Suspension Of SGF And DG NIA: Why Is Can Complaining? – MURIC

President Muhammadu Buhari recently suspended the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF) David Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on allegations of sharp practices and violation of due process.      
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) immediately cried foul. The umbrella Christian body, speaking through the president of its Northern youth wing, Daniel David Kadzai, accused Buhari of suspending the duo simply for being Christians and not because of any allegation of graft. The parent body has not denied this statement.
We of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) take exception to CAN’s allegation against Buhari. It is false, baseless and malicious. CAN’s allegation is short in modesty, long in indecency.
 
Does CAN recall that the grass-cutting scandal broke out since October 2016? Isn’t CAN aware that Nigerians have since been clamouring for the sack of the SGF?  Buhari, who is known for his zero tolerance for corruption, still allowed the SGF to continue in office for good eight months after the scandal broke out in spite of the avalanche of criticisms. He gave the SGF the benefit of the doubt while discreet investigation continued. The presidency even went out of its way to declare the SGF innocent in a letter to Senate. Buhari was only constrained to act after indubitable proof of impropriety was provided.  
It is therefore the height of ingratitude and the climax of impudence for CAN to turn round to accuse Buhari of suspending the SGF because he is a Christian. Why does CAN love blackmail so much? At what point exactly did the SGF become a Christian? Was it just yesterday?
 
Was he not a Christian when Buhari deemed it fit to appoint him? Was he not a Christian when Buhari defended him before Senate? Was he not a Christian when Buhari retained him in office for eight good months while Nigerians rained all sorts of abuses at the president for not sacking his ‘corrupt’ SGF?
 
Ditto for the DG of the NIA, Ayo Oke. Whereas it is customary for newly sworn-in presidents to appoint their own men to strategic positions, President Buhari magnanimously retained ex-President Jonathan’s men and many of them are still in office to date. Ayo Oke was one of them and we doubt if anything would have happened to him if the $43 million cash haul in the Ikoyi luxury apartment had not occurred.
 
Equally nauseating is the statement credited to one Suleiman who claims to be the son of Babachir Lawal. He alleged that his father was removed because he was a Christian. This may be understandingly infantile. We may ask him, nonetheless: did Jonathan appoint Ayo Oke as DG of NIA because he was a Christian or because he merited the post?
 
We call the attention of patriotic Nigerians to the antics of the leadership of Nigerian Christians: blackmail, arm-twisting, bad faith and ill-will. How can any Nigerian leader function effectively in this kind of atmosphere unless he is a Christian? The rough-tackles begin the moment a Muslim becomes president.    
 
We warn that this must not be allowed to go on. CAN is using religion to promote mediocrity. CAN is sheltering corrupt Christians in public office. This is a body that should concretise the values of transparency, honesty, probity and accountability. It is shameful, self-defeating and unpatriotic.
 
The amount of money involved in the grass-cutting scam (N220 million) was for weeding the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the North East. Is it not disgraceful for any public official to add salt to the injuries suffered by the IDPs? In the case of the DG of NIA, the amount involved is a staggering $43 million. This money alone is enough to electrify the whole South West of Nigeria.
 
This money belongs to all of us. Not to Muslims alone. Not to Christians alone. It is our commonwealth for crying out loud and somebody is playing pranks with it. But CAN seems to be telling Buhari to “keep off, this is a Christian affair. Touch not my anointed!…” or something that sounds like it.
 
MURIC says ‘No’ to religious politics. One they are indited, a grass-cutter thief is a grass-cutter thief whether he is a Michael or a Mikail. A dollar hoarder is a dollar hoarder whether he is a Joseph or a Yusuf. Corruption knows no religion. Let us allow the law to take its due course. CAN must stop protecting corrupt Christian public officials. Or is CAN telling us that a percentage of money stolen by Christians from government is always reserved for the church? So why the hullabaloo?  
 
For the avoidance of doubt, MURIC’s concern is the welfare of the jamaheer (the masses). Why should we continue to tolerate a situation where only 1% of the population corners 85% of our commonwealth to themselves leaving only 15%  of the country’s resources to the remaining 99%  of the population who are over-worked, under-paid and over-taxed workers, frail-looking and weather-beaten indigent students and the army of unemployed, hungry and homeless Nigerians?
 
As we round up, we affirm, for the umpteenth time, that our intellectual jihad is not for President Muhammadu Buhari. It is for socio-economic justice. It is for a Nigerian El Dorado, for the establishment of an egalitarian society where no Nigerian will be homeless, illiterate, hungry and sick.
 
