Tuesday, June 30, 2020
1st July, 2020
MURIC TACKLES NCC, GLO, ON SIM REGISTRATION
An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has taken the National Communications Commission (NCC) to task over an incident in a Lagos GLO customer office which occurred on Monday 15th June, 2020 in which a Muslim lady, Mutiat Oba, was subjected to religious stigmatization. The group wants NCC to make a categorical statement on the manner of use of hijab by Muslim women during sim registration.
MURIC made the demand in a press statement signed by the Director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 1st July, 2020.
The Director explained further, “Mrs. Mutiat Oba was at the GLO customer office on Adeola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday, 15th June, 2020 between 1.30 and 3 pm to complain about her GLO sim card. She was advised to buy a new sim which would require registration.
“It was during capturing that the official, a lady who goes by the name ‘Banke’ asked her to expose her ears which were under the hijab as required by Islamic dressing rule. Mrs. Oba refused at first but was eventually pressurized to do so by ‘Banke’ who claimed that a newly procured equipment which was approved by NCC would not capture her face unless she exposed her ears. ‘Banke’ also claimed that it was not peculiar to GLO alone as all other telecoms have been instructed to do the same.
“The GLO official remained unconvinced even after Mrs. Mutiat Oba presented her driving licence and international passport both of which had her pictures in full hijab with covered ears. Even ‘Banke’s superior in the office (a lady with fair complexion) did not help matters as she also insisted that their customer must expose her ears for capturing. Depressed, humbled and intimidated, Mrs. Mutiat Oba agreed to expose her ears.
“MURIC strongly condemns the incident in GLO customer office. It is an encroachment on Allah-given fundamental human right of Mrs. Mutiat Oba, a law-abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the most odious and insidious religious stereotyping. It is also the most provocative and certificated Islam-bashing in recent time.
“MURIC hereby calls on NCC to clarify its true position. Was there any time that a directive emanated from NCC office to telecoms asking Muslim ladies in hijab to show their ears before capturing? If so, why? Is NCC unaware of the provisions of the law regarding freedom of religion, particularly ‘freedom to manifest’ as stipulated in Section 38 (i) & (ii) of the 1999 Constitution?
“Nigerian Muslims are asking NCC to make a categorical statement on this crucial issue. MURIC is asking NCC why such a directive was given if it was given at all. However, we are also requesting NCC to investigate the matter and take disciplinary action against GLO if NCC never issued such a directive. It means some non-Muslims are misusing their positions to pursue their selfish agenda of religious persecution.
“But can GLO claim innocence if NCC washes its hands off this stigmatization? Are we to believe that Glo is complicit? Who is to blame: NCC, GLO or GLO staffers? What is clear for now is that somebody acted ultra vires and there must be consequences otherwise the Nigerian project remains a sham, our democracy an illusion and our human right claim a mere hoax.
“This is the scenario that faces Muslim ladies in many government agencies, particularly in driving licence, international passport, national identity card offices. MURIC office has been inundated with complaints particularly in the South West because these oppressors dare not try it in the core North for fear of immediate backlash, often expected to be violent.
“Does it mean, therefore, that Muslims in the South West are being deliberately persecuted because they have never been known to be violent? Must we wait until Muslims in the region are pushed to the wall and they decide to defend themselves by any means possible?
“MURIC will continue to expose tyrants, oppressors and religious bigots whose preoccupation is the persecution of Muslims and the subjection of Muslim women to ridicle, contempt and public opprobrium with the aim of compelling Muslims to compromise their faith.
“MURIC will use every legitimate means available to seek redress if NCC fails to make clarifications on this matter within fourteen days from today. We will naturally assume that NCC is an accomplice and that the Commission tacitly gave the green light for the persecution of Muslim women in telecom offices. Meanwhile we appeal to Muslims around the country to remain calm and law-abiding as we are on top of the situation.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Thursday, June 25, 2020
26th June, 2020
ARREST OF ‘BANDITS’ :
MURIC TASKS AMOTEKUN ON ILE-IFE CRISIS
Many media houses reported that the Osun State Amotekun corps arrested some ‘bandits’ who tried to enter the state on Sunday, 21st June, 2020.
