March 4, 2022

MURIC accuses Taraba govt of trampling on fundamental rights of Muslims


.asks gov to address the imbalance

By Adeola Badru

An Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP government of Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku of Taraba State of trampling with impunity on what it described as Allah-given fundamental human rights of Taraba Muslims.

The group, in a statement made available to Vanguard on Friday evening, by its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, noted that the issue at stake was not politics but religious cleansing and marginalisation of Muslims in the state in the area of appointments.

The statement reads: “Taraba State Chapter of the PDP intervened in the altercations between the state governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).”

“We will like to state clearly, categorically and emphatically that the issue at stake is not politics but religious cleansing and marginalisation of Muslims in the state in the area of appointments. MURIC’s grudge against Governor Ishaku has to do with the way he has been trampling with impunity on Allah-given fundamental human rights of Taraba Muslims.”

“It has nothing to do with his political party at all. We are protecting the interest of Muslims in the state. We are equally interested in good governance and responsible leadership that will ensure justice, equity and fairness to all irrespective of ethnicity or faith.”

“It is religion, not politics. But governor Ishaku is taking his party’s state chapter to a dangerous arena by using the party to fight Muslims. It is not done. Muslims are in the PDP in their millions. So are they in other political parties.”

“It will not be so wise for the PDP to antagonise all Muslims in the party. In the same manner, MURIC cannot fight the PDP because hundreds of our members are stakeholders in the party. That is why we must not take sides with any political party.”

“We are therefore calling on the national leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to call its Taraba State chapter to order because it has intervened in a matter that deeply hurts Taraba Muslims. Ishaku should not be allowed to use his party, the PDP, to fight Muslims.”

“The denial of jobs to Muslims in the state is aimed at impoverishing Muslims in the state. Ditto for their subjection to the humiliating promotion of their juniors at work as well as religious cleansing whereby Muslims are sacked and replaced by Christians. We urge PDP national body to investigate these allegations.”

“Governor Ishaku is trying to cover up his crimes against Muslims in the state by whipping up political sentiment. But what has political alignments got to do with the marginalisation of Muslims in the state? Did the governor’s party instruct him to engage in anti-Muslim actions? We know that PDP will not do that.”

“Again Ishaku tried to be too smart by personalising issues and limiting it to a hate campaign by the director of MURIC. It is sheer blackmail and it will not work. It is not about Professor Akintola but the Muslims in the state and, by extension, all Nigerian Muslims. Making it an Akintola affair is a cowardly attempt at cheap blackmail.”

“It will be recalled that the Muslims of Taraba under the aegis of Taraba Muslim Council held a press conference in January 2022 (just two months ago) where they accused Governor Ishaku of engaging in religious cleansing and denial of job opportunities to Muslims.”

“It is therefore grossly mischievous of the governor and the Taraba chapter of the PDP to turn round blaming MURIC and Akintola for the allegations and accusing the duo of trying to incite religious crisis. MURIC is used to such blackmail because each time we try to protect Muslims from the tyranny of their traducers, the latter sings the same song.”

“They call MURIC unprintable names and accuse of trying to cause religious war. The aim is to give them the opportunity to continue their diabolical agenda.”

“Ishaku is now singing the same old song. He is trying to hide behind one finger and living in self-denial. It cannot save him. But the national leadership of his party needs to caution the party’s state chapter to desist from turning a case of religious persecution to a party affair. It will definitely backfire.”

“Ishaku should address the message, not the messenger. MURIC has issued at least five press statements on the plight of Muslims in Taraba state between January and March 2022. No political party was mentioned in those statements. We did not mention PDP. This can be verified on our website (”

“So why drag the party into a problem caused by Ishaku’s open manifestation of religious bias, provocative exhibition of executive recklessness and unhidden acts of administrative ineptitude?”

“MURIC has nothing against the PDP or any political party for that matter. Sokoto under Aminu Waziri Tambuwal is controlled by the PDP. Why hasn’t MURIC attacked him? Look at Bauchi under Bala Muhammed, a PDP governor.”

“Has MURIC ever attacked him? The same applies to Adamawa under Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri. Adamawa is a PDP state and MURIC has no grudges with its governor. The secret is good governance and equitable treatment of the adherents of all faiths.”

“It is therefore not the political party, but the attitude of the state governor towards Muslims in the state. It is not even about the religion of the governor. For instance, MURIC has not had an altercation with Christian governors like Senator Duoye Diri of Bayelsa and Professor Benedict Ayade of Cross River State.”

“We are not interested in what political parties do. Our interest lies in the welfare of Muslims in all Nigerian states and we will continue to interrogate the actions of governors who persecute, marginalise and traumatise their Muslim subjects regardless of what political party they belong.”

“Governors who are Muslim haters will not escape our scrutiny. Our grudge with Ishaku is not because he is a Christian but because he is using his political power to persecute Muslims in the state despite the fact that the Muslims who are the majority. We reiterate: Taraba Muslims have a date with destiny in 2023.”

Meanwhile, the group asked the governor to explain why only Christians were appointed as principal officers in Taraba State University and as permanent secretaries in the ministries.

MURIC insisted that it has no political allies in Taraba except the unbreakable tentacles of the Muslim brotherhood.

“Governor Ishaku’s allegation that MURIC wants to set his state ablaze is false, illogical and malicious. MURIC has never been involved in any violent act since its establishment in 1994. Our motto is ‘Dialogue, No Violence’. We use superior logic and persuasion. Ishaku wants to give a good dog a bad name so it can be hanged. But he has failed.”

“How can ask Muslims to use their number to vote out an oppressor be interpreted as attempting to set the stage on fire? Numbers must count in a democracy and we are simply awakening the consciousness of Muslims in the state to use the ballot papers to change their precarious condition. How does that translate to incitement?”

“It would not have been necessary to call out Muslims for an electoral contest if the state government had been fair to all. But alas, the reverse is the case. His claim that he ‘has always ensured that favours done to any religious group are replicated in the same quantum to the other’ is neither here nor there. Ishaku can say that to the marines.”

“Why did the Taraba Muslim Council rise against him if he has been so fair? Taraba Muslims have held press conferences and issued press statements in the past two months accusing their state governor of marginalization. Which politician is sponsoring Muslims in the state? Are Taraba Muslims also planning to set their state ablaze?”

“Governor Ishaku should look in the mirror if he is still looking for those trying to set his state on fire. He should know that he has been stoking the embers of religious crisis with his consistent manifestation of tramadol used religiosity in appointments, promotions, etc. He should simply adopt the principles of good governance and stop running from his own shadows.”

“The governor should know that his actions must be interrogated as a public officer. That is exactly what MURIC is doing. We are putting him to task as a state governor in whose hands lie the welfare of citizens of his state. The Muslim Rights Concern must be concerned because 69% of citizens in Taraba state are Muslims. He failed to deny that percentage. He also failed to respond directly to the questions. That is not responsible leadership. That is not knowledgeable leadership.”

“We have our facts and facts are sacred. We also did our homework. Governor Ishaku has dozens of skeletons in his cupboard. He has failed to recognize the heterogeneous nature of Taraba State. He should be a democrat by answering the questions. He should respond bravely and directly and stop beating around the bush.”

“That was exactly what he did with the Taraba Muslim Council. He refused to respond to their questions. He is buying time. But that will not save him. Procrastination is the thief of time. He should stop wondering who is sponsoring his critic. Your Excellency Sir, address the message, not the messenger,” MURIC urged the governor.

Vanguard News Nigeria