Monday, March 29, 2021



30th March, 2021 





The Nigerian Army plans to commence the training of new recruits from Monday 12th April, 2021. However, the Nigerian Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has appealed for a postponement of the exercise due to the Ramadan fast season which may begin the next day, Tuesday, 13th April, 2021. MURIC hinged its plea on the need for new Muslim recruits to be able to focus on the training mentally and spiritually with enough energy to face the rigours of the exercise.


MURIC’s appeal was channelled through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola who issued a statement on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021.


The appeal reads:


“The Nigerian Army is billed to commence the training of new recruits in two weeks, around the 12th of April, 2021. Coincidentally, Muslims around the world may start their annual fasting in the month of Ramadan the next day (13th April, 2021.



“Fasting in the month of Ramadan is mandatory upon adult Muslims as prescribed in the Glorious Qur’an, ‘Oh you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain piety’ (Qur’an 2:183). Fasting in this month is also one of the five pillars of Islam, none of which a Muslim can ignore.



“For this reason, Muslims take the exercise very serious and they will not wish to miss it for any reason except illness, pregnancy or when on a long journey. In fact some countries reduce both school and working hours for their students and workers during this period. This is because those who are fasting can neither eat nor drink from dawn till dusk thereby making them to become easily tired particularly from noon till sunset.



“Meanwhile military training is an energy-sapping exercise for which a person who is fasting may be unfit. He is prone to dehydration. He may not be able to concentrate fully, may get tired easily and may actually come to harm due to the rigours of the training. Although total fitness and full readiness for combat is the aim of military training, the Nigerian Army may not be able to get the best out of Muslim recruits who are fasting. Therefore the purpose may be defeated. Worse still, casualties may be recorded during the training.



“In order to register a hitch-free and successful training exercise, therefore, we appeal to the Nigerian Army to postpone the exercise billed to begin on Monday, 12th April, 2021 till the middle of May when Ramadan would have ended.



“Our appeal should not be misconstrued as sheer sentiment. Neither are we unaware of the security challenges facing our dear nation which necessitates the recruitment of more men into the armed forces. But just as man is body, soul and spirit, so is a nation. The war against insurgency, the fight against kidnappers, bandits and all other criminals cannot be won on the battle field alone.



“We need spiritual warfare to weaken the insurgents and cause confusion within their rank and file. We need prayers to expose kidnappers. We need Allah’s divine intervention to soften the hearts of bandits and transform them into useful citizens. Ramadan season is the ideal period to seek divine intervention in Nigeria’s security challenges as well as other problems. It is a well-known fact that Muslims engage in deep spiritual exercises during Ramadan than at any other time of the year. The Nigerian Army should leverage on this.



“With prayers, Allah can give victory to Nigerian troops even where the insurgents outnumber them. The army of Prophet Daud (peace be upon him) routed that of Jalut (Goliath) even though the former was outnumbered (Qur’an 2:249). In the Battle of Badr in 623 C. E., only 313 Muslim warriors defeated 1,000 enemy fighters.



“Allah can fight for Nigerian soldiers if faith is allowed to permeate them. The Glorious Qur’an says, ‘Yes, if you exercise patience and you fear Allah, even if the enemy should rush here at you, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels, making a terrific onslaught’ (3:125).



“Therefore, our message to the leadership of the Nigerian Army is this: be patient and fear your Lord. Allow your new intakes to fast this Ramadan before you commence training for them and watch how your Lord will weaken the enemy for you. For giving Him priority, your Lord will double the strength of your forces. He will give you invissible fighters. Every single bullet fired at the enemies of peace in this country will become a divinely guided missile (Qur’an 8:17).



“We call on Nigerians to pray for the success of operations embarked upon by the army and to also pray for peace, stability and economic prosperity for our great country, Nigeria.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) 



Tuesday, March 23, 2021



24th March, 2021 





The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday moved against the hijab bill which has scaled through the second reading in the House of Representatives. The bill is titled ‘Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill 2021’. CAN’s opposition to the bill came through a statement issued yesterday by its secretary, Joseph Daramola, who argued that legislating the wearing of hijab in schools would lead to the trouble that the sponsors of the bill may not be able to handle. Daramola claimed that the bill is ill-timed and uncalled for.


But the Nigerian Islamic human rights group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has described CAN’s opposition to the freedom bill as conservative and reactionary. MURIC urged lawmakers to go ahead with the bill as it is not designed for hijab rights alone. The Muslim rights advocacy argued that the bill also aims at liberating Nigerian workers and women from discrimination.



MURIC reacted to CAN’s statement through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.



According to MURIC, “CAN is not talking about morality, legality and justice in its opposition to the bill. CAN is not interested in whether it is right or wrong. The only thing CAN is interested in is to impose its own whims and caprices on the lawmakers by threatening fire and brimstone. Imagine CAN’s words, ‘We are not against the wearing of hijab in public and Islamic schools but our schools should not be included unless those states are looking for trouble’.