Our jihad (i.e. struggle) is against corruption, injustice and bad governance and we will leave no stone unturned until every Nigerian, Christian, Muslim or animist, is free to work and worship in any part of the country he chooses to reside. It is therefore not about Buhari. It is about good governance and life more abundant. Any government that pursues transparency will get our support while tyrants and oppressors will always feel our sting.
 
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

MURIC Commends FG On Move To Recruit 30,000 More Policemen In 2017

The Federal Government (FG) is set to recruit 30,000 more policemen before the end of this year 2017. This was disclosed by the Deputy Inspector General DIG in charge of north-west zone, Maigari Dikko in Birnin Kebbi yesterday when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Abubakar Bagudu.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) lauds FG’s decision. It is bold, visionary and pragmatic. It is calculated to ensure security for all. This is one step towards moving the panacea to Nigeria’s security challenges along global best practices.

By this action, the Buhari administration has proved that it is not battling corruption alone, it is equally tackling the problem of general insecurity in the country.

This decision will boost efforts aimed at curtailing crimes in Nigeria. It is also commendable particularly against the backdrop of 10,000 cops recruited earlier in January this year. If it is allowed to become a fait accompli, it will bring the total number of policemen recruited this year alone to 40,000. It is another feather in the Federal Government’s cap.

We are excited by this development. It is one of the best things that have happened in Nigeria since the Annual Police Report of 2008 which put the total figure of Nigerian policemen at 310,177. There has been no mass recruitment since then in spite of the astronomical rise in the country’s civilian population. The December 2016 population estimate released by the National Population Commission in conjunction with the National Bureau of Statistics is 193 million.

Considering the United Nation’s recommendation of at least one policeman for every 448 civilians, it becomes clear that we do not have enough policemen for our teeming population. This explains why many criminals get away with their nefarious activities at will and many crimes remain unsolved. The acute shortage has also informed the wanton killings across the country.

We recall the frustrations of former National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi (rtd) when he lamented in December 2011 that it was impossible for the security agencies to police the entire country. It was a euphemism for acute shortage of manpower among the security agencies and we were shocked that nothing was done to address the shortage until the Buhari administration came on board. FG’s decision to embark on another mass recruitment this year, therefore, is not only timely but also belongs to the class of Solomonic wisdom.

Although cities are said to be conquered by numbers, the efficacy of modern technology must not be ignored. Criminals are also getting more sophisticated. This is why FG must pay urgent attention to the need for technological gadgets. In other climes, every policeman is equipped with a walkie-talkie and a pistol. Communication equipment makes it possible for the police to work as a team.

MURIC charges FG to go the whole hug by adopting a policy of ‘one-cop-one-walkie’ and ‘one-cop-one-gun’. Not only that, our police deserves better pay, improved health delivery system, good accommodation and credible life insurance policy. We are ashamed to see policemen in uniform pushing their faulty ram-shackle police vehicles. We are embarrassed each time our policemen pack themselves like sardine inside their vehicles. In Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia, it is one car to two policemen. Why should our own policemen be different?

Nonetheless, FG must not concentrate on the police alone for improvements. Other arms of the security agencies like the Department of State Services (DSS) whose numerical strength stands at 33,000 officers and men as at 2008 need government’s intervention.

Permit us to throw in a word of caution before we round up. Former Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero once admitted that there are armed robbers in the police. Therefore Police authorities must not allow the euphoria of mass recruitment to becloud their alertness. Imbeciles, area boys, hoodlums, sworn alcoholics, armed robbers, etc, must be weeded out via rigorous screenings.

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

Nigerian Wailers Condemn Illegal Rearrest And Continued Detention Of Usman Austin Okai By Governor Yahaya Bello

The attention of the Nigerian Wailers has been drawn to the unconstitutional rearrest and illegal detention of Mr Usman Austin Okai, a blogger and frontline critic of the Kogi state government on the orders of Governor Yahaya Bello.

Mr Austin Okai was arrested in Abuja by men of the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad on the 9th of April 2017 on fictitious petitions by some cronies of Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi state. He was arraigned before a Kogi state magistrate court and granted bail but rearrested by the Police Anti-Robbery Squad in the court premises.

This is indeed a national shame that a supposed law enforcement agency like the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) can allow itself to be used to perpetrate such barbaric and belligerent act.

It is also a sad narrative that such a young man like Yahaya Bello who became governor in an usual circumstance could order the arrest of Austin Okai whose offense was the exercise of right to freedom of speech.