However, an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has advised Amotekun to focus its attention on attacks on the people of Ile-Ife by thugs sponsored by illegal miners. MURIC commended Amotekun for its alertness. It tasked Amotekun on professionalism and detribalized security consciousness. The organization also cautioned Amotekun against sensationalism.
MURIC spoke on Friday, 26th June, 2020 through its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
According to MURIC, “We commend Amotekun operatives for being alert. But they must always use the right description for those apprehended. Those suspects should not have been described as ‘bandits’. They did not have to be linked with the banditry going on in the North. Amotekun must be professional and totally detribalized if it wants to achieve the desired results.
“A lot of holes can be picked from the story of the so called ‘bandits’ arrested by Amotekun. Those suspects were probably thugs imported from Lagos, not ‘bandits’ as reported. The media quoted the commandant of Amotekun himself saying that they were ‘from Lagos State going to Itagunmodi mining site in Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun State’.
“We all know what has been happening in the illegal mining sites in the State of Osun. Thuggery and hooliganism reigns supreme as innocent residents are hounded while their homes are bombarded by flying missiles as a result of explosions at the mines. This is the situation in Ile-Ife as we speak. The citizenry is restless and the security situation has been compounded by the fact that powerful people in the town are behind the illegal mining and the persecution of the Ife people.
“In fact, a video clip in possession of MURIC shows the near-demolition of one Mr. Segun Awofolarin’s house at Asarinlegan, Ile-Ife, caused by heavy stones which landed on the roof and penetrated the bedrooms. Several other heavy stones landed like scud missiles on the baby’s cot, the bathroom and the entire compound. This incident occurred on Tuesday, 2nd June, 2020. The family was lucky to escape unhurt because they did not sleep at home on that day.
“Several petitions have been sent by the people of Ile-Ife to the state government. Accusing fingers have been pointed at imported thugs being used by powerful people sponsoring the miners to intimidate the residents. It was some of these thugs who were being transported to the mining sites to harass the people of Ile-Ife that the Amotekun men intercepted, not ‘bandits’. The crisis dates back to two or three years.
“MURIC appeals to the state government to use Amotekun boys in rescuing the Ife people from the hands of heartless businessmen who are bent on making life miserable for the poor masses in Ile-Ife. This should be the focus of Amotekun, not imaginary bandits and herdsmen. Ile-Ife is the cradle of Yorubaland. The town is therefore central to the success or failure attributed to Amotekun.
“We need Amotekun to combat internal security challenges and the situation in Ile-Ife is getting out of hand. Charity begins at home. Ife people are being chased out of their homes the same way bandits are chasing innocent people out of their homes in Katsina, Niger and some other Northern states. The police is reportedly handicapped. This challenge must go to Amotekun since the latter was established to complement police operations.
“It is however disturbing that the first report of arrests did not mention any weapons. It only said ‘assorted types of charms were recovered from two of the suspected bandits’. Something is wrong if all eighteen people in a bus are branded bandits when ordinary charms were found on only two of them. It was the second report which came 24 hours later that made reference to ‘multifarious matchets, cutlasses, shovels and assorted charms’.
“Even a five-year old child knows that ‘matchets and cutlasses’ are one and the same thing. So why duplicate it? This is an exercise in hyperbole. Are shovels also weapons? It is well known that labourers move around with the tools of their work and the unskilled labour from the North carrying their tools around is a common sight in the South. Must we victimize poor labourers? When did we stop being our brothers’ keepers? Amotekun is manifesting dire desertification of professionalism plus a pitiable passion for stigmatization.
“Contrary to the emotional headline which stated that the ‘bandits’ were arrested, it could be gathered from the story that Amotekun merely ‘sent them back to where they came from’. This is sheer sensationalism calculated to heat up the polity. It is absolutely unnecessary unless some people are working towards the destruction of this country. A security unit created for the purpose of maintaining peace and security must not work at cross-purposes with other law enforcement agencies. Neither should it create unnecessary fear.
