Saturday, February 29, 2020
29th February, 2020
MURIC MOURNS ABDUL SALAAM TUNDE ABBAS
A renowned leader of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Alhaji Abdul Salaam Tunde Abbas died in a Lagos hospital this morning after a protracted illness.
In a statement released by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Saturday 29th February 2020, the late Tunde Abbas was described as a pious Muslim leader who dedicated his whole life to the service of Allah and humanity. The statement was signed by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“Barrister Abdul Salaam Tunde Abbas was a strong pillar of the MSSN and a former chairman of Lagos Area Unit of the students’ organisation. Not only that, he was a founding member of the Companion, an active member of the Muslim Professionals and the National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO). He also made his impact felt in the field of politics as he rose to become the chairman of Ejigbo Local Government during his lifetime.
“His strong Muslim background is attested to by the two erudite Islamic scholars left behind by him: Alhaji Femi Abbas, a fiery columnist and Professor Wole Abbas of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan.
“His departure from this world will leave a yawning lacuna in Islamdom. We commiserate with his noble family, friends and associates. But most of all, we condole the officials and members of the Companion, the Muslim Professionals, NACOMYO and MSSN.
“May Almighty Allah overlook his trespasses and repose his soul in Al-Jannah Firdaus.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
27th February, 2020
MURIC PETITIONS NASS SEEKING FREEDOM FOR 54 SOLDIERS
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has taken the case of the 54 soldiers to the National Assembly (NASS) in its prolonged struggle to get them freed.
According to the human rights organization, a petition to this effect has gone to the two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. This was revealed in a press statement issued on Thursday, 27th February, 2020. The statement was signed by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The petition read in part:
“The 54 soldiers on whose behalf we have written this petition are presently serving a ten-year jail term. They had fought shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues against Boko Haram fighters who were armed to the teeth. They had earlier advanced with their battalion on 9th July, 2014 under Lt. Col K. C. Uwa to recapture Damboa but they were ambushed and they lost 23 men and four officers due to inadequate equipment. Without fresh arms and without a single armoured tank, they were again asked to advance on Damboa, Deluwa and Bullabilin.
“They therefore requested for more equipments from their commander, Lt. Col. Oporum. It was not a mutiny. It was a mere request. But instead of giving them more arms before facing a better equipped enemy, they were rounded up. They were first sentenced to death on 17th December, 2014 although this was commuted to ten years imprisonment each by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Major General Tukur Yusuf Buratai in December 2015.
“This is the ‘crime’ committed by the 54 soldiers. They blew the whistle on the famous $2.1 billion which was meant for arms but which politicians shared among themselves. They are whistle blowers and this government is a government of change. The present administration called for whistle blowers and there have been responses. It has led to the recovery of billions of stolen money and some whistle blowers have already been compensated. What is the difference between the 54 soldiers and other whistle blowers? They have been in jail since. But is that where they should be?
“MURIC is concerned because Islam frowns on injustice. The religion of those soldiers does not matter to us. They are fellow Nigerians who fought to keep Boko Haram away from the rest of us. Keeping those 54 soldiers in jail is tantamount to gross travesty of justice. We began the struggle to free the 54 soldiers in December 2015 with press statements on the subject matter. This is the thirteenth press statement we have issued on the subject matter to date and they can all be verified.
“8th December, 2015 ‘Free Soldiers Charged For Refusing to Fight Insurgents Without Adequate Weapons’. 21st December, 2015 ‘Wanted: Presidential Pardon For 54 Convicted Soldiers’. 5th January, 2016, ‘66 Convicted Soldiers: MURIC Launches Online Petition For Presidential Pardon’. 5th June, 2016 ‘Buhari Should Pardon the 54 Soldiers This Month Of Mercy’. 12th December, 2016 ‘Set Innocent Captives Free’. 9th March, 2017 ‘MURIC Calls For Presidential Pardon For 54 Soldiers’. 23rd June, 2017 ‘Set the 54 Soldiers Free’ (used as a rider). 30th November, 2017 ‘Buhari Should Pardon the 54 Soldiers’. 14th June 2018 ‘Id al-Fitr Message: Set the 54 Soldiers Free’. 30th August 2018 ‘Prerogative Committee: MURIC Calls for Pardon For 54 Soldiers’. 13th May, 2019 ‘54 Soldiers: Show them Mercy This Ramadan’. 26th December, 2019 ‘Dasuki, Sowore Were Christmas Gifts, Give Us 54 Soldiers For the New Year’ and finally, today’s statement under the caption ‘MURIC Petitions NASS Seeking Freedom For 54 Soldiers’.
