructure
paid for it. It was completely demolished. But above all, Iraq’s oil paid for
it and that was the real target ab initio.
“The same America is now
talking of religious bias in order to create tension. If nothing like religious
bias is found after Nigerians have killed themselves in their thousands,
America will never apologise and we will be the suckers for it. CAN is free to
bring in America. Afterall, if the heavens will fall, we are all under it. But
history will remember our warning to CAN.
“CAN is simply playing to type. This is a group that does the hurting,
yet it is always the first to scream. CAN aptly personifies the parable of the
mischievous housewife who beats up the husband but screams for help. The only
time neighbours bothered to check, they found the husband trembling in a corner,
with the wife beating him with a huge stick.
“How can CAN start
complaining now? All the Chiefs of Army Staff under Obasanjo were Christians
from 1999 to 2007 (Victor Malu, Alexander Ogumudia, Martin Luther Agwai, Andrew
Azazi and Paul Dike). Four out of the five chiefs of defence staff were also
Christians while all the chiefs of naval staff were Christians and the Muslims
did not complain. CAN did not talk at the time. How come CAN suddenly found its
“Under President Goodluck
Jonathan, Christians took all the sensitive security positions. The Chief of
Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff
were all Christians until January 2014 when a Muslim took over as Chief of
Naval Staff. Not only that, the Director Generals of the State Security
Services and the Nigerian Intelligence Agency were Christians. The Secretary to
the Federal Government was a Christian. The Senate president and his deputy
were both Christians under Jonathan but CAN had the temerity to demand that a
Christian must head Senate under Buhari.
“CAN accuses President Muhammadu Buhari of appointing Muslims only
whereas President Buhari shares the four sensitive military leadership
positions among Christians and Muslims. We must expose CAN for deceiving the
global community and for inciting its followers in the country. Check the
records. These are verifiable facts. The Chief of Defence Staff is General
Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin and he has been appointed since 13th
July, 2015. He is still in that position. Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe is the
Chief of Naval Staff. He was appointed by the same Buhari since 13th
July, 2015. Only the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Air Staff are Muslims.
That is 50 – 50. CAN is definitely lying. But the wind has blown. We have seen
the ruff of the hen.
“You will know the truth and
the truth will set you free (John 8:32).We appeal to discerning Christians not
to allow CAN to set them against their own brothers. CAN is fully back as an unrepentant
advocatus diaboli after a short interregnum. Only the truth can set you
“We charge compatriots to
verify claims being made by either the US or CAN. We invite all Nigerians to
manifest the well known African hospitality to every American or Western
citizen as those individuals do not represent their countries’ tortuous
diplomacy. We call on Muslims to continue to exhibit love and care for their
Christian compatriots. We warn against CAN’s connivance with Western powers. It
can only be a gang-up in iniquity.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
STOP BLACKMAILING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi
Gbajabiamila has declared that he was not elected to fight the executive. Professor
Gbajabiamila made this pronouncement during the Gbaja 2019 End of the Year Grassroots
Empowerment Programme held yesterday, Sunday 22nd December, 2019.
The Speaker was reacting to insinuations and criticisms of the National
Assembly (NASS) which some critics have described as a rubber stamp institution
under President Muhammadu Buhari. Gbajabiamila insisted that the NASS is
irrevocably committed to the protection of the interest of the Nigerian people
through diligent discharge of its legislative duties.
Contributing to this national discourse, the Muslim Rights Concern
(MURIC) has warned critics to stop blackmailing the Nigerian legislature. According
to to the human rights group, harmony between the legislature and the executive
can only translate to progress for the nation. This was disclosed in a press statement
issued by the organization on Monday, 23rd December, 2019. The
statement was signed by MURIC’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads in full: “We fully endorse Speaker Gbajabiamila’s
comment. We commend him for coming out with such a bold declaration. Harmony
between the legislature and the executive can only translate to progress for
the nation. We prefer cooperation between the legislature and the executive to
hostility and incoherence. What did the Nigerian citizens gain from the endless
confrontation which characterized the 8th Senate? It was fully
sarakitised to the detriment of tax-payers.
“Senators in the 8th
NASS abandoned their primary assignments and spent the greater part of the time
following the Senate president to court sessions. Lawmakers became unrepentant law
breakers, established comedians and professional tree-climbers. Opportunist
inheritors among them manifested a shameless capacity to out-do Michael Jackson
and to jump out of windows at the approach of examination supervisors.