“Those suspects should not have been allowed to go scot free. It exposes Amotekun’s lack of experience. The suspects have violated the general ban on interstate movement. They should have been arrested and prosecuted even if it is for that offence alone.
“MURIC supports the step taken by Yoruba governors to combat insecurity. Nothing is wrong with seeking to protect one’s state but emphasis must not be on any particular tribe as targets, suspects or culprits. We must de-emphasise north-south dichotomy in our search for solutions to our security challenges. Criminals must be apprehended without stereotyping any tribe or region.
“We advise leaders of all tribes to caution unscrupulous elements among their people against going to other states to engage in criminal activities. Such actions have the capacity to dent the image of their tribes. If you are a thief and you cannot stop stealing, steal in your state. Don’t go to other states to tarnish the image of your tribe. This advice goes to all ethnicities: Igbo, Ijaw, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba, etc because all tribes have their own criminals just as they all have their decent and hardworking citizens.
“Let us, therefore, address criminality and stop linking criminals with their tribes. Let us punish criminals, not other innocent people who happen to come from the criminal’s town or village. It is not a crime to be a Yoruba, an Igbo or Fulani. Any of us could have been born anywhere.
“MURIC sees the present problem of insecurity facing Nigeria as a crisis of values and the way to solve it is for all of us to re-examine our norms with a view to re-engineering societal values. Our goal should be to evolve a better society, not to criminalise any ethnicity.
For instance, the recent rise in rape cases is a challenge for Amotekun. How can four cases of rape and killing occur in Akinyele Local Government of Ibadan alone within one month and Amotekun cannot fish out the culprits in its own backyard? Is it herdsmen and Fulanis alone they are commissioned to apprehend?
“The danger in the stigmatization of any tribe by Amotekun lies in the exposure of Yoruba people living in other regions to danger. Are Amotekun authorities willing to sacrifice Yoruba people living outside the region? Those who fail to give justice and fairplay will heap injustice on their kith and kin in other places. Amotekun must be broadminded. Its operation must not be narrowed to looking for criminals from a particular tribe otherwise it will miss hundreds of criminals from other tribes.
“We remind Nigerians that Amotekun is still in its infancy and any growing infant must have teething problems. We therefore call on all Nigerians, particularly non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to monitor its activities in order to ensure transparency, accountability, justice and fairplay. This admonition should not surprise anyone since it is in the character of NGOs to monitor the activities of government agencies, including the police. Therefore, Amotekun cannot be an exception. This security outfit must not be allowed to grow into a tribal or religious Gestapo.
“On a last note, we commend Amotekun for its alertness but we advise the security outfit to focus its attention on attacks on the people of Ile-Ife by thugs sponsored by illegal miners and serial rapists who are defiling Yoruba women. We task Amotekun on professionalism. We call for detribalized security consciousness and caution against sensationalism.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Monday, June 22, 2020
23rd June, 2020
CONSIDER THE FRIDAY QUESTION IN YOUR TIME TABLE : MURIC TELLS WAEC
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) yesterday Monday 22nd June, 2020 debunked the report that it had released the May/June 2020 West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) timetable. The delay, according to WAEC, is due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
Reacting to this denial, an Islamic human rights association, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has reminded WAEC to take cognizance of the Muslim worship period on Fridays when it finally prepares its WASSCE timetable. The group’s advisory was contained in a press statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020.
MURIC said, “We welcome WAEC’s clarification with pleasure. We appreciate what the regional examination body is going through in terms of constant logistic realignment occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish to remind WAEC authorities of the need to take cognizance of the Friday Jumu’ah period for its Muslim candidates when preparing its timetable for WASSCE 2020 examination.
“The ugly incidents of the past when Muslim candidates had to write papers instead of observing the Jumu’ah prayer will no longer be accepted. It will be resisted with every legitimate means available. But to be forewarned is to be fore-armed. This is why we have decided to remind WAEC of the need to avoid encroaching on Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslim candidates in future examinations.
“WAEC should consider us as partners in progress. We are not enemies and we can always work together under the principle of mutual respect. Peace is always possible once the principle of equal rights, justice and fairplay are maintained. Unfortunately, however, everybody is talking about peace but nobody is talking about justice.