“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House, you must not allow this injustice to stand. These 54 soldiers fought for their country but they discovered that Boko Haram was gaining the upper hand due to the fact that the terrorists had better weapons. They knew that the government had released money for the purchase of arms but Nigerian soldiers continued to use archaic weapons at the war front. They knew that Boko Haram might overwhelm the whole North East if nothing was done. They therefore raised the alarm. They are now languishing in jail with the terribly inhuman condition for which Nigerian corrective centres are notorious. Our lawmakers cannot afford to ignore them.
Like Portia in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (Act IV, Scene I), we approach our Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the House crying “The quality of mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath; it is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes…”
“The ongoing armsgate trials have revealed that Nigerian soldiers were actually deprived of arms at the time while the politicians diverted money meant for the procurement of arms to electioneering campaigns. This may have informed the decision of the COAS to commute the death sentence of the 54 soldiers to ten years imprisonment.
“The COAS has shown mercy to some extent. The rest is in the hands of our lawmakers. To set them free or not to set them free? That is the question. It hurts severely to be made to suffer for so long for exposing large scale corruption in the army. We remind respected members of the NASS that it was this case which actually revealed the massive graft involving arms fund meant for soldiers fighting Boko Haram. It is therefore paradoxical that the 54 soldiers who blew the whistle on armsgate are undergoing punishment for exposing corruption in the army.
Equally ironical is the fact that the 54 soldiers who acted as whistle-blowers in the arms fund case are rotting in jail at a time the Federal Government promised reward for whistle-blowers in corruption cases. It is a sad twist of fate and it may serve as a source of deterrent for prospective whistle-blowers if their case is not urgently revisited.
“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 terrorists. Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the Green Chamber, we rest our case”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, February 24, 2020
25th February, 2020
MURIC HAILS EKITI GOVT FOR EXTENDING MATERNITY LEAVE
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has hailed the government of Ekiti State for extending maternity leave for women in the service of the state government to six months. Governor Kayode Fayemi recently announced the extension of maternity leave in the state from three to six months.
MURIC lauded the state government in a statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 25th February, 2020.
“On 11th February, 2020, Governor Kayode Fayemi announced the extension of maternity leave in Ekiti State from three to six months (https://tribuneonlineng.com/fayemi-approves-six-months-maternity-leave-for-workers-in-ekiti/). It is worth celebrating. The governor himself and the state assembly deserve laurels. It is a major milestone in good governance. A dividend of democracy has been given to nursing mothers in the service of the state.
“Thus Ekiti has followed the footsteps of Lagos. The Lagos State government took the lead in July 2014 when it approved six months maternity leave for nursing mothers and ten days paternity leave for fathers of new-born babies working in the state (https://www.channelstv.com/2014/07/17/lagos-extends-maternity-leave-female-employees-six-months/). The Federal Government (FG) also increased maternity leave to four months on 6th June, 2018 (https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/more-news/271371-nigerian-govt-increases-maternity-leave-to-four-months.html).
“It will be recalled that our organization (MURIC) has been the arrowhead of the campaign for the extension of maternity leave for nursing mothers since 2013 (See: Oyeleke, S. “Give Women Six Months Maternity Leave – MURIC”, Sunday Punch, 11th August, 2013, page 5; https://nigerianewspapers.tumblr.com/post/57679903747/sallah-group-calls-for-6-month-maternity-leave). Our argument for the extension has always been based on the provision of the Glorious Qur’an that nursing mothers should breastfeed for two whole years (Qur’an 2:233). Although the Qur’an made this recommendation more than 1,400 years ago, it was only recently that modern science discovered that newborns should be breastfed for two years. It is a major plus for the genuineness of Islam as a religion.
“However, we made a special case for the extension of maternity leave to six months when health officials came up with the recommendation that newborns should be fed with breastmilk only in the first six months. We argued that the old practice of giving three months leave only to nursing mothers was not only anachronistic but also unrealistic and self-defeating if modern science recommends six months.
“We are therefore constrained to call upon FG to give an additional two months to nursing mothers in its service so that they too can enjoy a full six months maternity leave like their mates in Lagos and Ekiti states. Afterall what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. Also, since FG is the father of all, and in view of the fact that the Lagos State government has granted its male workers ten days paternity leave, we appeal for a new paternity leave of 10 days to be given to all men in the service of FG.
