Friday, 23rd December, 2023
MURIC ABUJA TO OYO DSS: IS
MUSLIM RIGHTS ACTIVISM A CRIME?
It came to our knowledge that men of the
Department of State Security Services (DSS), Ibadan, Oyo State, invited the
director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, to
come from Lagos to Ibadan for questioning simply because he spoke against a
school principal who forced Muslim students to sing Christmas carol and he also
criticized the state governor for doing nothing on the several cases of
repression of Muslim students in the state.
While we acknowledge the vital role DSS is playing
in maintaining security, we are of the opinion that this invitation is full of
risks. People are being kidnapped on Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the city of
Ibadan itself is under siege from political thugs, hooligans and hoodlums most
of whom enjoy the patronage of the state government whose governor MURIC
It therefore becomes double risk for our director
to honour the invitation from such a distance without proper investigation. Our
director has no bodyguards. What if he is attacked by political thugs at Ibadan
toll gate? Some people are not comfortable with the role played by MURIC during
elections and they may want him out of circulation, at least for the period of
the elections only to be released after the election is over?
What if such people arrange for him to be ambushed
and kidnapped. Will DSS Ibadan office admit that they were the ones who invited
him to Ibadan?
The fact that the invitation came through a phone
call makes it more risky because we are still not sure if indeed it was the DSS
Ibadan office that called him in the first place. Kidnappers play many tricks
these days. It would have been better if the DSS had brought a written
The Osun State chapter of MURIC demanded for a
written invitation in a press statement issued a few days ago but DSS Oyo State
has ignored their request. It makes us doubt the origin of that invitation.
We are of the opinion that the DSS Oyo state is
under the guidance of ethical behaviour as laid down in its rules of engagement
and it should behave as such without any bias or intimidation from any quarters
whatsoever the situation may be. Our director, Professor. Ishaq Akintola has no
relationship with either Boko Haram or ISWAP. Rather, he founded a peaceful
Islamic human rights organization whose motto is ‘Dialogue, No Violence’ and
the group has remained loyal to its avowed motto to date.
That is why Professor Ishaq Akintola and his
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has never been associated with any crime, act of
violence or immorality up till today. We are therefore surprised that the DSS
of Oyo State has invited this peace-loving Muslim rights activist simply
because he questioned the forceful involvement of Muslim students in singing
Christmas carol. We are asking ‘Is that a Crime?’
Why then has the DSS Oyo State invited our
director? Or is it because he said Muslims should vote out Governor Makinde of
Oyo State for condoning the repression of Muslim students in the state’s public
schools? How many pastors has the DSS Oyo State invited for their provocative
The DSS is a respected security institution. Oyo
State DSS should not tarnish this good image by allowing itself to become a
tool of persecution in the hands of the state governor. Besides, MURIC has
always appreciated the role of all the security agencies in curbing insecurity
in Nigeria and we have always condemned those unpatriotic elements who kill
security agents and destroy their buildings. So what is our crime now?
It is well known that Yoruba Muslims are going through
a lot of persecution and marginalization. MURIC happens to have been very vocal
in condemning the violation of the fundamental human rights of Yoruba Muslims
not only in Oyo State, or the South West but in Nigeria as a whole. The
struggle for human rights has become a task of doing the right thing for the
right people in this country.
As such, Oyo State DSS ought to get the TRUTH
reaching out to the reality on ground rather than taking steps capable of
silencing the voice of the oppressed Muslims of Nigeria. As an institution of
the federal republic of Nigeria, DSS is accountable and responsible to the
entire Nigeria communities irrespective of their social, religious and political
affiliation. DSS should be conscious of the rights of the Muslim Ummah as well
as the rights of the Christians in Nigeria and it should not try to silence any
The invitation from Oyo State DSS to the Director
of MURIC is seen by Nigerian Muslims as an attack on free speech among Muslims.
It is being interpreted as meaning that Christians can say whatever they like
but Muslims should keep quiet. DSS headquarters in Abuja has never been
influenced by the current president of Nigeria to invite or arrest any of his
bitter critics particularly pastors who spit out nothing but lies and
incitement on a daily basis against this gentleman president.
We advise DSS Oyo State to learn from its
headquarters. The invitation to Akintola is already creating tension among
Nigerian Muslims. What we need most now in Nigeria is peace. DSS Oyo State does
not have to obey unlawful ‘instructions’ from anybody in the state. They
shouldn't complicate the socio-economic stability in the South West.
The Christian political and business elite in the South
West has been in government as Governors, Deputy-Governors and commissioners
for the past two decades excluding the Muslims out of the political space in
Nigeria. Balance of the skewed political structures on this point is what
Professor Ishaq Akintola is asking for.
Why should a particular religion (Christian)
dominate the political space in South West states living side-by-side with the
Muslim communities in the country? Who structured this abnormality in the South
DSS Oyo State is advised to avoid violating the
fundamental human rights of our director. We are very worried that Oyo DSS
wants him to travel from Lagos State to Oyo State in this period of insecurity
just to answer questions. Is he a security threat?
We want their public relations department to tell
Nigerians why a seventy year old man and
senior citizen should be made to go through such hazard.
Anyway, Muslims of Oyo State have said that they
will all follow Akintola any time he is coming to the DSS office. Afterall he
is fighting for them. This is something Oyo State DSS should try as much as
possible to avoid. That invitation is seen as a form of harassment. It has
provoked Oyo State Muslims. DSS should not try to silence Muslims.
However, we need to state that MURIC is not an
enemy of the DSS. It is only criminals and unpatriotic citizens who hate, kill
or work against security agents of their country. On the contrary, MURIC really
appreciates the role being played by the DSS in Nigeria against criminals and
enemies of our great country. We want you to continue to protect innocent
citizens. We are with you and we condemn all enemies of the Nigerian security
agents. We condemn those who kill policemen and burn police stations. They are
just adding to Nigeria’s security problems.
We advise all security agents to always formalize
their invitation to suspects who have to come from long distances. Phone calls
can be doubted. It can be exploited by criminals. Security agents should also
use their nearest offices to invite those they intend to question. In these
days of general insecurity, it is dangerous to invite somebody from Lagos to
Ibadan, from Enugu to Port Harcourt, or from Kaduna to Abuja without escort.
Security agents may be held responsible if something serious happens to those
invited from long distances. Nigerian Muslims cherish Akintola. DSS should not
endanger his life by inviting him on
phone next time.
Long Live the DSS. Long Live the Federal Republic
Ustaz Yunus Salahudeen
MURIC Abuja Chapter
Dr. Muhammad Ahmad Ghali
MURIC Abuja Chapter