Sunday, October 23, 2016


24th October, 2016,

A message on army recruitments into the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, in 2013 has recently gone viral on social media. The figures listed particularly for states with Muslim majority populations reveal shocking lopsidedness in the recruitments. Focus is being zeroed on an advertisement of list of successful candidates in the 65th Regular intake (course 65) recruited into the NDA which was allegedly published in the Daily Trust Newspaper of Friday August 23, 2013.

The list showed that more Christians were picked in Muslim majority states in the North. For example, only five Muslims were picked in Borno State as against eight Christians. Only four Muslims were picked in Gombe as against ten Christians while only three Muslims were picked in Kaduna State as against eleven Christians.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) considers these figures as lopsided, discriminatory and provocative. The exercise appears to have been heavily tainted with religious bias calculated to edge out Nigerian Muslims from military formations in the country. It gives undue military advantage to Christians thereby endangering the lives and properties of Muslims nationwide. We frown upon recruitment exercises which fail to recognize the diversity of the Nigerian people.

NDA is an elitist military institution whose graduates control the military. It will be dangerous for us as a nation if such an institution consistently produces a core of officers whose religious belief tilts towards any particular religion.

We are constrained to ask if there is a plot to build purely anti-Muslim security agencies in Nigeria. What is happening around the world elicits such a question. The police and army watched unconcerned as Muslims were killed while their houses were burned in Myammar and in Central African Republic. Is the Nigerian Army being prepared for such a pogrom? Are Nigerian Muslims safe?

In Nigeria, the extrajudicial killing of members of Boko Haram and the use of extreme force transformed the hitherto nonviolent group into the terror machine we have today. We also have the example of military heavy-handedness in the massacre of members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (otherwise known as Shiites) about a year ago.

We may however want to look at a larger picture. We are looking beyond the army. Could there have been a correlation between the attacks on Muslim groups and the predominance of non-Muslims in the army, the police and other security agencies? There seems to be a thick anti-Muslim sentiment among members of the Nigerian security agencies thereby turning Muslims into endangered species even in their own countries. We fear that this sentiment is being fuelled daily by lopsided recruitments into the army, the police and other security agencies. This trend, if found to be true, constitutes serious threat to national security.

MURIC therefore calls for an investigation into recruitments into the security agencies at least in the last five years. We appeal to the relevant committees in the National Assembly to quickly rise to this important aspect of its oversight responsibility. Democracies cannot afford to be protected by religious or ethnic bigots. Only a balanced and well structured security system can guaranty peace and security.

In addition, we urge the security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Army, to urgently embark on a general review of promotion exercises and retirement cases in the last five years. Both serving and retired officers and men who believe they have been unjustly denied promotion or unduly retired should be encouraged to submit memoranda.

In conclusion, we concede that ideally, recruitment into the security agencies and promotion from one level to another should be strictly on merit. Neither ethnicity nor faith should be barometers. Yet no geopolitical zone, tribe or religion should be completely marginalized to the extent of creating fears of possible extinction. This is the spirit behind Section 14(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Thursday, October 20, 2016


21st October, 2016,

Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, yesterday freed 7000 prisoners in the country to decongest the prisons and also to make room for incoming corruption offenders.      

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) applauds President Kenyatta’s visionary and humanitarian gesture and calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to emulate the Kenyan leader by taking radical steps to decongest Nigeria’s overcrowded prisons.

It is on record that most prisons in Nigeria contain double their capacities. Exempli gratia, Kaduna Central Prison which was built in 1915 with a capacity for 547 inmates now has 954 prisoners, Bauchi prison which was built in 1920 for 500 prisoners only now has 1,041. Nsukka prison which has the capacity for 180 inmates now houses 500 prisoners.

This choking prison environment is mainly responsible for recent jailbreaks in various prisons within the country. At best, it has turned Nigerian prisons into recruitment sergeants for armed robbers. It is not only unhealthy and inhuman but also falls short of international best practices.

MURIC calls on President Buhari to commence the decongestion of Nigerian prisons with immediate effect. We suggest that priority should be given to the 54 soldiers who are currently languishing in jail for refusing to fight Boko Haram insurgents without being adequately armed. It was their refusal that attracted public outcry and exposed the $2.1 billion arms scandal. We believe that these 54 soldiers have suffered enough. Next to the 54 soldiers should come awaiting trial inmates whose offences are trivial and those who have spent one third of their prison terms.

As a parting shot, the Federal Government should not delay this general decongestion as it will create enough space for incoming corrupt politicians, greedy ex-army chiefs and black sheep among the judges.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


19th October, 2016,

A Tsunami of criticisms has greeted the raid by Nigerian security agents on some judges’ homes and the subsequent arrests and investigations. Both the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the National Judicial Council (NJC) have come out strongly in condemning the raids and expressing solidarity with the affected judges. Some sections of the judiciary even called for a strike.   

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) expresses grave concern at the reactions of both the NBA and the NJC. Their reactions expose them as enemies of the masses. We say ‘NO’ to their Animal Farm agenda.

Poor Nigerians who are at the receiving end of the impact of corruption on the citizenry know better. They know that corrupt judges who shield those who siphon public funds are the worst enemies of the people. There is no gainsaying the fact that corruption has been responsible for the poor state of our infrastructure and that poor infrastructure has kept Nigeria decades behind developed countries. It is responsible for the grinding poverty in the Nigerian society.

Judges who hobnob with kleptomaniacs make it possible for them to escape justice and still enjoy their loot. If corrupt politicians have the noun ‘thief’, judges who aid and abet them are the ones who empower the thieves with the verb ‘to steal’. Corrupt judges are therefore the worst enemies of society and a threat to democracy.