“Fortunately Nigerians were not deceived. The group of deceitful
lawmakers were sent packing by the electorate. It is not surprising, therefore,
that some miscreants, unpatriotic and unscrupulous Nigerians now make it their daily
passtime to accuse the current distinguished senators of being rubber stamps of
the executive. Talk of pot calling kettle black. It is cheap blackmail. We know
those behind this dirty game. We also know their objective. They confronted the
executive in their own time because they knew that the war against corruption would
catch up with them since they had skeletons in their cupboards. Their intention
was to bring down the government but they failed.
“MURIC urges the 9th
Senate to ignore critics and wailers. We appeal to the surrent senators to
continue in the same path of full cooperation with the executive. They should
not allow anyone to goad them into any confrontation. We voted them into the
NASS to facilitate the law making process and to promote good governance, not
to constitute clogs in the wheel of progress for the executive or harbingers of
pain and distress for the citizenry.
“In comparison, the 8th Senate leadership was an agent
of darkness while the leadership of the 9th Senate is an agent of
light. Darkness and light cannot stay together. The leadership of the 8th
Senate plunged this country into darkness for four good years. The two senates
are just incompatible. One delayed budget for seven months while the other
returned the country to the old January to December budget cycle by dutifully
and meticulously screening the budget and passing it without undue delay.
“Our message to the current senators is this: Distinguished
Senators of the 9th Senate, you are the light of the age. Continue
to lighten up our great nation by ensuring harmony between you and the
executive. Posterity will not forget your positive role in bringing growth and
development to our country, Nigeria.
“As we take a break, we warn fifth columnists, critics and wailers
to stop blackmailing the 9th NASS. We charge current legislators to
ignore detractors and to squarely face the business of lawmaking and the
promotion of good governance. The difference between the 8th and the
9th NASS is like the difference between night and day. It is dawn in
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
MURIC TACKLES LAGOS TRAFFIC WARDENS (LASTMA)
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has tackled the Lagos State
Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) for infringing on the religious rights of the
agency’s Muslim officers who are currently undergoing training in Idimu, Lagos.
According to the human rights group, LASTMA authorities breached the
fundamental human rights of Muslims by disallowing them from observing congregational prayers in the camp during the recent Induction
Course 10 held at the Four Square International Conference Centre, Idimu, Lagos
This was revealed to newsmen in a press statement issued by the director
of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 18th December,
According to MURIC, “We learnt
about this ugly situation through the media (https://muslimnews.com.ng/2019/12/17/exposed-how-lastma-violated-muslim-officers-rights/) and we know from experience
that we have to move quickly in order to douse tension. We are dismayed by what
LASTMA authorities are alleged to have done. Can it be true? In the first
place, why did a whole government agency pick the premises of a religious group
to train its officers? Why were Draconian rules rolled out over the use of the
same religious premises for people of another faith. Why pick such a place ab
initio if harsh and repressive conditionalities were going to be applied?
“About ten Muslim officers were alleged to have attempted to pray in an
open space within the premises. Some Christian colleagues who saw them reported
to the commander. They were all summoned and interrogated and in the end LASTMA
commander was reported to have threatened to deal seriously with the Muslim
officers for daring to observe Muslim prayer in a church premises. There are fears
that their appointments may be terminated or they would be dismissed.
“We in MURIC declare that it had better not be. Lagos is the centre of
excellence and there is respect for the rule of law. Lagos respects citizens’
rights. The state government has also been propagating and actively promoting
peaceful co-existence among the different religious groups in the state. So we
do not see how the commander’s alleged threat can become a fait accompli.
“We want to hear from LASTMA. We
are keen on knowing their side of the story. We repeat: it had better not be.
Nobody has the right to stop Muslims from worshipping Allah just as no one has
the right to stop Christians from worshipping Jesus. It should be added that
Muslim mode of worship cannot be curtailed by any homo sapien. We are saying
this because we heard that the officials said Muslims in the camp should pray
individually and not in congregation. That is nauseating, nonsensical and
“This is another moment of truth. The choice of the Four Square Church
premises for LASTMA induction course 2019 has exposed the hypocrisy of those
who claim that there is religious tolerance in the South West. We declare that
such a claim is false and misleading. What happens in the South West is that
individuals who belong to different faiths but who live in the same houses or
work in the same places tolerate themselves because they belong to the same
families or because they know each other. Besides, fate has brought them
together under the same roof or in the same workplace.