“WAEC has no right under the sun to schedule any examination during the Muslim Jumu’ah prayer in the same way as it will not contemplate scheduling any examination on a Sunday particularly during the Christian worship. Therefore, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
“Terrorism and all other forms of religious violence will disappear from Nigeria once there is equal right and justice. But the constant maltreatment of Muslims which amount to provocation has been behind most religious crisis which Nigeria has experienced.
“We believe that religious violence is mere smoke. Yet there is no smoke without fire. The fire which ignites religious violence is provocation and compelling Muslim candidates to write examinations during the Jumu’ah period while Christians are not subjected to the same treatment on Sunday constitutes extreme provocation. It is religious persecution per se.
“MURIC’s vision of Nigeria is that of a nation where people of all faiths are treated the same way; where Christians, Muslims and traditionalists 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.
“In our concluding remarks, we appeal to WAEC, other examination bodies and agencies to make equal rights and justice a cardinal principle. WAEC has just confirmed that its timetable is not ready yet. This implies that there is still ample time to plan its Friday subjects in such a way that it gives enough room for Muslims to go to the mosque and return without being put under undue pressure. The Friday question is very sensitive among Muslims and it is our humble opinion that WAEC will be engendering peace in Nigeria if it avoids fixing examinations during the Friday Jumu’ah prayer in all its future examinations.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
18th June, 2020
DELAY OPENING OF SCHOOLS, CHURCHES & MOSQUES - MURIC
The Federal Government (FG) on Tuesday 16th June, 2020 advised state governments to delay the resumption of schools until further notice. In another development, the Lagos State Government (LASG) yesterday suspended its decision to permit churches and mosques to commence their religious services.
Meanwhile the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has thrown its weight behind the two decisions. The Islamic human rights association supported FG on the need to delay the resumption of schools. It also endorsed LASG’s decision to postpone the opening of churches and mosques.
MURIC said, “We are on the same page with the Federal Government (FG) on the need for states to delay the resumption of schools. The stakes are still very high and the coast is still not clear. Beijing opened its schools a few weeks ago but it ordered their closure yesterday Wednesday 17th June, 2020 after the deadly COVID-19 made a come-back in China (https://www.foxnews.com/world/beijing-closing-schools-colleges-over-coronavirus-outbreak).
“The closure of schools weeks after they had been opened in Beijing has negative psychological impact on students and their parents. It is also capable of portraying the authorities as uncoordinated. A communist enclave like China can damn the political fallout but not in Nigeria where the norm is kindergarten democratic practices and everything here is politicized, including human lives. That is why we cannot afford to make the mistake of opening and closing again like Beijing.
“In like manner, we fully endorse the decision of the Lagos State Government (LASG) to suspend the opening of churches and mosques. The indices are highly unfavourable for opening places of religious assemblies. As at yesterday, Wednesday 17th June 2020, Lagos alone has confirmed 7,461 COVID-19 cases out of the total national figure of 17,148. This represents approximately 44%. Also of the 455 deaths nationwide, 82 occurred in Lagos State (NCDC site shows 107 deaths in Lagos: https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/). This is alarming enough particularly when compared to states like Abia, Ebonyi, Taraba and Benue which have registered zero death.
“Lagos has therefore taken the right step by suspending the reopening of churches and mosques. Even Saudi Arabia yesterday closed all mosques it ordered open two weeks ago. It should be noted that Lagos is a mega-city with a population of more than 17.5 million.
“We appeal to Lagos residents to exercise patience. We must understand that Lagos is the epicentre of this pandemic. There have been reports of deaths of key figures in the state in the last 72 hours and those deaths have been related to the deadly corona virus. A coalition of civil societies against COVID-19 that just concluded a webinar has painted a gloomy picture of the spread of the deadly virus at community level while unconfirmed report says a large number of deaths occurred in Lagos last week.