Some Nigerian judges treat thieves with honour and some rulings are so astonishing that they give the judges away. A pensions executive who misappropriated a whopping sum of N32 billion was fined a paltry sum of N2 million. A Nigerian judge gave James Ibori a clean slate in spite of 172 criminal charges.

Another judge who managed to find Lucky Igbinedion guilty of stealing N25 billion fined him N3.5 million only! Nigerian judges freed Alamiesiagha but he was taught the lesson of his life by a British judge.  These ludicrous judicial pronouncements merely succeed in perpetuating crime.   

MURIC is unimpressed with the response of the NBA to the raid on the homes of some judges. What did NBA say or do when Governor Dickson led thugs to attack a judge in Bayelsa? Was NBA on sabbatical when Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State reportedly slapped an high court judge? Where was NBA when Justice Ayo Salami was rough-handled and suspended from the bench? Was it not because he allegedly refused to collect bribe from the then Jonathan government?

The recent claim by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, (CISNAC), that contrary to the claim of the NJC, there are at least 12 other petitions against many judges, all of which, the group said, were not appropriately treated by the council speaks volumes. The fact that NJC gave soft landing to some of the judges recently investigated by the council also leaves sour tastes in the mouth.

We call on both the NJC and NBA to stand up to be counted with other patriotic Nigerians in the fight against corruption. Judges are not angels. They are human beings like the rest of us and if it is true that the law is no respecter of persons, should the same law respect lawyers and judges? Should we have separate laws for judges simply because they belong to the judiciary? What stops law enforcement agents from raiding suspected judges homes when the homes of many innocent Nigerians are known to have been raided before?

MURIC calls on Nigerians to resist any attempt by the NJC and NBA to create George Orwell’s Animal Farm scenario. Nigerians should be on the tip-toes of the actualization of the principle of equality before the law. There is no “Four legs good, two legs better” here. It must never happen. Nigeria has only one constitution and judges and lawyers must submit themselves to the superiority of that single constitution. We say capital ‘NO’ to any Animal Farm agenda.

Both the NJC and the NBA may learn from this parting spiritual diet. Islam rejects selective justice in all its ramifications. The Glorious Qur’an commands mankind to “Stand out firmly for justice…even against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, or whether it is against the rich or poor…” (Qur’an 4:135).

NJC and NBA should therefore allow the law to take its due course even if action is being taken against their learned colleagues.

There should be no camaraderie in corruption. The Qur’an warns against connivance with evil, “Help one another in righteousness and piety but help not one another in sin and rancor. Fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment” (Qur’an 5:2).

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

Sunday, October 16, 2016


16th October, 2016,

An unidentified female supervisor of WAEC assaulted a female Muslim candidate at Egan Grammar School, Igando, Lagos State while candidates were taking biology on Friday, 2nd September, 2016 between 9.30 am and 12 noon.

Although the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) reported the case at the human rights desk of the Igando Police Station and its press statement on the matter, dated 5th September, 2016, was given wide media publicity, the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) is yet to take palpable action on the issue.

While we are aware that the examination body visited the examination center and interviewed the victim, 16 years old Khadijat Eniola Anisere, nothing has been heard of the case six weeks after. Our demand for “a public statement from WAEC on the supervisor’s identity and the official reprimand failing which WAEC should blame itself for the reaction of Muslims” has been largely ignored.

The Federal Ministry of Education and the general public should note this insensitivity on the part of WAEC. It is those who provoke Muslims by their arbitrary and oppressive actions that cause religious crisis. Yet people turn round to blame the Muslims who are the real victims of first instance.

The Aristotelian cause-effect theory avers that every little action must have a reaction. Muslims are very sober and highly disciplined people but it is natural that they react when they are oppressed. Most incidents of religious violence in Nigeria can be traced to one act of provocation or the other. Religious riots are ordinary smoke and there can never be smoke without fire. The fire which often causes religious riot is either provocation, persecution or outright denial of Allah-given fundamental human rights.

The unprovoked and unwarranted assault on Khadijat falls under two of the above categories, namely: provocation and persecution. Instead of going to the streets in public demonstration, MURIC took civilized steps. We reported the matter to the police and issued a public statement to draw WAEC’s attention to the bizarre and barbaric action of its supervisor but WAEC is yet to do the needful.

It is noteworthy that the assault on Khadijat was not the first of its kind on Muslim children. In fact it is common in the South West but we are determined to make this a deterrent. The assault on Khadijat constitutes child abuse because she is just 16. She wept profusely after the hijab was violently yanked from her head. She also wept steadily throughout the interview conducted by WAEC officials who visited the center after the assault was published by the media.

It is a shame that this assault is being ignored by human rights groups and feminist associations at a time when the world is paying so much attention to the plight of the girl child. Are we to assume that these groups are not interested simply because the victim is a Muslim girl and the culprit a non-Muslim? Is it not high time we stopped paying selective and parochial attention?    

In the interest of peace, justice and equity, therefore, MURIC is demanding the following reliefs from WAEC before the announcement of the results of the examination in question:  

1.  a public apology from WAEC for vicarious liability;
2.  that WAEC identifies the culprit and bans her from participating in similar exercise in future;
3.  that WAEC gives the candidate an opportunity to retake the paper in which the candidate was assaulted, disturbed and distracted now that the result has not been released and
4.  that WAEC issues a warning to its permanent and ad hoc staff to desist from assaulting, intimidating or stigmatizing Muslim candidates in future.

MURIC does not issue threats. We dialogue instead of going violent. We also believe that legal action is civilized action in a democracy. It is an extension of dialogue where subtle persuasion fails. Therefore, WAEC may hear from our lawyers if it fails to comply with the reliefs being sought.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)