“CAN refers to missionnary schools which were taken over by the Gowon decree of 1974 as ‘our schools’. That is a misnomer. Those schools ceased to be missionary schools a long time ago. CAN will therefore be living in self-denial if it continues to refer to them as ‘our schools’. These are schools being fully funded by the government. Teachers’ appointments, promotion, salaries, entitlements, etc are in the hands of government. Is their any doubt about who owns the schools? It should be noted that both the Christians and Muslims were fully compensated when government took over their schools.


“We note the use of the highly combustible word ‘trouble’ at the end of CAN’s sentence. Why must it be about ‘trouble’? Why not about the law? Why not about fairness? Why not about equity? Why not about justice? CAN is trying to scare the lawmakers. Its statement is full of threats. But we are not bothered. The process must take its due course. This is about law-making and the honourable members are not morons. They know what the bill means from the point of law and within the context of the Nigerian constitution. They have also been following events around the country and even outside the shores of Nigeria.



“The job of the people’s representatives is to enact laws that will liberate the citizens, laws that will break the shackle of oppression, laws that will neutralise tyrants, laws that will spell out the rights of the proletariat to the chagrin of the bullying capitalist compradore bourgeoisie.



“CAN said the bill is ‘ill-timed’. How can a bill seeking freedom from oppression be ill-timed? Everyday is the day of freedom. Every moment is the moment of liberty. It is only the 21st century disciples of Pieter Willem Botha and F. W. de Klerk who remain ideologues of ‘No freedom today’. Those who postpone the day of liberty live to crane their necks from the narrow confines of their bedroom windows as liberty train cruises by.  



“CAN said the bill is uncalled for. They can say that to the marines. The cruel treatment of female Muslim students by Christian teachers over hijab called for the bill. The expulsion of Muslim students in the International School of the University of Ibadan called for it. The expulsion of Miss Aisha Abdul Aleem from a secondary school in Abeokuta called for it. The refusal to allow Amasa Firdaus to be called to bar in the first instance called for it. Nay, this bill is not only called, it is also chosen.  



“The world is changing but CAN is averse to change. Democracy has gone digital but CAN still sees it with analogue eyes. Even colonialist Britain recognised the need to let people go. It granted independence to countries within its empire decades ago. Today Britain allows hijab in its schools. Go to Britain and see freedom. American schools allow hijab. Canada, Latin America and the rest of Europe have seen the light. Baptist College in Australia changed its school uniform to accommodate hijab-wearing students in 2019.


“But here in Nigeria, CAN, an ultra-conservative body, wants to drag Nigerians back into darkness after we have seen the light. It had better not be. CAN is the most conservative and reactionary organisation in Nigeria today. CAN is neck deep in gymnastic religiousity. The hijab bill must go ahead. The people’s representatives must boldly march forward. Distinguished reps must not allow CAN to scare this honourable House.



“Besides, this bill is not about hijab wearing alone. It is about freedom from all sorts of discrimination in workplaces and all public spaces. For instance, it will free a poor man from harassment if he enters a five star hotel or empower him to sue anyone who attempts to embarrass him. A female worker will be able to cite it if she is discriminated against on account of her being a female.



“This is freedom bill. It is the people’s bill but CAN wants to kill it. It is not only for religion or hijab. It is about the people’s fundamental human rights. Honourable members must not allow our oppressor to have his way. We seek the protection of the distinguished members of the House from the tyranny of CAN.



“Fortunately we are not in a military dispensation where CAN can just use its influence anyhow. This is a democracy for crying out loud. Nigerian Muslims are entitled to the dividends of democracy and sponsorship of bills in the legislature is one of the dividends of democracy. In fact it is a major landmark.   



“It is the selfish wish of CAN to monopolise everything, including legislation. If it were possible, CAN would turn back the hands of the clock and take Nigeria back to apartheid South Africa where ‘Dogs and blacks not allowed’ to enter certain clubs, swinmming pools, etc, except that CAN would replace the word ‘blacks’ with ‘Muslims’.



“MURIC therefore urges honourable members of the House to ignore CAN’s rantings and go ahead with the freedom from discrimination bill. We charge lawmakers to resist CAN’s intimidation and coercion. This is the time for lawmakers to stand up for justice, truth and righteousness.



“Nigerians are yearning for freedom. The poor masses are working under severe conditions particularly in expartriate companies. They are suffering and they are looking up to their representatives for liberation. Extant laws are not enough to set them free. This bill is exactly what they need to emancipate them from tyranny, oppression and persecution. CAN is a distraction. Go ahead and do the job for which you were elected. Set the people free.