“We can worship God or Allah from the confines of our homes but we can no longer worship once we are in the graves. It is when we are alive that God needs us to worship Him. Dead men do not and cannot worship. In fact God does not need our worship anymore once we are dead. Death marks the beginning of accounts. So why don’t we stay at home and remain safe in order to be able to continue worshipping and adding positively to our good deeds?
“We must therefore be patient. We do not have to go far looking for God. God is everywhere: in the church, in our offices and our homes. The Bible says, “I am a God who is everywhere…’ (Jeremiah 23:23-33). ‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place…’ (Proverbs 15:3). The Bible says again, ‘God is a spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth’ (John 4:24).
“Allah occupies all spaces. He is accessible from home, from the mosque and in our workplaces. The Glorious Qur’an says, ‘To Allah belongs the East and the West. He is wherever you turn, for Allah is All-pervading, All-Knowing’ (2:115). Allah is near (Qur’an 2:186). Allah is closer to man than his jugular vein (Qur’an 50:16). Nigerians need to understand their religion and approach it with moderation.
“We appeal to state governments to cooperate with the FG by postponing the resumption of schools. We enjoin Lagos religious leaders and Lagos residents to show understanding by supporting LASG’s decision to suspend the opening of churches and mosques for now. It is not over until it is over.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, June 14, 2020
15th June, 2020
LOCKDOWN: BANKS SHOULD NOT SACK WORKERS - MURIC
An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has warned against retrenchment in the banking sector after the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19. MURIC argued that Nigerian banks do not need to sack workers because they are making huge profits.
This was the submission of MURIC in a press statement circulated to the media on Monday, 15th June, 2020 by the Director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“There has been palpable fear that Nigerian banks may soon embark on massive sack of workers due to the prolonged lockdown from March to June 2020. This fear is justified because of past experiences. Retrenchment is common among employers at the slightest excuse since Nigeria runs a capitalist laissez-faire economy. Nobody seems to care about the welfare of the proletariat.
“Although our message is directed mainly at the banking sector, it applies to all employers of labour as well, both public and private, federal and state. Banks particularly have no raison d’etre for retrenching workers this time around since they are making humongous returns.
“Exempli gratia, Unity Bank just announced N506.07 million quarterly profit on Friday 12th June, 2020 (https://punchng.com/unity-bank-records-n506-07m-quarterly-profit/). Guaranty Trust Bank’s profit before tax surged by 2.1% to N58.2 billion in the first quarter of 2020 (https://nairametrics.com/2020/04/23/guaranty-trust-banks-profit-before-tax-surges-by-2-1-to-n58-2-billion/).
“Zenith Bank recorded a 3% pre-tax rise to N58.7 billion around the same time (https://nairametrics.com/2020/04/30/zenith-banks-profit-before-tax-rises-by-3-to-n58-7-billion-in-q1-2020/). Access Bank posted N211b earnings with N45b profit (https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2020/04/26/access-bank-posts-n211bn-earnings-n45bn-profit-in-first-quarter/) while the United Bank of Africa (UBA) made N30b profit (https://businesspost.ng/banking/uba-declares-n30bn-profit-in-first-quarter-of-2020/).
“So how can these banks contemplate sacking any worker in spite of these gargantuan earnings? How can banks make billions of naira in profits and still decide to retrench workers under the guise of a lockdown? Why must management cader in banks and companies live like kings while other workers are laid off? It is common knowledge that morality cannot be found in the vocabulary of capitalism. But management cader of these banks should remember that what goes round comes around. They should not embark on an exercise which is bound to bounce back on them and their families. It may be long, but it will certainly do.
“Every single bank worker in Nigeria today is a bread-winner not only for his nuclear family but also for the extended relations, for friends and hanger-ons. In short every Nigerian worker today caters for between five to ten people. By sacking one therefore, eleven or more people have been deprived of their daily bread. The effect in social dynamics is astronomical increase in crime rate. You cannot shoot at rocks without getting richochets. It will affect those bank chief executives one way or the other since no man is an island, entire of himself.