“MURIC urges other state governments to emulate Lagos and Ekiti in administrative dynamism, giving a human face to governance and enhancing robust industrial relations by granting similar extension of maternity and paternity leaves to their workers. Ekiti can do better by going the whole hog to grant a 10-day paternity leave to its male employees.
“To conclude this advocacy, we recap our major points. We commend the government of Ekiti state for extending maternity leave to six months. We recognize the lead role played by the Lagos State government in this respect. We appeal to the Federal Government to add another two months to the present four-month maternity leave plus a two-week paternity leave to be enjoyed by men. In addition, we call on other states of the federation to emulate Lagos and Ekiti by giving a human face to employer-employee relations.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, February 23, 2020
24th February, 2020
MURIC TO ISIGUZO IKEDI:
APOLOGISE TO SULTAN WITHIN 7 DAYS
A former chairman of the Editorial Board of Vanguard newspaper, Isiguzo Ikedi, has published a false story in which he deliberately quoted the Sultan wrongly. Whereas the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, said Nigeria could win the war against insurgents, Isiguzo Ikedi reported him as saying that anybody fighting Boko Haram was fighting Almighty Allah.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described Isiguzo Ikedi’s publication as absolute falsehood, libelous and the mother of all fake news. The Islamic human rights organization called for the arrest of Isiguzo Ikedi. This was disclosed in a press statement issued by the director of the rights advocacy group, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 24th February, 2020.
“We read with shock the deliberate demarketing of Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar by Isiguzo Ikedi who deliberately and wrongly quoted the Sultan as saying that anybody fighting Boko Haram is fighting Almighty Allah. It is arrant nonsense, unthinkable and therefore unacceptable. It is the height of yellow journalism, absolute falsehood, libelous and the mother of all fake news. It is also reckless, unethical and irresponsible. How can any journalist worth his salt put a blasphemous statement in the Sultan’s mouth?
“Isiguzo Ikedi is one of the black sheep in the midst of Nigerian journalists. He left the Vanguard newspaper as chairman of the editorial board on 29th June, 2015 in unclear circumstances. Only the management of Vanguard newspaper can confirm if his resignation nearly five years ago had to do with an unprofessional conduct similar to this subject matter.
“The exact words used by the Sultan were ‘We can win the fight against insurgency. Everyone is afraid of each other. I am sure we are going to win the war’. Surprisingly and due to his diabolical intention, Isiguzo Ikedi twisted it to read, ‘You fight Almighty Allah when you fight Boko Haram’.
“His Eminence the Sultan was speaking at the 5th International Conference on Love and Tolerance organized by UFUK Dialogue under the theme held on Saturday, 22nd February, 2020 at the African First Ladies Peace Mission Conference Hall, Abuja. The Sultan was represented at the occasion by the Emir of Jiwa, His Royal Highness, Dr. Idris Musa.
“Compare Isiguzo Ikedi’s report with the way Daily Independent reported it: Nigeria Will Win Anti-Terror War, Says Sultan (https://www.independent.ng/nigeria-will-win-anti-terror-war-says-sultan/). The Nation newspaper used the caption ‘Nigeria Will Win Fight Against Insurgency, Says Sultan (https://thenationonlineng.net/nigeria-will-win-fight-against-insurgency-says-sultan/). Daily Trust used the words ‘Nigeria Will Defeat Terrorism’ (https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/nigeria-will-defeat-terrorism-sultan.html) while Legit published it under the heading ‘Sultan of Sokoto Says Nigeria Will Defeat Terrorism’ (https://www.legit.ng/1304483-sultan-sokoto-nigeria-defeat-terrorism.html).
“Where is the nexus? Where did Isiguzo Ikedi get the words which he put in the Sultan’s mouth? It is very clear that he has evil intention. This author of fake news must be pursuing an old agenda. Nigerians will recall that a certain section of this country accused the Muslim leadership of being the sponsors of Boko Haram when the terrorist group started launching attacks. Isiguzo Ikedi’s fake news on the Sultan is tailored to suit this narrative.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that his publication is laughable, detestable, provocative and malicious. It is designed to portray the Sultan as the sponsor of Boko Haram. We affirm that our amiable leader, Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, is a man of peace, a bridge-builder and a true patriot.
“Our demand from Isiguzo Ikedi is this: You have committed slander against an innocent man. You also committed blasphemy by comparing killers and terrorists to Almighty Allah. Apologize within seven days or face the possibility of arrest, detention and prosecution. We have authored a petition against you which will be forwarded to the Inspector General of Police after the expiration of this ultimatum.