There has been different reports of indiscriminate arrests and detentions of activist across the country at both Federal and State levels controlled by the ruling All Progressive Party (APC).

These actions are absurd and very disheartening, totally unacceptable as it is a serious threat to our democracy. Nigerians should not be arrested for criticizing and holding the government accountable, every citizen reserves the right to constructively criticize the government in a democratic dispensation like Nigeria.

The Nigerian Wailers hereby demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Usman Austin Okai from illegal detention for as long as the Nigerian constitution guarantees the freedom of speech we call on Gov Yahaya Bello and the Police Special Anti-Robbery Squad to release Austin Okai. Injustice to one is injustice to all.

 

SIGNED

Fasipe Oluyemi

Deputy National Publicity Secretary

The Nigerian Wailers

Headquarters, FCT, Abuja

Nigeria: Chibok Anniversary A Chilling Reminder Of Boko Haram’s Ongoing Scourge Of Abductions – Amnesty International

Nigerian authorities must ramp up efforts to secure the release of the remaining Chibok girls and thousands of others abducted across the northeast by Boko Haram, said Amnesty International on the third anniversary of the armed group’s chilling abduction of 276 Chibok schoolgirls.

“Boko Haram continues to abduct women, girls and young men who are often then subjected to horrific abuses, including rape, beatings and being forced into suicide bombing missions. Sadly, many such abductions go unnoticed and unreported by the media. This has left many parents and relatives without any hope of being reunited with their loved ones,” said Interim Country Director Amnesty International Nigeria, Makmid Kamara.

“These appalling abductions and other attacks, some of which constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, are carried out by Boko Haram on an almost daily basis. They must stop. Today we remember and lend solidarity to the families of the Chibok girls as well as the thousands of other women, girls and men abducted, killed or displaced by Boko Haram.”

Amnesty International, which stands in solidarity with #BringBackOurGirls campaigners, is also urging the Nigerian government to ensure that all other abductees are accounted for and their families given adequate support.

The organization has documented at least 41 other cases of mass abductions by Boko Haram since the beginning of 2014. While the Nigerian government is making considerable efforts to recover the 195 girls remaining in Boko Haram’s custody, victims of less-publicized mass abductions have not benefitted from similar support.

“The Nigerian government is making progress in recapturing territory held by Boko Haram but more needs to be done to prevent further abductions, bomb attacks and provide proper support to all those who have already been rescued or escaped Boko Haram captivity,” said Makmid Kamara.

“This bloody Boko Haram insurgency and the security forces’ efforts to end it, has displaced more than two million people across the north-east and brought many to the brink of starvation. It is vital for the Nigerian people that those responsible for atrocities in the conflict are brought to justice.”

Background

Since 2009, Boko Haram has been carrying out a violent campaign against civilians in north-eastern Nigeria through almost daily killings, bombings, abductions and looting. Towns and villages have been pillaged. Schools, churches, mosques and other public buildings have been attacked and destroyed. Boko Haram is brutally mistreating civilians trapped in areas under its control and has disrupted the provision of health, education and other public services.

Amnesty International’s research shows that Boko Haram has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity with impunity.

In April 2014 Boko Haram fighters kidnapped 276 girls from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok. Abductions are a consistent part of Boko Haram’s attacks and on 14 April 2015, Amnesty International released a comprehensive report which documented 38 cases of abduction by Boko Haram.

Since April 2015, thousands of women, men and children who were abducted by Boko Haram have escaped or been rescued, but thousands more remain in captivity.

Court Grants PPDC, AFRICMIL Leave To Sue CCB For Failure To Disclose Asset Declaration Of Senior Public Officials

On Monday, 3rd April, 2017, Justice Abdu Kafarati, sitting in Court 2, Federal High Court, Abuja granted two civil society organizations leave to bring substantive suits against the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). The grant of leave follows the hearing of the Motion Ex-parte filed by the 2 organizations, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) on the failure of the CCB to provide information on written declaration of assets of elected and appointed office holders under the Freedom of Information Act 2011.

At the hearing, Godwin Chigbu, lawyer to the applicants, requested for leave of court to file a suit against the Code of Conduct Bureau on its failure to respond to the FoI requests made by both organizations.

