Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SOUTHERN KADUNA: HEAR FROM ALL STAKEHOLDERS




3rd January, 2017
PRESS RELEASE:
SOUTHERN KADUNA: HEAR FROM ALL STAKEHOLDERS


The past one week has witnessed reckless violence in Southern Kaduna. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Catholic Archdiocese of Kafanchan have claimed that about 808 people have been killed so far in 53 villages.


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condemns these killings. We hate violence. We detest the sight of blood. Human life is sacred and nobody has the right to take the life of a fellow human being.


Nonetheless, we call for caution. We remind all stakeholders that both the Qur’an and the Bible enjoin caution in cases like this. The two scriptures ask mankind to investigate all cases before jumping to conclusions (Qur’an 49:6; 1st Thessalonians 5:21).


Both the press and the security agencies have questions to answer on the pogrom going on in Southern Kaduna: the press for giving the Nigerian public only one side of the story and the security agencies for allowing the killings to continue unabated. We remind the Federal Government (FG) that the primary duty of government is to protect the citizens’ lives and properties. Article 14 Section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.



MURIC is concerned that the public has been fed with only the Christian side of the story. Justice and fair hearing demands that we hear from the other side. What happened to professionalism on the part of the press? Is hearing from the other side also not part of investigative journalism? Are there no Islamic organizations in Southern Kaduna? What of the Muslim Youth Foundation of Southern Kaduna (MYFOSKA)? Why haven’t they been interviewed?


The Nigerian press should not be asymmetrical. Parochial reportage is an ill wind that will blow nobody any good. We can only know the beginning of a crisis. Nobody can predict its end. Those who fan the embers of violence may end up as victims. MURIC feels concerned whenever there is violence in Nigeria. What this country needs for economic recovery and political stability is peace.  
     

MURIC is in possession of documents which prove that Muslims were the first victims of attacks in Southern Kaduna and the attacks which targeted Muslim business premises, homes and families had begun since October 2016. But we will not release the documents yet so that the conflict will not exacerbate. Suffice it to note that security agents have caught some Christians with arms in the area since the conflict began some days ago.


We therefore take CAN’s allegation of official endorsement of the killings with a pinch of salt. It is subtle blackmail. Why must CAN’s handling of every crisis be clouded in religious profiling? It is high time we started to see our leaders as Nigerians and not as belonging to any particular tribe or faith. Criminals also must be seen from the point of view of their actions and not necessarily associated with their religion or ethnic group. Herdsmen must therefore be called herdsmen and not necessarily tied to the aprons of Muslims or Fulanis.


Finally, we charge the Federal Government to flood Southern Kaduna with security personnel. We welcome the Senate’s decision to probe the Southern Kaduna crisis. We call on Muslims in Southern Kaduna to remain calm and law abiding, to refrain from issuing inflammatory statements and to cooperate with security agents posted to the area. We appeal to CAN and the Catholic archdiocese of Kafanchan to douse tension among Christians in Southern Kaduna.


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

Friday, December 30, 2016

NEW YEAR MESSAGE: KILL CORRUPTION, COME TOGETHER



30th December, 2016
NEW YEAR MESSAGE:
KILL CORRUPTION, COME TOGETHER


Like their counterparts all over the world, Nigerians will usher in the new year on Sunday 1st January, 2017. Already, Nigerians from all walks of life, businessmen, politicians, academicians, civil servants, farmers, artisans, etc are imagining what to expect and what should be in place come 2017.        


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) does not prophesy. We are advocates of non-violence, transparency, accountability and good governance. MURIC wants Nigerians to kill corruption in 2017. We must intensify and prioritise the war against corruption if we as a people really want to take our destiny in our own hands. It is the only way to stop the sufferings of Nigerians. Secondly, Nigerians must come together and speak with one voice regardless of their political, religious or ethnic backgrounds.


This country has been robbed silly. Diezani Alison Madueke vanished with $20 billion. Patrick Akpolobemi helped himself to $12 billion from NIMASA coffers. Sambo Dasuki messed up $2.1 billion arms fund. N40 billion developed wings and flew into thin air under former customs boss Abdullahi Dikko. The list is endless.  



