Sunday, October 24, 2021



25th October, 2021




As public discourse in Nigeria zeroes in on the 2023 presidential election, an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has reaffirmed its preference for a presidential candidate from the Yoruba Muslim stock. MURIC argues that no Yoruba Muslim has ever occupied Aso Rock either as a president or vice president since indepence in 1960 whereas three Yoruba Christians have enjoyed that luxury.



This was made known in a statement issued on Monday, 25th October, 2021, by the director and founder of the human rights organisation, Professor Ishaq Akintola.



MURIC said, “As public discourse in Nigeria zeroes in on the 2023 presidential election, we see the need for us to reiterate our position on the need for a Yoruba Muslim presidential candidate from the South West. This we find necessary in view of the proclivity of Nigerians for mass amnesia.



“First, it is imperative that we remind Nigerians that this is not the first time that MURIC is making a case for a Yoruba Muslim president. In fact it is the fourth time and we have the record.



“Our first statement on the matter was issued on 23rd February, 2021 and it was captioned ‘Why Has No Yoruba Muslim Ever Occupied Aso Rock?’



The second statement on it was on 11th May, 2021 under the title ‘On Yoruba Muslim Presidential Candidate We Stand: MURIC Tells Obasanjo. That statement was made when feelers emerged that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was trying to draft the current president of the African Development Bank (ADB), Akinwunmi Adesina, to the contest for the highest position in the country.



“The third occasion was on 7th June, 2021 when we noticed that mischief makers were trying to use our position on the matter to create religious acrimony. They deliberately misquoted us and claimed that MURIC had rejected Christian candidates whereas that was not true. It is still not true. That clarification was made under the title ‘MURIC Clarifies Statement on Yoruba Muslim President’.



“Our claim that we have issued three separate statements on the matter is verifiable and the following links can be checked by those who are interested : (; (; (



“We find it necessary to reaffirm our position today because presidential candidates are now warming up while the political parties are mapping out their strategies for 2023. This is the time to send out a reminder to the leadership of all political parties.



“The circumstances which led to those statements are as valid today as they were in February 2021 when we issued the first statement. No Yoruba Muslim has emerged as president since independence. Mathew Olusegun Obasanjo has been president twice: once as a military head of state (1976 – 79) and as a civilian president (1999 -2007). Earnest Shonekan was an interim head of state (August 1993 – November 1993). Today we still have a Yoruba Vice President who is also a Christian (Professor Yemi Osinbajo).



“In the same vein, it has been persecution and stigmatisation galore for Yoruba Muslims since independence. They are denied almost all civil liberties. Admission seekers who are Muslims are denied attractive courses in tertiary institutions. It is easier for an elephant to pass through a needle’s eye than for a Yoruba Muslim graduate to secure employment. Yoruba Muslims are marginalized in political appointments.



“To make matters worse, Yoruba Muslim women who use hijab are deprived of the dividends of democracy in several ways. Many cannot get international passports, driving licences and voters registration cards because they are asked to remove their hijab for capturing. School authorities take the cue by humiliating hijab-wearing female Muslim students and the courts in the South West are littered with litigations on this ignoble stereotyping.



“MURIC’s office has been inundated with complaints of profiling of Muslims and flagrant infringements of their Allah-given fundamental human rights. Yoruba Muslims are denied rights which are clearly written in the constitution and which their fellow Muslims enjoy in Northern Nigeria. What government officials and workers dare not try with Muslims in the North are perpetrated in the South West with shocking impunity. We therefore assert clearly, unequivocally and authoritatively that Yoruba Muslims are endangered species.



“It is our belief that Yoruba Muslims need federal might to eliminate or at least scale down the tornado of oppression and the Tsunami of anti-Muslim sentiment that pervades the South West. Only a Yoruba Muslim president who knows what has been happening can do this effectively. Who feels it knows it.



“For microscopic clarity, however, we assure Nigerians that our desire for a Yoruba Muslim presidential candidate is not for a pound of flesh from Yoruba Christians and their government officials who have been oppressing Muslims in the region for ages. Rather it is for a president who will rescue Yoruba Muslims from the shackles of religious apartheid without denying the Christians their fundamental human rights.



“Again, it is important to state that this is not a categorical statement for the rejection of a Christian presidential candidate in Nigeria. This statement is on the South West alone. We have no objection to a Christian from any other part of Nigeria emerging as the presidential candidate. What we are saying is that a Muslim should be picked if the 2023 presidential candidature is zoned to the South West by any political party.



“For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC has no favourite political party in this affair. Any political party that picks a Yoruba Christian as its presidential candidate come 2023 should simply kiss Yoruba Muslim votes goodbye. No political party should tell us that they cannot find competent Yoruba Muslims.



“Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu is a Muslim, a manufacturer of leaders and a mentor of performers. Dr. Muiz Banire is a Muslim. Lagos deputy governor, Dr. Kadiri Obafemi Hamzat, is a Muslim. Fashola, Aregbesola, Oloyede, Senator Fatai Buhari, Dr. Abdul Lateef Abdul Hakeem, etc are Muslims of Yoruba stock who have distinguished themselves in public office. Stop marginalizing Yoruba Muslims. We have the stuff. On Yoruba Muslim presidential candidate we stand.



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


Thursday, October 21, 2021



22nd October, 2021




An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to the Federal Government (FG) to ignore the allegation made by the visiting Turkish leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that Turkish terrorists were in Nigeria. The group advised FG to key into the pragmatic gains of the visit rather than dissipate energy on a wild goose chase.



MURIC’s advice was delivered by its director and founder, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Friday, 22nd October, 2021 via a public statement.



