This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS: DON’T POLLUTE OUR CLEAN WATER
The Nigerian Senate has been rushing through a bill on
discrimination against women and equal inheritance shares since August 2016. The
bill has gone through its second reading. But the Sultan of Sokoto and
President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad
Sa‘ad Abubakar III, has already expressed strong objection to the bill.
The Muslim Rights
Concern (MURIC) is on the same page with the Sultan. We strongly condemn
attempts to interfere in the private lives of Muslims without consulting them.
The Nigerian Senate is fishing in troubled waters if it goes ahead with the
bill as planned without considering the position of Muslims.
We assert that Islam has already liberated Muslim women and they
are not discriminated against in any form. We remind Senate that discrimination
against women was common around the world in ancient times. It never obtained
in Islam. On the contrary, it was Islam which liberated women.
For the records, women were regarded as minors (no matter their
age) and inferior creatures in ancient Greece. In Rome, they were given away in
marriage without consent. Only males could inherit in India and any Indian
woman whose husband died must be burned alive. In Persia they were pawned away
in gambling. Female infanticide was the order of the day in ancient Arabia
before Islam as the woman who failed to beget a male child had her female child
But Islam changed all
that. The Glorious Qur’an liberated women. They can work, earn income and own
property (Qur’an 4:32). A Muslim woman is free to choose her own husband (Qur’an
4:19). Her dowry belongs to her (Qur’an 4:4). She can sue for divorce (Qur’an 4:128).
The husband is under compulsion to feed, accommodate and clothe his wife
according to his means (Qur’an 65:6 – 9).
What the brains behind the equal rights bill in Senate should have
done is to study what obtains among the various cultures in Nigeria before
attempting to impose any bill on us. It is an open secret that women are
discriminated against in some places in this country, particularly in Southern
Nigeria. Women are made to drink the water used to wash the corpse of their
dead husbands to ascertain whether or not they had a hand in their husband’s
death. They are not allowed to inherit their husbands.
But that does not apply to Muslim women. We accept the death of
husbands as Allah’s wish. It is not in our character to demonise our women or
to accuse them of witchcraft. We cherish them. We love them. Our women are our
mothers and daughters and Allah has instructed us to show them love (Qur’an
30:21) and treat them with kindness (Qur’an 4:19).
Therefore nobody should pretend to liberate Muslim women from
any perceived oppression. What have the champions of the equal rights bill done
about Muslim women who are disallowed daily from using hijab in this country?
Who gagged them when the hijab worn by a female Muslim candidate was yanked off
by a WAEC supervisor in an examination hall in August 2016? What have they said
so far since we have had to go to court to assert Allah-given fundamental human
right of female Muslim students to use hijab?
We advise Senate to
listen to the Sultan. The leader of Nigerian Muslims has spoken. We will not
stand akimbo while a group of legislators rubbish the word of Allah. Islam has
already legislated on the shares of women in inheritance and this is not
debatable as far as Muslims are concerned. Islam does not discriminate against
widows. It is certain traditional cultures which do. That does not warrant the
imposition of unIslamic laws on Muslims who have already been protected by
Islamic laws on inheritance.
It is equally didactic that the umbrella body of all Muslim
women organizations in the country, the Federation of Muslim Women Associations
in Nigeria (FOMWAN) reeled out its position paper on the issue on January 7,
2017. FOMWAN rejected the bill, supported the Sultan’s position and warned
Senate not to meddle with Muslims’ affairs. We also have it on good authority
that FOMWAN leadership met the originator of the bill, Senator Christine Biodun
Olujinmi last week and they told her their position.
One major problem with Nigeria is that those who claim to be
interested in reform always ignore the stakeholders, particularly Muslims. They
always pretend that certain perceived inequalities are general. They therefore
attempt sweeping changes. But Muslims do not need reforms which ignore their
Allah-given fundamental human rights. Nobody can love Muslims more than the
Muslims themselves. We refuse to be led by the nose. You cannot give us what we
already have. We already have clean and pure water. It is from Allah. It is
divine. Caveat emptor, don’t pollute our water.
should learn from the Indian Succession Act of 1925. Under this law, every
Indian woman can inherit equally with her male counterpart except those who are
Bhudists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jainists and Muslims. This means that the Indian Act
of 1925 recognized the laws of succession of Muslims and other faiths in India.
In other words, our senators can go ahead with the bill, but please exempt
Permit us, therefore, to round up by affirming our rejection for
the equal rights bill as passed by Senate. That law should not apply to
Muslims. We have our own succession law which is already recognized by the
Nigerian constitution. We support the application of the Senate bill to the
oppressed women in other religions and cultures in the country. They need it.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
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
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
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.
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
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
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
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,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)