AFRICIMIL requested for copies of written asset declaration of:

  1. The Past and Current Principal Officers of both Chambers of the 7th and 8th National Assembly, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

While PPDC, requested copies of the written asset declaration of:

  1. Past and Current Governors of the 36 states in Nigeria, since 2011 till date, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended;
  2. Past and Current Ministers of all Ministries in Nigeria, since 2011 till date, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
  3. The Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, upon assumption of office on 29th May 2011 and after his exit from office, on 29th May 2015, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
  4. The Former Vice President of Nigeria, Arch. Namadi Sambo, upon his assumption of office on 29th May 2011 and after his exit from office, on 29th May 2015, as required by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
  5. The Current President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari upon his assumption of office, on 29th May 2015, as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
  6. The Current Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo (SAN) upon his assumption of office as Vice President, on 29th May 2015, as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

Although both organizations made these requests under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, the CCB failed to respond to any of these requests within the time stipulated in the Act, thereby leading to the filing of a motion ex-parte by both organizations.

It is the constitutional responsibility of the Bureau, to retain custody of written asset declaration forms of public officers and make them available and accessible for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the national assembly may prescribe.

An update on the court proceedings will be published subsequently. 

NANS Writes Governor Al-Makura Over The Death Of Student

The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) received the news of another mindless and unprovoked killing of Amos Ovey, JSS II Student of Government Science College, Lafia, Nasarawa State. In our private investigation, it was a shock that the Governor’s son Khalil Umaru Al-Makura was the one who drove carelessly and killed the said promising Amos Ovey after uncontrollable consumption of hard drugs.
Sir, it would be recalled that this is the 3rd time that your  son- Khalil Umaru Al-Makura got involved in the mindless killing of young people by car based on the fact that he is always high on hard drugs and uncontrollable alcohol consumption.
In strong terms, the NANS leadership wishes to register her total displeasure over these unfortunate incidents and condemned the killing of the  promising young man and the subsequent attempt by the Nassarawa State Government and other lawful authorities at making Khalil Umaru Al-Makura escape justice by facing prosecution each time a life is lost due to his mindless anti-social indulgence in hard drugs and excessive alcoholic consumption.
With heavy hearts, we commiserate with the entire students of Nasarawa State over the untimely death of AMOS OVEY, his families, the management and staff of Government Science College  Lafia, and the Joint Campus Committee of NANS in Nassarawa State over the unfortunate loss of the deceased student.
Sir, as responsible citizens, we feel that no life is more important than the other. The repeated cases of aimless killing of citizens by your son (Umaru Al-Makura) involved in the accident that claimed the life of Amos  Ovey and others in time past should be a concern to all. He should be arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrence to others.
In response to the high power shielding of Khalil Umaru Al- Makura, the leadership of NANS is in consultation with our team of legal experts on ways to ensure that justice is done. The National leadership shall soon be leading students on a peaceful protest to the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja and the office of the Inspector General of Police to expeditiously set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the issue with clear intent to ensuring justice to the family of the deceased.
Sir, let it be known to all, that NANS will vehemently pursue the unjust killing of the student without hesitation or compromise.
Temporarily, the National Secretariat of NANS shall be relocating to Nasarawa state with immediate effect for mass protest against the killing of the Student.
Consequent upon the foregoing, Nigerian students have been directed to begin a process of civil disobedience against the government of Alh. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and all government institutions in Nasarawa State until justice is seen to be done and Khalil brought to book in accordance with laws of the country.
However, in the meantime, we hereby declare Khalil Al-Makura personal non-grata at all public functions and school environments nationwide.
We hope that your excellency will show leadership by asking Khalil to report to the Police authorities in Nassarawa State for possible prosecution and justice.
Thank you, Sir for your continued attention and service to humanity.
ALUTA CONTINUA!
SIGNED:
Comrade Chinonso Obasi, GCNS.
National President, NANS.

Shut Down Senate For Turning Against Nigerians – MURIC 

The Nigerian polity has witnessed several earth-shaking incidents in the past few weeks due to apparent deadlock in the relationship between the executive and the Nigerian Senate.

Nigerians are traumatized by this ugly development. The Nigerian Senate has turned itself into a hydra-headed monster with its jaws wide open to swallow up the Nigerian social order. Though it has been denied, the threat allegedly made by Senate to shut down government appears real. Senate’s body language indicates it is all out for war with the executive. It is parliamentary rascality at its worst. We can no longer trust the eighth Senate. It is capable of doing anything. The Nigerian people must strike while the iron is hot. We must shut down Senate before it shuts down government.

A look at just a few of the excesses of Senate is enough to justify the above position. Firstly, the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was rejected twice by Senate. Nigerians were quick to conclude that the senators were unwilling to stomach a man who would not make concessions to lawmakers particularly since many of them have pending cases of fraud.