Instead of condemning these thieves, some Nigerians started accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of being motivated by vendetta. Some claimed he was only targeting opposition members. Strangely enough, they still remained recalcitrant even after members of the ruling party including a personal friend of the president and a chieftain of the ruling party were arrested for corruption and dealt with.


We can imagine what the huge amounts stolen by these shameless kleptomaniacs could have done for the nation. How much do we really need to equip our health facilities with the most sophisticated machines in order to stop unnecessary medical trips abroad? How much do we need to turn the dilapidated death traps which we call roads to macadam standard? Why can’t a Nigerian university be one of the best 10 in the world? Why couldn’t we beat Ghana to celebrate 10 years of uninterrupted power supply?


But we are on the right plane with Buhari as our pilot. His doggedness is yielding positive results. Change is already surfacing. Nobody ever asked those thieves any question before Buhari came on board. But now some of them are in jail. Corrupt judges are not being spared. Some of them have started vomiting what they swallowed.


Jafaru Isa who was accused of stealing N170 million returned N70m just one week ago. He had earlier returned N100 million before he was released from custody. That means he has returned the whole loot. Abdullahi Dikko paid back N1 billion before bail was allowed. Only those who are blinded by partisanship or ethnic jingoism will refuse to accept this as the real change.


No Nigerian government had ever achieved this feat in the past. The Federal Government (FG) also reported the recovery of huge amounts of cash:  N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016. Also released were recoveries under interim forfeiture, which were a combination of cash and assets, during the same period: N126,563,481,095.43, $9,090,243,920.15, £2,484,447.55 and €303,399.17.


Anticipated repatriation from foreign countries totaled: $321,316,726.1, £6,900,000 and €11,826.11. The non-cash recoveries are – farmlands, plots of land, uncompleted buildings, completed buildings, vehicles and maritime vessels. This feat is what Nigerians should be celebrating instead of holding parties in a state capital to celebrate the release of a thief from a London prison. Corruption has indeed robbed some Nigerians of their norms and values.


We must stop sending divisive signals. Muslims are among these shameless thieves. Christians are among them. We have Northerners there just as there are Southerners. So why are we deceiving ourselves? A thief is a thief whether he is a Muslim or a Christian. A thief is a thief whether he is a Yorubaman or Kanuri. Corruption is faith-blind. Poverty knows no tribe. We are all victims of the thieves’ greed and avarice. So why should we allow them to use religion or tribe to blindfold us?


MURIC looks towards a 2017 in which Nigerians appreciate honesty and integrity. We must place accountability above licenciousness in the coming year. Muslims and Christians must pull down the barrier of hatred. They must appreciate one another.


For instance, some Muslims condemn fellow Muslims who wish Christians Merry Christmas. That is one of the signs of extremism. Muslims should ignore such people among them. We should boldly and sincerely wish Christians Merry Christmas. MURIC has been doing this since its establishment in 1994 and we will continue to do so. We will not allow any distraction in our intellectual jihad.  It is the path of love, the path of peace. We must not listen to extremist Muslims among us who feed fat on spreading hatred. Christians must also wish Muslims Barka de Salah as usual.


Those who discourage such goodwill messages are hallucinating agents of Shaytan. They are not ready to face reality. Christmas and Salah will always come whether anybody likes it or not. Why don’t they reject the holidays that are declared for such festivals if indeed they are serious? Why don’t they go to work on that day if anyone will open the office doors for them? Or why don’t they go to the school on such holidays if teachers will come to teach them? Those festivals are realities which can only be ignored by dreamers and the fact that holidays have been officially declared for them proves that they are real and an integral part of us as a people.



Finally, MURIC urges Nigerians to kill corruption. We urge Nigerians to come together. Let us fling open all doors to welcome fellow citizens of other faiths. Open all the windows to allow in free air from all faiths and ethnicities. Nigerians must join hands to claim their rightful destiny. We must defeat the political and ethnic shenanigans with their divide et impera gimmicks.


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

MURIC CONDOLES PROMPT NEWS’ PUBLISHER OVER MUM’S DEATH



30th December, 2016
PRESS RELEASE:
MURIC CONDOLES PROMPT NEWS’ PUBLISHER
OVER MUM’S DEATH


The death has been announced of the mother of Prompt News publisher, Mrs. Sariyu Oyetunji. Mrs. Oyetuniji passed away yesterday, Thursday 29th December, 2016, around 11 am at her residence in Ologuneru, Ibadan, Oyo State. She was 72.     


