Sunday, December 29, 2019


30th December, 2019

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 Akintola.

“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)

Friday, December 27, 2019


27th December, 2019

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 elements.

“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 impossible.

“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)

Thursday, December 26, 2019


26th December, 2019


An 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.

MURIC 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 Haram.

“We 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?

“Nigerians 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.

“President 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’.

“We 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.

“Finally, 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.”  

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019


25th December, 2019


As Nigerian 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.

A public 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.

“We 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.

"Christians, 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.

“MURIC 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.

“Finally, 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.”     

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, December 23, 2019


24th December, 2019

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.

“We 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 voice?

“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 free.

“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)

Sunday, December 22, 2019


23rd December, 2019

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 Nigeria.”

Professor Ishaq Akintola,    
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


18th December, 2019

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 State.

This was revealed to newsmen in a press statement issued by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 18th December, 2019.

According to MURIC, “We learnt about this ugly situation through the media ( 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 unacceptable.

“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 constitution.

“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 pareil.

“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)