“But religious institutions have remained enstranged from each other and
sometimes bitterly hostile towards one another. That is why there have been
instances whereby religious rivalry has taken the driving seat and intolerance
has threatened the peace in Yorubaland.
“Examples of such instances include the LASTMA-Four-Square-Church saga
above, the Hijab-Church-choir-gown-and-masquerade-dress imbroglio in the State
of Osun schools, the molestation of hijab-wearing female Muslim students by
overzealous Christian teachers in Lagos State schools, election registration
and identity card officials who compel Muslims to remove their hijabs, caps and
turbans before ‘capturing’, etc.
“It is noteworthy that both the
perpetrators and the victims in the above examples are of Yoruba stock. There
was no single Northerner among them. Yet the Christians in the examples were
determined to deprive the Muslims of their Allah-given fundamental human
rights. The idea of religious tolerance among the Yoruba is therefore a myth, a
mirage and a tale by moonlight.
“The above examples also showcase the sufferings of Yoruba Muslims in
the hands of their fellow Yoruba who are Christians, particularly in the hands
of Christians who occupy official positions. Muslims are told point-blank, ‘This
is not Sokoto…Go to Kano if you want to use hijab…’ Yet Nigeria has only one
“We in MURIC will like to know
if Yoruba Christians have any grudges against Yoruba Muslims, any allegation at
all, anything Yoruba Muslims have done to hurt Yoruba Christians. This question
is another angle to our choice of dialogue in interfacing with our Christian neighbours.
We have listed our allegations against you (see above), now tell us, what have
we done to hurt you?
“MURIC is putting the Federal Government as well as all state
governments in the South West on notice. Enough of the deception about the existence
of religious tolerance in Yorubaland. The spate of persecution of Muslims in
the South West has reached its highest crescendo. Although the perpetrators are
aware that they are breaking the law, they have been emboldened by the fact
that no one has ever been held accountable by the authorities.
“If anyone is still in doubt,
the tactical withdrawal by the highest law institution in the land from any
legal tussle arising from and approval of the use of hijab for Amasa Firdaus
and, by deduction, for all future law graduates called to bar, is enough to
convince doubting Thomases that the use of hijab is lawful, legitimate and
constitutional. But not for Christian officials in Yorubaland. They will seize
every single opportunity to oppress Muslims. Yet they claim that there is
religious tolerance in the South West.
“In this regard, MURIC advises the Lagos State Government to withdraw
the hijab case from the Supreme Court as a mark of respect for the prestigious
Law School and the highly respected Body of Benchers. If these two legal
institutions deem it fit to allow a graduand who defied all decorum on account
of her hijab to be called to bar eventually, Lagos needs to put on another
thinking cap, namely, the cap of real, genuine and undiluted religious tolerance.
This cap will truly fit Lagos as the center of excellence primus inter
“Press statements are an extension of dialogue and MURIC will continue
to explore this and other peaceful means of resolving issues. We want peace in
Lagos State in particular and Nigeria in general. Our vision of
Nigeria is that of a nation where people live together in peace and harmony, a
nation in which no one is oppressed, where every citizen enjoys Allah-given
fundamental human rights regardless of class, creed, or ethnicity. But we all
must tow the path of justice to ensure this happens because justice is the soul
of peace. No one can deny one and enjoy the other.
“We therefore invite the Lagos State Government to quickly
intervene in the conflict at the ongoing LASTMA induction programme at the Four
Square International Conference Centre before it escalates. We demand a probe
into circumstances surrounding the choice of a church premises for the training
of LASTMA officials when it is well known that there are non-Christians among
them. We demand immediate halt to the irrational rules in the camp for those in
this second batch which will
end on Sunday 22nd December, 2019.
“We charge LASTMA authorities to provide a place within the premises
where the Muslims can observe their congregational prayers or move the training
venue out of a church premises immediately in the interest of peace. We demand
the relocation of the training ground to a neutral place for subsequent batches.
The remaining streames should not be held in any church, mosque or shrine
premises. A neutral venue must be found. Lastly, we appeal to Muslims
throughout the country to remain calm and law-abiding.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)