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commiserates with Prompt News’ publisher, the Prompt News staff, the rest of the deceased’s family, her friends and associates over this irreparable loss.


We pray that Almighty Allah will forgive Mrs. Sariyu Oyetunji, repose her soul in Al-Jannah Firdaus and grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.


Finally, we charge the publisher of Prompt News and his team not to allow this sad incident to dissipate the zeal with which they have been serving Nigerians on the platform of the online newspaper.         


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

Friday, December 23, 2016

CHRISTMAS MESSAGE: CHRISTIAN CLERICS SHOULD SPEAK OUT ON FIREWORKS




24th December, 2016
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE:
CHRISTIAN CLERICS SHOULD SPEAK OUT ON FIREWORKS


Nigerian Christians will join their counterparts all over the world to celebrate Christmas tomorrow, Sunday 25th December, 2016.      


The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) wishes Nigerian Christians a peaceful and happy celebration.


As we send our goodwill message, we find it necessary to tell ourselves some hard truths. While every Nigerian wishes to enjoy the Christmas holidays in a peaceful and crime-free environment, we must deliberately work towards creating a conducive atmosphere for peaceful celebration.


In this regard, we call attention to the terrifying fireworks phenomenon which always characterizes yuletide and its implications for crime and peaceful celebration of Christmas. Our observations are devoid of any religious prejudice. They are borne out of sincere concern for the safety of Nigerians, particularly for a successful and peaceful Christmas celebration.  


Firecrackers often cause real fire outbreaks leading to loss of lives and properties. They also cause injuries to the users and their neighbours. Fireworks also aid crime. This is why the Nigerian Police always warns citizens to avoid using it. Although this warning is always repeated particularly around yuletide, it has remained unheeded up till now.


We are surprised that churches have remained silent over this potent threat for a long time. We remind Christian leaders that church-goers are also possible victims of violent crime. It is therefore high time Christian clerics showed interest and speak out against the use of fireworks during yuletide. There is likely to be a change of attitude if churches speak out against it. This is how religious leaders can help in combating crime in society.


We all want to enjoy peace in our homes. This can only be possible if the rate of crime is reduced. But the police cannot fight crime alone. They need information from citizens. Unfortunately the use of knockouts blocks information.


For instance, robberies can be nipped in the bud if neighbours hear the sound of gunshots and call the police. But this becomes almost impossible in communities where knockouts are used indiscriminately. This is so because knockouts sound exactly like gunshots and people mistake real gunshots for knockouts. Therefore nobody will call the police and criminals get away with their loot. Even policemen on patrol also find it difficult to distinguish between real gunshots and knockouts. This is how knockouts militate against quick response by the security agencies.


Armed robbery and kidnapping are the most common and most devastating crimes in the Nigerian society today. Therefore something should be done if we can identify the use of knockouts as a social cankerworm which aids and abets these two deadly crimes in a particular season.


We note with serious concern that both adults and children indulge in this pastime. Parents even give their children money to purchase firecrackers. This is not only infantile but runs contrary to all known principles of loco parentis. We appeal to Nigerian parents to behave responsibly and to guide their children towards productive habits.


Petty traders are advised to divert their capital to productive merchandise and desist from trading in goods capable of facilitating armed robbery, killing, maiming and kidnapping. The next victim may be members of the trader’s family.  


The security agencies should also be more proactive by fishing out distributors and sellers of fireworks and prosecuting them. This will act as deterrent for others.

While this may be seen as tackling the symptoms and not the disease, we need to go to the root of the matter. Where do the fireworks products come from? Who manufactures them? How do they enter this country? This is where our customs men at the nation’s sea ports and land boarders must come in. Bundles of fireworks which are later sold on the streets do not descend from the sky. They remain illegal goods and should not be allowed to come in through our boarders.


The Federal Government has a role to play here because the buck stops at its table. Somebody must pay and must really be seen to have paid for any laxity on this matter. It is about the life of Nigerians and it should be taken seriously. Heads must roll at the customs if banned products still find their way into the country.   


On a final note, we call for more cordial relationship between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria. Religion without love is sheer cultism. We must learn to peacefully coexist, to love, to tolerate and to forgive one another.


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