“MURIC appeals to Muslims throughout Nigeria to exercise restraint in the face of this provocation. We must abide by the words of Allah, “And the servants of the beneficient Allah are those who walk gently on earth. And when the ignorant ones address (provoke) them, their only response is ‘Peace be with you’ (Glorious Qur’an 25:63). We must, in like manner, remember the constant messages of peace and tolerance which the Sultan himself has always reeled out. Let us, therefore, patiently await the errant journalist’s apology failing which we will allow the law to take its due course.
“We call on the Nigerian Union of Journalists to do the needful. Journalists like Isiguzo Ikedi are capable of smearing the image of the media, nay, they are behind every crisis in this country and they can cause another war if care is not taken. Though war may be a good source of news to journalists, it is also most certainly a source of death for thousands of Nigerians (including journalists and members of their families).
“As we drop the anchor, we condemn Isiguzo Ikedi for deliberately twisting the Sultan’s statement. We demand an apology from him within seven days failing which we will cause his arrest, detention and prosecution for blasphemy, libel and defamation of character. We appeal to Nigerian Muslims to exercise restraint.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, February 17, 2020
17th February, 2020
MURIC TO WAEC: CHANGE YOUR ANTI-MUSLIM SOFTWARE
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has complained that its office has been inundated with reports from Muslim students, their teachers and parents that the software of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) being used for capturing during registration always malfunctions with hijab. The human rights group therefore suspects that the application was deliberately designed to automatically reject hijab. As a result, MURIC has called on WAEC to review the software by making it hijab-compliant.
This was revealed in a statement distributed to the media on Monday, 17th February, 2020 by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
According to the statement, “Reports from state branches of MURIC concerning capturing for 2020 WAEC registration has been alarming and disappointing. In faraway Minna, Niger State, at the Hasha International School, students had issues with capturing in hijab. The same reports came in from several secondary schools in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Lagos, etc and it resulted in the officials asking Muslim students to remove their hijab for capturing since, according to them, the hijab was not being captured by WAEC’s software.
“Here lies the riddle. Several questions come to our minds and it appears only WAEC can answer them. So, over to WAEC. Muslims pay the same amount for WAEC as all others. Why are our daughters being victimized? Why are they being set aside for embarrassment? Why must their religion become a source of discomfort for them? Why are the Muslim parents being made to go through psychological trauma?
“And now to fundamental issues that are directly connected to WAEC’s software in the questions. Who designed the software? Why is the software not capturing the hijab used by Muslim female students? Why would it be designed specifically not to capture Muslim females wearing hijab? Are we saying Muslim children cannot be Muslims anymore until they take non-Muslim identities? Why didn’t the designers of WAEC’s software put the hijab into consideration ab initio? Was there any test-running before the design was approved? If there was a test-running, who supervised the test-running and where is the report?
“MURIC demands answers to these questions without delay. Controversies over WAEC registration, stereotyping and maltreatment of Muslim candidates and imposition of anti-Muslim time-tables have become recurring decimals over the years. MURIC has intervened peacefully and diplomatically over the years. Yet the controversies keep popping up year in year out. We warn that Nigerian Muslims are running out of patience concerning WAEC’s intransigence and its contemptible treatment of Muslims. This examination body should therefore be blamed for any breakdown of law and order over its obnoxious and anti-Muslim policies.
“It is our considered opinion that WAEC is being used by certain forces to retard the educational progress of Nigerian Muslims. We also suspect very strongly that the controversial software is one of the plans of Islamophobic elements to frustrate Muslims after it became evident that no examination body has the right to ban Muslim students from using hijab.
“We demand a probe into circumstances surrounding the development, operation, deployment and application of the software being used by WAEC with a view to identifying reasons for the constant rejection of hijab by the software. For a transparent exercise, we suggest the involvement of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), a Federal Government agency, in the investigation.
“We further demand the co-option of a Muslim expert into the team of investigators. We volunteer to supply the Muslim expert and to pay for his or her services. We urge WAEC to accept these suggestions as well as the offer in order to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the examination body has no hidden agenda against Muslims. He who must come to equity must come with clean hands.
“To cap the edifice, we demand quality service for hijab-wearing Muslim students as part of their Allah-given fundamental human rights. We affirm that something is fundamentally wrong with a software that constantly fails to recognise a particular mode of dressing. We strongly suspect manipulation from source. We therefore demand a transparent probe of WAEC’s capturing software without delay. This incident must not repeat itself in 2021. A stitch in time saves nine.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Friday, February 14, 2020
14th February, 2020
AUNO KILLINGS: STOP CHIDING FG, MILITARY
There has been a Tsunami of criticisms over the recent killing of about thirty civilians in Auno, Borno State, by Boko Haram insurgents. Some Nigerians have directed their condemnation at the Federal Government (FG) and the Nigerian military. But an Islamic human rights organization has told Nigerians that they should take a retrospective and comparative look at the issue of insecurity in Nigeria before casting blames.
