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
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.
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
“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
Rights Concern (MURIC
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
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
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
“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)
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
MURIC lauded the state government in a
statement issued by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 25th
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).
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
“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.
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)
TO SULTAN WITHIN 7 DAYS
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.
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?
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 ‘Countering Violent Extremism for Peaceful Coexistence’. The
event was 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
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
“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.
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.
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).
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)
MURIC TO WAEC: CHANGE YOUR ANTI-MUSLIM
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
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
“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
“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?
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
“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
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
AUNO KILLINGS: STOP CHIDING
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.
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.
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
“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
“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
“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)