The Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Ishaq Akintola, has called for ‘fair treatment’ between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
Akintola, who spoke with newsmen in Abuja, at the weekend, insisted that declaring Fridays as national public holidays, would enable Muslims take full advantage of the day to relax, just as their Christian counterparts do on Sundays.
The professor of Islamic Eschatology also argued that Nigeria was not a secular state, as according to him, it does not recognize any religion.
According to Akintola, “I still insist Nigeria is not a secular state. It does not recognise any religion at all. An example is the Sallah holidays. Although Christians used to enjoy Christmas and other holidays, there was no Sallah holiday for Muslims on Eid el-Fitr and Eid el-Kabir days during the colonial days. We wrenched that from our oppressors’ hands after a long struggle.
“Another example where freedom has come our way is where Nigerian Christians compelled Muslims to operate Christian financial system with its riba (interest) which is haram (forbidden) for Muslims, yet they refused to allow Muslims to practise the Islamic banking until a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (now Emir of Kano), belled the cat by introducing Islamic banking.
“What exactly do I mean? Nigerian Christians have been enjoying everything they need since the British took over the country, and colonised it. They have the Christian common law while they object to Muslims having Shariah. They enjoy Christo-Western education while they restrict Muslim children’s access to Islamic education. Christians are free to do whatever they like on Sundays but Muslims are chained to their workplaces on Fridays. That chain must break. Freedom is our cry.
“The government supports both Christian and Muslim pilgrimages. Christian and Muslim prayers are said at official functions. The preamble of the Nigerian Constitution leans heavily on God. So, we are a multi-religious nation. It is when Christian leaders want to pull the wool over our eyes that they claim that Nigeria is a secular country.
“We must widen the horizon of the quest for self-determination. They hold Christian court or church marriage whose certificate is recognised by law whereas mosque marriage certificate is not recognised. Christian schoolchildren use Christian school uniforms but Muslim children are disallowed from using the hijab. Muslim women are denied driving licences and international passports in Nigeria on account of their use of hijab.
“There is an urgent need to straighten this lopsided system. It is not working. Nigerian Muslims still remain oppressed today because they have yet to be emancipated in the four examples above. There are more areas of oppression. But there are one or two aspects where the Muslims have been liberated.
“So, you can see that it is all about struggling for liberation. It is like a master-slave affair. Those who sit on the necks of Muslims are reluctant to set them free. But we will get there whether the oppressor likes it or not.
“It is interesting to note that Christians know that a Muslim commits a sin each time he collects or gives riba, yet they never freely allowed it. What do you call that? Do we love our neighbours?”, he asked.
“Do you call that freedom of religion? Isn’t there some element of selfishness in that? Didn’t Jesus teach loving the neighbour? I remember that a particular bishop from the East led his followers in a public demonstration against the introduction of Islamic banking. Ridiculous, isn’t it?
“As for the claim that Muslims are being favoured by the present administration, that is large-scale falsehood. Even Nigerian toddlers know that Buhari is religion-blind. He is not a fanatic. He just wants to fix Nigeria.
“How has the present administration favoured Muslims? The facts are at our fingertips. Take the South-West as an example: there are six states there and each has a minister. Only Babatunde Fashola and Adebayo Shittu are Muslims. The rest are Christians. Let CAN tell us if that is not so. Do you call two out of six a favour? And that is just a tip of the iceberg in Buhari’s administration.
“The parastatals are replete with Christian chief executives. But Muslims are not complaining. Nigeria now has about 35 ministers, out of which only 17 are Muslims. Tell me how the present administration has favoured Muslims?, he queried.
“Personally, I believe that we are cutting our nose to spite our face in this country. We should allow government to pick the best candidates for positions in order to get maximum performance. We should not always be thinking of religious or ethnic leaning. Muslims have tried as much as possible to maintain this principle but CAN is always making a noise because of its grip on the press,” Akintola noted
LG Boss Uncovers Bloodstained Army Uniform At ‘Cocaine Village’
The newly inaugurated Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilormate Ollor, has gone to ‘Cocaine village’ at Eleme Trailer Park to execute Governor Nyesom Wike’s quit order on residents of the illegal settlement when he made a shock discovery in one of the rooms.
Ollor had visited the area notorious for drugs and crimes, last Sunday, along with some security personnel to serve the quit notice on residents but met the area deserted—an indication that someone had alerted them about the visit.
Out of curiosity, the chairman opened one of the rooms in the ghetto-like settlement, and found the bloodstained uniform of a soldier, his knife and ATM card.
The chairman and his entourage had expressed suspicion that criminals in the area had killed the owner of the uniform and robbed him.
Ollor said, “Remember that a week ago, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave a directive that all illegal structures be removed. As the chief security officer of the local government, I am under that obligation.
“What we are doing here today is to inform them in advance and to remind them that the ultimatum still holds. So, on or before June 26, they should move out.
“What we have here is a mixed population of criminals, armed robbers, drug dealers, and even those who allegedly trade in human parts. Right now, we just found the uniform of an Army man who probably may have been killed. His blood all over the room and uniform, his knife and ATM card, which we have given to the police.”
The Rivers State Police Command has reportedly swung into action to unravel the perpetrators of the alleged crime.
Spokesman of the police, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command had received reports about criminal activities in the area, including the alleged killing of a soldier.
Omoni said, “We have gotten complaints and reports of drug traffickers, criminal elements, human organ dealers, kidnappers and more from there.
“Though we have been carrying out investigation into all of the reports but thank God, we now have a good lead and evidence.
“We have been mandated by the state government to carry out massive arrest within the environs to ensure we arrest and prosecute all those persons involved.”
Residents said that the ‘Cocaine village’ is a haven for drug dealers and users, adding that security operatives also patronize the area.
An aide of the Eleme LG chairman, who spoke off-the-record said, “The governor received an intelligence report that the slum harbours criminals and drug addicts who carry out series of crimes, human organ trafficking, abductions and many other criminal acts in the LGA and state at large.
“We learnt also that some security men troop in there off and on to buy drugs and indulge in one crime or the other.
“The military uniform stained with blood, knife and motorcycle discovered were found in one of the rooms we opened.
“The badge of the military uniform was removed and there were heavy blood stains on the uniform.
“We went there with some police men as assigned to us by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Friday”, he added.
Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says that his administration has fearlessly tackled insecurity headlong and created an enabling climate for smooth delivery of quality development projects.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”
Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today
All is now set for the flag-off of the Abonnema/Obonoma Sandfilling project in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.
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