Wednesday, December 7, 2016

MURIC IS NEITHER PRO-SHIITE NOR ANTI-RUFAI



7th December, 2016
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC IS NEITHER PRO-SHIITE NOR ANTI-RUFAI

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) yesterday issued a statement cautioning the government of Kaduna State on the issue of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN, also known as Shiites). This was in reaction to a statement credited to the Kaduna State Government in which it declared the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) an insurgent group.    


Well-meaning Nigerians, particularly from the North where the impact of the group has been felt most, have sincerely intervened and thrown more light on the activities and status of the IMN. Fresh information has revealed IMN’s attack on the Emir of Zaria, its alleged involvement in the assassination of some Muslim clerics, its lack of respect for constituted authority, its posturing as a government within a government, its alleged possession of arms, etc.


In the face of these fresh facts, we are obliged to incorporate the opinions of our members who are up-North. This is necessary in order to carry them along. Who feels it knows it. Those who live very close to the IMN must know IMN better.  


Even while we are not holding brief for the authors of the allegations, MURIC wishes to state clearly, categorically and unequivocally that at no point in time had we been pro-Shiite. Neither do we share any doctrinal identity with IMN. Our interest lies in the maintenance of peace in the Nigerian society and the need to avoid creating another monster like Boko Haram.


MURIC is as worried as every other Islamic organization about the doctrinal differences and heretic inclinations of Shiism. But sectarian differences are not limited to Islam. Above all, we are gravely concerned about the self-imposed isolationist disposition of IMN in relation with mainstream Islam in Nigeria. We are equally nonplussed by the group’s refusal to recognize officially installed leaders. These are big and questionable minuses for IMN.


In the light of the above, we affirm that MURIC remains committed to the goals and aspirations of mainstream Islamdom which has been pursuing peaceful coexistence, neighbourliness, tolerance, love, forgiveness and, above all, sacrifice for our great country, Nigeria under the umbrella of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). We advise IMN to retrace its footsteps in character and doctrine. In particular, IMN needs better image laundering in Kaduna State and the North in general.


Nonetheless, we stand by our word of caution. Everything possible must be done to avoid turning IMN into another terror machine. What we need in Nigeria to get out of the current recession is peace. We also need peace for economic growth and political stability. We cannot afford another Boko Haram.


As we round up, we appeal to Governor El-Rufai to ignore IMN’s unnecessary verbal war against his administration, avoid further bloody crackdown on the group and concentrate on the good work he has been doing in governance. We call on the Federal Government to investigate the serious allegation of possession of arms leveled against IMN. This will rest the controversy surrounding the labeling of IMN as an insurgent group once and for all.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Monday, December 5, 2016

IMN IS NOT AN INSURGENT GROUP



6th December, 2016
PRESS RELEASE:
IMN IS NOT AN INSURGENT GROUP


Kaduna State Government yesterday declared the embattled Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) an insurgent group.    


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) rejects this new label for an otherwise pacific organization. The new declaration is nothing short of calling a dog a bad name in other to hang it. Kaduna State government is being economical with the truth, killing a fly with a sledge hammer and engaging in executive tyranny.


This is a very dangerous dimension. Coming shortly after a competent court of law ordered the release of the IMN leader, Shaykh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky from detention, this stigmatization is just another attempt by the state government to jump the gun. The declaration is short in equity, long in injustice. But we must remember Martin Luther’s warning that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


Kaduna government is pregnant with ingredients of all the five evils which Chamberlain spoke about, viz, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution. Why is it that the only thing men learn from history is that they learn nothing from history? Kaduna has not learnt anything from the Boko Haram phenomenon. Kaduna has chosen to prove both Hegel and Karl Marx right in their postulate that history always repeats itself.



MURIC is however constrained to remind all stakeholders of the divine warning contained in Qur’an 8:25 “Fear a tumult which will affect those who caused it as well as the innocent ones”. Was this not how Boko Haram started? Police brutality and extra-judicial killing of the group’s leader caused its metamorphosis into a terror machine. But is it the police alone that are facing the consequences today?


MURIC calls on well-meaning Nigerians to speak out.
It was the great Shaykh Uthman Bin Fudi (Uthman
Dan Fodio) who said, “In an unjust society, silence is a
crime...” Let us speak up now before it is too late.


But members of the IMN also need to do some self
assessment. Something must be wrong with a system
against which so many neighbours testify.Several people
(including Muslims) confirm that they had had bitter
encounters with members of the IMN. They complain
about the group’s open display of arrogance. All those
people could not have been lying.

Something must be wrong with a doctrine which
embarrasses the rest of the Muslim Ummah and from
which they dissociate themselves.