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) 


Monday, March 22, 2021



23rd March, 2021 





Nigerians of all tribes have been urged to expose bad eggs among them instead of stigmatising a particular tribe alone if we want a quick solution to the current security challenges in the country. The advice was given by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) in a press statement issued on Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021 by the director of the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Professor Ishaq Akintola.



MURIC gave the advice against the backdrop of the story of a Fulani kidnapper, Usman Hasan, who had kidnapped and killed a farmer in Solalu village, Oyo State, after collecting ransom. He escaped to Ogun State where he tried to form another kidnapping gang by recruiting fellow Fulanis. But the Fulanis whom he tried to recruit reported him to the police.



“Here we have an example of good Fulanis.We need more of such actions from the Fulani living in all parts of the country. The Fulani must work in concert with their host communities and the security agencies to expose bad eggs among them. This role should not be restricted to the Fulani alone. Security must be everybody’s concern. All tribes must be involved. The Igbo, Yoruba and Tiv must ensure that the bad eggs among them are exposed.



“Focusing on the Fulani alone will only worsen the security challenges facing us as a people. It will enable the real criminals who are non-Fulanis to get away with their crime. Some may actually hang their atrocities on the Fulani even though they are the culprits and they know it.



“A good example of non-Fulani criminals who try to pin their crime on Fulanis is the recent case of Samuel Udoetok Wills and John Orji. These are two Nigerians recently sentenced to death in Ghana for kidnapping and killing four girls. During negotiation for ransom, Samuel gave his name as Buba Muhammed. He said he was a Fulani herdsman. So the security agencies began hunting for Fulanis in the area. But after he was arrested, the police discovered that his Nigerian passport had the name Samuel Udoetok Wills and it became clear that he had tried to hide behind the fa├žade of the wrong public perception about Fulani herdsmen.



“There is an urgent need to de-escalate tension particularly on the demonization of the Fulani people. Criminals exist in all tribes just as great men exist in all of them. The great Zik of Africa, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo man, was one of the greatest minds Nigeria ever produced. Chinua Achebe authored some of the best literature materials in circulation today. He was an Igbo man. But Evans the kidnapper came up as the black sheep in the Igbo family.



“Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the best president Nigeria never had. He liberated millions of the Yoruba people from the shackles of ignorance. Professor Wole Soyinka is today a household name, not only among the Yoruba but throughout the world. The greatest symbol of democracy in Nigeria, Chief M. K. O. Abiola, was a Yoruba. The greatest human rights giant in Nigeria, late Gani Fawehinmi, was a Yoruba man. So is the greatest human rights activist and living legend, Femi Falana. Yet Babatunde Folorunso and Oyenusi, the most feared and ruthless armed robbers of their time, were of Yoruba stock.



“The Fulani are also of no less noble stuff. They have produced men of timber, calibre and caterpillar in all fields. Prof. Iya Abubakar, a Fulani, had 1st Class in Mathematics from the University of Ibadan. He proceeded to the United Kingdom for his doctorate degree in Mathematics and became the first northerner to get a Ph.D. in that discipline. Professor Jibril Aminu is also a great Fulani academic, politician and public administrator. Alhaji Ahmed Joda is a well-known cardiologist and former Federal Permanent Secretary, a former chairman, National Communication Commission, (NCC) as well as current Pro-Chancellor of Bell University, Ota. The list is endless. Therefore, Usman Hassan, the Fulani kidnapper and a few bad eggs among Fulani herders, should not be used as index figures of the tribe.



“Nigerians should stop castigating any tribe, whether Igbo, Fulani or Yoruba. We are all great people and we should love one another instead of hurling stigma all over the place. Let us spread charity from the North to the South, from the East to the West. Let us eschew malice, bitterness, pettiness, envy and jealousy. The sky is wide enough for every Nigerian who has wings to fly.



“Our current security challenges will melt away like ice cream in the hot sun if we all admit that there are bad eggs among us and demonstrate the will to expose them instead of stigmatizing the Fulani in our midst. There are many examples of distractions caused by false allegations against the Fulani people. These false allegations enable the real criminals to get away.



“The latest example is that of the arrest of Pa Olawuwo, a PDP chieftain who was alleged to have been involved in the killing of Dr. Aborode. Unfortunately this was a murder that had been pinned on the Fulani and on account of which they were attacked and sacked in Igangan. It is to the credit of Northerners that they have exercised uncommon restraint in the face of outrageous provocation.



“What herders must stop is the destruction of farms by their cows. Farmers deserve respect and honour for tilling the land and feeding the nation. It is the height of wickedness and insensitivity for a farmer to clear the land, sow the seed and do the weeding, only for cows to eat up everything just when the poor farmer is getting ready to harvest. The Federal Government (FG) must find solution to this ugly trend. We have suggested that FG should give cow owners bailout funds to set up ranches. Open grazing must stop and those who fall foul of anti-grazing law must be punished.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)