“The banks should not worsen the poverty level in the country. 80 million Nigerians live below poverty line. In fact, the 2020 World Poverty Clock states that more than 102 million (102,407,327) Nigerians, representing more than half of the country’s estimated population, are in extreme poverty. This group lives on less than $1.90 per day (https://worldpoverty.io/map). 11 million Nigerians are undernourished. The average life span of Nigerians which was 70 years before independence is now 47. It is 82 in Japan and 78 in the United States.
“A situation where only 1% of the population has arrogated 85% of our common patrimony to itself leaving a paltry 15% of the total wealth to 99% of the population calls for urgent redistribution of wealth. Too many people are suffering. Too many people are poor. We must remake Nigeria. We need more jobs, not retrenchments.
“We therefore call on the Ministry of Labour to up its employment game. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) should watch out for the capitalist gimmicks of the banks and other employers. It is absolutely inhuman for those who are making huge profits to sack workers using the excuse of COVID-19-induced lockdown. This is the time the working class must put its feet down.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Sunday, June 7, 2020
8th June, 2020
OGUN HIJAB RULE: IT IS JUDICIAL NAMBY-PAMBY - MURIC
Justice Bamgbose Alabi of the Abeokuta High Court in Ogun State has ruled that “the use of hijab is considered a fundamental human right only for adults”. This formed the basis of his judgement on Thursday 4th June, 2020 in a case filed by Aishat Abdul-Aleem, an 11-year old Muslim girl who was sent out of school at the Gateway Secondary School, Abeokuta in December 2018.
In its reaction to this judgement, an Islamic human rights outfit, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has described the judgement as judicial namby-pamby. MURIC’s reaction was contained in a press statement issued by the Director of the organization on Monday, 8th June, 2020.
MURIC said, “We reject this judgement in its totality. What manner of judicial declaration is this? Is the judge telling us that minors have no religion, no fundamental human rights, not even a dot in social statistics? Is he telling us that minors do not exist? Why are minors counted during census? Why do we register them at birth? Is the killing of a minor judiciable or not? This judgment suffers from desertification of a human face. It has no soul. It is judicial namby-pamby.
“The ruling stands in contra-distinction to Section 38 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states inter alia, ‘No person attending any place of education shall be required … to take part in …ceremony or observance (which) relates to a religion other than his own or a religion not approved by his parent or guardian’.
“The above section has clearly and convincingly recognized the right of minors to enjoy fundamental human rights. It also placed them under the umbrella of their parents’ or guardians’ inalienable rights.
“By this arbitrary judgement, the judge has elected to discriminate against children on account of age. This is contrary to Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. What will happen if a case of rape of a minor is brought to this court? Can minors ever get redress in this court? Do minors even exist as far as this court is concerned?
“The judgement in the case of Aishat Abdul-Aleem is a judicial somersault. It is as arbitrary as it is absurd. It is equally an unprecedented miscarriage of justice. It cannot hold any water. We charge the litigants to approach an appellate court without delay.
“Previous judgements in hijab cases have set precedents which this judge has chosen to ignore. In the case of Abidemi Rasaq & 3Ors Vs Commissioner for Health Lagos State & 2 Ors, Suit No. ID/424M/2004, the Lagos High Court declared unconstitutional a circular issued by Lagos School of Health Technology banning the students from wearing hijab.
“Also in the case of Provost Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin vs Basirat Saliu Suit No. CA/IL/49/2009, the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Judicial Division held thus: ‘The use of veil (hijab) by female Muslims qualifies as a fundamental right under section 38 of the Constitution.’ Abeokuta High Court must tell us if Aishat Abdul-Aleem is not a female Muslim.
“The landmark declaration of the Court of Appeal in Lagos State v Miss Ashiat Abdkareem CA/L/135/15 still remains unchallenged. In his lead judgment, Justice Gumel held that the use of hijab was an Islamic injunction and also an act of worship hence it would constitute a violation of the appellants’ rights to stop them from wearing the hijab in public schools.
“MURIC considers the Abeokuta judgement an extension of the persecution of Muslims in Yorubaland to the judicial terrain. The honourable justice has simply returned Ogun State to the Stone Age. By ruling that minors are not covered in fundamental human right to use hijab, the court has denied Muslim parents the opportunity to train their children in the use of hijab from childhood.