This was revealed in a press statement circulated on Friday, 14th February, 2020, by Professor Ishaq Akintola, the founder and director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
According to MURIC, “Wailers are not looking at the terrible state of insecurity before this administration came on board. There is an urgent need to be retrospective. That is the only way to do an objective appraisal. We are up against hardened Libyan mercenaries. We are up against terrorists backed by foreign powers. We are up against internal saboteurs who provide deadly logistics to insurgents.
“Take a look at the North East before 2015. Attacks by insurgents occurred on a daily basis. Boko Haram occupied 24 local governments in three states (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe). Borno state bore the full brunt as 17 of those 25 local governments were located in the state. It was so bad that Borno residents could not pray in mosques or churches and the streets of Maiduguri were deserted. Those local governments had neither electricity nor network coverage for four good years. Borno schools were burnt and destroyed, markets were closed down and businesses were scuttled. Social life was totally paralysed.
“Corruption aided the insurgency as money meant for arms was diverted by the previous administration. This forced Nigerian soldiers to flee at the approach of Boko Haram fighters. Our soldiers were taking refuge in neighbouring countries. But the picture is different today. No single local government is under Boko Haram control. The insurgents are the ones taking to their heels and their new guerrilla tactics prove the point that they have acknowledged the fact that they are facing superior forces.
“How can we forget so soon? Where were people like Hassan Kukah and the Christian protesters when Alex Badeh, a fellow Christian, and the CDS stole money meant for fighting terror. Yet Badeh knew that Boko Haram was attacking churches. What did Badeh do when he got intelligence that the terrorists were going to attack his village? He went there to evacuate his family with a military helicopter. Badeh later became a victim of the same insecurity which he had fueled.
“It is paradoxical that the same Hassan Kukah who condemned other Nigerians for their flair for criticizing their country in 2014 is the chief wailer in 2020. Even the blind can see clearly here that Hassan Kukah’s parameter for performance in government does not go beyond religion. He was a praise-singer in 2014 when a Christian was in power. His attitude changed from May 29, 2015 when a Muslim became the landlord of Aso Rock.
“It is painful that people are treating the recent upsurge in the attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in isolation. That is neither fair nor objective. Our soldiers are doing their very best. They are just human beings and there are no magicians in Aso Rock. Besides, guerilla warfare is not one in which you wipe out the rebels in a jiffy. The Northern Ireland conflicts, the Latin-American insurgence, the Second Indo-China War, the Soviet-Afghanistan struggle, the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Baltic anti-Soviet campaigns, etc lasted decades.
“MURIC appeals to Nigerians to be patient and understanding. We call on all and sundry to cooperate fully with the security agencies by giving them all necessary information about the activities and movements of insurgents and criminals.
“To the people of Maiduguri and environs, we appeal to you to redouble your Iman (faith). Some of you allowed yourselves to be used against a man who is doing everything possible to protect you and your properties. May Allah forgive you. Remember how those before you blamed Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for their woes and Allah chided them for their lack of understanding.
“Listen to what Allah told them, ‘Death can catch up with you wherever you may be, even if you are in towers of great height. If some good things happen to them, they say this is from Allah. But if misfortune occurs, they say this is from you (i.e. from the Prophet SAW). Tell them everything is from Allah. Why can’t these people understand?’ (Glorious Qur’an 4:78).
“We give assurance that you are not alone. You are always on our mind. You are in our prayers. Your safety is our concern. But do not play into the hands of the enemy by turning against Nigerian soldiers or by blaming a caring Federal Government. Our soldiers are your friends. Many of them have died for you and they are still falling on the battle field.
“MURIC salutes gallant Nigerian soldiers at the battle front. We call on top military hierarchy to up the game against the insurgents. We advise the governor of Borno State to be more diplomatic in his public utterances about military operations in the sub-region, to improve relationship with the military command in the state and to give more logistic support to Nigerian soldiers.
“To conclude this advocacy, we remind Nigerians of the need to set comparative yardsticks between insecurity in pre-2015 Nigeria and the present day. We call on the governor of Borno state to be more tactical in his comments about the military. We charge residents of the sub-region to show more taqwah (consciousness of Allah) in their attitude to their predicament.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)