In the second instance, Senate suddenly bared its fangs and summoned Hammed Ali. The red chamber insisted that the customs chief must appear in customs uniform. It was later revealed that a bullet proof SUV car illegally brought into the country was at the root of the matter.

Thirdly, Professor Itse Sagay, a respected constitutional lawyer was summoned by Senate for criticizing its actions. This is indubitable evidence of Senate’s determination to silence critics. Very soon they will start serving summons on journalists and poor market women.

The Nigerian Senate has also been ruthless in dealing with dissenting voice within the hallowed chamber. Senator Ali Ndume was suspended for six months merely for voicing opposition to Senate’s recklessness. This is another red signal. A few powerful senators are perpetrating oligarchic dictatorship in the red chamber. Nigerians must rise before this powerful but self-serving oligarchy descends on other patriotic and progressive senators in their midst.

This Senate will not tolerate free speech. It is out to strangulate the democratic process. Senate is gunning for parliamentary totalitarian dictatorship. It must be stopped before it is too late.

A fourth example has occurred in Senate’s refusal to screen people nominated as commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Yet screening of nominees is the statutory responsibility of lawmakers. Does Senate want carpenters and taxi drivers to come forward to perform this legislative duty? How then do we explain a situation whereby senators refuse to perform their duties? We hope we are communicating with Nigerians and we hope the masses can read between the lines. Senate appears to be telling the executive arm: “Play ball or …” There is no other word to use for this than ‘armtwisting’.

We want Nigerians to compare Senate’s ruthlessness in dealing with both external (Professor Itse Sagay) and internal critics (Senator Ali Ndume) to the red-carpet treatment it gave the senate president on the imported car scandal and the kid’s-glove treatment it gave Senator Dino Melaye on Dinogate.  

First is happenstance, second is a coincidence, the third time is enemy action. The Nigerian Senate has declared war on the Nigerian people. Nigerians must wake up from their deep slumber before it is too late.

It is an open secret that corruption is the major obstacle standing between the good people of Nigeria and higher standard of living. If we must know, corruption robs us of macadam roads, good public health scheme, qualitative and affordable education, steady power supply, reliable public transport system, security of lives and properties, clean drinkable water and, above all, good governance.

Corruption is therefore Nigeria’s foe numero uno. It must be brought to its knees and anybody, no matter how highly placed, who stands in the path of Nigerians, any institution that weakens our resolve to eliminate corruption, has declared war on the Nigerian people.

It is sad to note that this is exactly what the eighth Senate has done. Senate has been involved in actions incompatible with its parliamentary responsiblility. Senate has thrown its lot with corruption and its Satanic agents by taking deliberate steps capable of debilitating the executive and the Nigerian people in their war against corruption.

Any institution that does this is an enemy of Nigeria. We must therefore rise against this Senate. Nigerians must prove to Senate that senators were elected by them. Who owns the land and where does the real power reside? Nigerians must prove that power belongs to the people.

MURIC calls on civil society to do the needful. We must occupy Senate until the Senators shut down or until they confirm all confirmables. For the sake of our poor families, in the interest of the oppressed and marginalized jamaheer (masses), in order to save democracy from the jugular-hold of a ruthless Senate oligarchy, Nigerians from all walks of life must join civil society groups in non-violent rallies to shut down Senate.

We must make Senate feel the people’s impact not only in Abuja but also in all the 35 state assemblies. Activists who cannot reach Abuja are urged to stage peaceful rallies in their state assemblies. Nigerians must send a strong message to Senate that they will not tolerate parliamentary terrorism.

We advise organizers of rallies to inform Senate, state assemblies and security agents of their peaceful intention. We urge security agents to provide protection for the nationwide exercise whenever and wherever it takes place in order to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the rallies. Organizers are further advised to ensure that they pick rendezvous which are very close to their targets in other to keep trouble-makers at bay. We do not want the same ordinary Nigerians whose interests we are protecting to suffer unnecessarily.

As a final note, MURIC is on the same page with Muhammed Fawehinmi (son of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi) who has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria the option to invoke their constitutional powers by shutting down this rancorous Senate. The Nigerian people will hail such an action. Buhari was voted into power on the strength of his commitment to the war against corruption. Like Rousseau’s General Will, if this Senate will not allow the General Will of Nigerians, viz, to fight corruption, something must give way. We make bold to say it is Senate which must go.

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