“The Abeokuta ruling is another example of the persecution of Muslims in Yorubaland. It is only in Yorubaland that Muslims must approach the courts before they can secure their Allah-given fundamental human rights. It is only in Yorubaland that Muslims suffer psychological trauma on account of the persecution and humiliation that their children go through in the schools.
“Yet some extremist irredentists want Yoruba Muslims to support them in a secessionist move to create Oduduwa Republic from the present Nigeria. They want to take us from the frying pan into the fire. How can a child whose step-mother has always maltreated him agree to leave his father in order to follow the same wicked step-mother after a divorce?
“Yoruba Muslims are not getting the dividends of democracy in Yorubaland. They are treated like underdogs. But instead of taking to violence they head to the courts. Even then they are not getting justice in the courts. It is getting to boiling point and we are hoping that Yoruba Muslims will not put their backs to the wall very soon. We appeal to Muslims in Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria in general to remain calm. It may be a long road but we will get there one day. Nonetheless, the road must not be painted in red.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
Thursday, June 4, 2020
5th June, 2020
UNMARKED LANES CAUSING ACCIDENTS ON EXPRESSWAYS
An Islamic human rights outfit, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has decried the frequency of accidents on Nigerian expressways. The group lamented the high human toll and blamed the trend on the failure of construction companies to mark the lanes on expressways. The group called on the construction companies to place more value on human lives than the money they make from road contracts.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the Director of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Friday, 5th June, 2020.
“We are greatly worried by the current trend whereby road building companies fail to mark the lanes on expressways. Indeed, we are perturbed that most of the culprits are foreign companies. Does it mean that they do not care about Nigerian lives? Is this how expressways are left unmarked in their own countries?
“Construction companies handling road projects now have the habit of leaving the expressways unmarked thereby making it difficult for drivers to stay on their lanes and to know when they foray into other lanes. The failure of the road builders to demarcate the lanes with white bold paints has been largely responsible for several accidents not only on Lagos-Ibadan expressway but also on many other expressways across the country.
“But it is most pronounced on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. For example, five people were killed in a fatal accident which occurred near Danco Petrol Station, Shagamu on Lagos-Ibadan expressway on Saturday, 30th May, 2020. Nine other people were critically injured in the accident. Four people had died while four others sustained injuries three days earlier in another accident which occurred around Pipeline Junction, Ogere, on the same Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It is a daily occurrence.
“The statistics are stunning. According to the Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) an average of 12 people died daily in 2019 in road accidents across Nigeria. 28,195 people died in road accidents in 68 months. 5,400 people died in 12,077 road accidents in 2015. Nigeria had 11,363 accidents in 2016 with 5,063 fatalities. There were 10,026 accidents in 2017 with 5,049 deaths. 2,598 Nigerians died in road accidents between October 2017 and March 2018.
“We strongly condemn this waste of human life. It is careless, inhuman and very irresponsible for construction companies to build expressways without marking the lanes. Why do you think road signs are placed in strategic places in cities? Is it not for the purpose of guiding motorists as well as pedestrians? Marked lanes also serve the purpose of guiding motorists, keeping them steadily on their lanes, warning them regarding where they can or cannot overtake, alerting them to dangerous bends ahead and generally making the road safe for all.
“It is therefore high time construction companies demonstrated care for Nigerians by marking lanes on expressways. MURIC places high value on human life. The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is concerned because Islam as a religion places high premium on human life. Nigerians are not cheap chickens whose lives do not matter. Every Nigerian life is vital to the nation’s economic development.
“We are calling the attention of the federal and state governments to the proliferation of road accidents particularly on expressways. We are also putting the blame squarely on companies who fail to demarcate expressway lanes in conformity with global best practices. While we acknowledge the giant strides made by the Buhari administration in infrastructural development, the failure of expressway builders to demarcate lanes may whittle down the huge success achieved in this direction.
“We charge road-builders to add a human face to their profession. They should show some modicum of concern for the lives of Nigerians, not just the money they expect from the contracts. The safety and dignity of the Nigerian must be respected by all construction companies at all times.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)