We commend the leadership of the Nigerian Supreme
Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) for its efforts in
resolving the IMN debacle and the maturity it has
manifested in handling the matter. Due to the sensitive
nature of the issue, NSCIA has engaged in quiet
diplomatic shuttling between governments and the IMN
from the beginning. We urge the NSCIA to continue the
dialogue.


In conclusion, we appeal to the Kaduna State
government to de-label IMN and begin a process of reconciliation and reorientation for its members. That
is the path of visionary leadership and responsible
governance. It is the path of peace. On its own part,
IMN must improve its relationship with other
Islamic organizations.  


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

ONDO ELECTION: NO HANKY-PANKY PLEASE



24th November, 2016
PRESS RELEASE:
ONDO ELECTION: NO HANKY-PANKY PLEASE


Gubernatorial election will be held in Ondo State on Saturday 26th November, 2016. Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rejected calls for postponement made by some political parties and insisted that the election must hold as scheduled.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) frowns at INEC’s insistence on holding the election as scheduled. Nothing makes Saturday sacrosanct. The guiding principle should be fairness to all parties concerned.


The air of uncertainty orchestrated by lingering court cases informed the request for postponement made by twenty one (21) political parties led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). INEC should have listened to that request since it would not have been the first time election dates were shifted.  


The green light given to the Appeal Court by the Supreme Court came at the twilight of preparations for the election and the final emergence of Eyitayo Jegede as the PDP’s candidate has vindicated the 21 political parties which demanded a postponement. A political climate enveloped by a thick cloud of uncertainty is definitely not the best in the circumstances.


Viewed from this perspective, the PDP’s candidate has been heavily shortchanged particularly because he has little or no time to campaign, review his strategy and marshal his arsenal of opportunities before the final onslaught. In short, INEC has not created a level playing ground for all parties.    


The onus is therefore on INEC to prove its good intention. INEC has the responsibility to put all its cards on the table in order to gain the confidence of all stakeholders. The electoral body must ensure a free, fair and credible election.


In the same vein, the security agencies should not allow themselves to be used for selfish ends. They must see themselves as the only umpires in the competition taking place on the field of democracy. They should manifest highest level of professionalism. Their neutrality before, during and after the election is very crucial to the attainment of a peaceful, free and fair election.


MURIC reminds all stakeholders that Ondo State is a very volatile state. Ondo was at the forefront in the days of ‘operation wet-e’ in the Wild Wild West of the 60s and it remains a riot-prone zone to date. While we acknowledge the herculean task before the security agencies, we affirm that only an unbiased composure will ensure a hitch-free electoral exercise. There should be no hanky-panky.

In conclusion, we appeal to the good people of Ondo State to prove to the world that they are not only leading in the field of education, but that they can also be models in political maturity. We therefore appeal to them to maintain high standards of electoral decorum in terms of calmness, peacefulness and respect for law and order throughout the period of the election.  


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NO TO SALARY ARREARS FOR EX-HEADS OF STATE



22nd November, 2016
PRESS RELEASE:
NO TO SALARY ARREARS FOR EX-HEADS OF STATE


Some former heads of state are allegedly warming up to collect about ten months arrears of allowances. Among them are General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), General Abdul Salaam Abubakar (rtd) and General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd).


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply disappointed that these retired army generals and former heads of state cannot voluntarily forgo their entitlements particularly in Nigeria’s trying period. They are still expecting payment of arrears of salaries when workers have not been paid for months in some states.


We are constrained to ask the former heads of state, “What exactly do you want to offer this country in these troubled times? What are you prepared to sacrifice? Who among you is a pauper today? Who among you is not a billionaire? Who among you is ready to declare his assets as they stand at the moment? Do you really need these arrears before you can survive?”


MURIC charges the Federal Government (FG) to withhold the arrears of former heads of state until the country gets out of the current recession. This is how Nigeria is being bled nearly to death. There are too many yawning drainages. It is most unwise for this country to continue to throw scarce resources down drain pipes. This culture of waste must stop.


Twenty one (21) ex-governors are currently in Senate. They get salaries, houses, vehicles, staffers, etc from their states as former governors. The vehicles must be changed every three years. This is parliamentary fraud. They are collecting full salary as senators and pension entitlements as ex-governors. Nigeria is indeed adept at wasting resources. This country is being scammed.


Enough is enough. ‘Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop’. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. The middle class has long been eliminated and the gap between the rich and the poor gets wider every day. Too many people are hungry. Too many people are starving and somebody is talking about paying arrears to ex-heads of state.


Nigerian workers are overworked, underpaid and overtaxed. Their take-home pay cannot take them home. We are just being patient with FG because we have faith in the Buhari administration. We have seen how prudent FG has been since Buhari took over. That prudence must be maintained. We therefore say capital ‘NO’ to salary arrears for overfed ex-presidents.


Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)