The statement reads :


“We heartily welcome the bilateral agreements signed by Nigeria and Turkey as they have the potential to boost economic and military advancement in both countries. However, we take the Turkish president’s allegation that there are Turkish terrorists in Nigeria with a pinch of salt. It is false, baseless and of no consequence whatsoever.



“We are aware of the existence of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists in the country but we reject the attempt to label innocent Turkish citizens as terrorists just because there is a political difference between them and their president.



“Nigerian opposition groups are spread all over Europe and America but President Buhari does not label them as terrorists. Neither does he tell his hosts to haunt them. Instead, he treats all Nigerian citizens at home and in diaspora as his own children. This is one area President Erdogan of Turkey needs to look into. He derailed by veering into the issue of opposition members from his country who reside in Nigeria. He should have ignored them.



“We acknowledge Erdogan’s role as a leading mouthpiece of the Muslim world and a stout defender of Islam particularly against Western stigmatization. But that does not confer on him the right to label the opposition in his country as terrorists and to haunt them all over the place. Erdogan should stick to what we know him for as the unrelenting defender of world Muslims.



“Neither should Erdogan’s humongous Muslim hero image becloud or diminish MURIC’s commitment to protecting Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims in Nigeria, be it individual or group. This is where the issue of protecting the rights of members of HIzmet in Nigeria comes in.



“These people are our fellow Muslims. It does not matter whether they are foreigners or Nigerians. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said. ‘A Muslim is a brother to a fellow Muslim’ (al-Muslim akhul-Muslim). Interestingly enough, we have not heard of their involvement in any violent activity since their sojourn in this country.



“Or is it terrorism to build hospitals and establish schools? The terrorists that we know (Boko Haram) blow up schools and hospitals. Is it terrorism to build boreholes for public schools? Is it terrorism to assist Nigerians on hajj and sacrificial animals? Erdogan is our hero as a defender of Islam but his allegation of terrorism against these people does not hold any water at all.    



“What we know of them is that they build primary and secondary schools, universities and hospitals. They also engage in humanitarian services, assisting poor Muslims to meet religious obligations like hajj and sacrificial animals. They have been in this country for more than 20 years (even before Erdogan became Prime Minister) and some of the institutions established by them in Nigeria are two decades old already. A coup which allegedly occurred in Turkey five years ago while these people were still in Nigeria should not be hanged on their necks.



“Unfortunately they are already being punished for what took place in their absence as they are not allowed to return to Turkey ever since the coup. Members of their families (wives, husbands, children, etc) who are in Turkey are not allowed to travel out to join them.



“We can understand the sentiment felt by any Muslim who regards Erdogan as a hero. We also acknowledge that fact but MURIC is a human rights group trained to identify and focus on infringements of Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslim individuals and groups. We cannot allow ourselves to be carried away by emotions of hero-worshipping. Our rights are our rights and Muslim rights are Muslims rights.



“Besides, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in his hadith advocated kindness to guests. He said, ‘Anyone who believes in Allah and the last day should honour his guest’. By inference, Turkish citizens in Nigeria and indeed all foreigners in this country are our guests and we should treat them with kindness. We should also protect them.



“This is what MURIC is doing regarding members of Hizmet in the country and we will not stop doing so until we see evidence of their involvement in terrorist acts. It is evil to label innocent people as terrorists. We will not subscribe to such diabolical act. We know how it feels to be falsely accused. We have been labelled as terrorists before. Who feels it knows it. We are determined to stand by these innocent Muslims.



“Why is MURIC going so far? We are doing all these because Allah commands Muslims to forbid evil (Glorious Qur’an 3:104). The Qur’an describes Muslims as a people who enjoin righteousness and forbid evil (3:110). Prophet Luqman commanded his son to forbid evil (31:17) and Muslims are reminded by their Imams during the khutbah every Friday to avoid evil (16:90). The fact is that anyone who protects our human rights is fighting or forbidding evil and anyone who forbids evil in any form is a human rights activist.



“It is to this extent that we must take a critical look at the sufferings of those who have been denied the right of return to their countries and those who have been disallowed from joining their families. MURIC as a human rights group may recognise the heroic deeds of Erdogan but at the same time we will be failing in our duty if we do not protect fellow Muslims who are facing persecution.



“To stay in character, MURIC also has a duty to speak up for Erdogan tomorrow if any Western country targets him for stereotyping. Erdogan should continue to confront Western countries who demonise Islam instead of persecuting powerless humanitarian workers and destroying products of decades of their hardwork.



It is fashionable these days to label political opponents and perceived enemies as terrorists. It is all in an effort to manufacture legitimate allegations which can be used to destroy opponents and most despots do this nowadays. It is a strategy used by opportunists to destroy the opposition. They give the dog a bad name in order to hang it.



“In May 2021 Algeria labelled the opposition (MAK) as a terrorist group. Blacks involved in Black Lives Matter protests were called terrorists by Donald Trump. A leading scholar of terrorism, Brian Jenkins, pulled the rug from under despots when he observed in 1981 that terrorism ‘is what the bad guys do’. In other words, terrorism is anything the opposition does. Like Trump, like Erdogan.



“Nonetheless, FG deserves accolades for securing eight bilateral agreements with Turkey. Some of the agreements include security, energy, mining and hydrocarbons. We advise FG to key into these pragmatic gains of the visit rather than dissipate energy on a wild goose chase. FG should ignore the allegation because Erdogan has no single shred of evidence. It is false, baseless and of no consequence whatsoever.”



Professor Ishaq Akintola,


Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)