By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has complained that its office has been inundated with reports about requests made by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) from gubernatorial candidates in the South West.
According to MURIC, some of the candidates have allegedly agreed with CAN to ban the use of hijab in public schools, to return public schools to missionaries and to cancel the Hijrah and Maolud holidays.
MURIC, an Islamic human rights organization, made the complaint in a public statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Monday, 4th March, 2019.
“We wish to caution gubernatorial candidates in the South Western states where elections are expected to hold on Saturday, 9th March, 2019 against entering into any unholy, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional agreements with state branches of CAN or any individual or group of persons on issues pertaining to Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslims in their states.
“Such agreements are null and void and of no effect whatsoever. Whoever does so is on his own. Muslims of the region will not compromise their civil liberty. Neither will MURIC stand akimbo while any new state government takes away what Muslims have been enjoying in the past. Whoever is contemplating such an action must be prepared to face Muslims in the region in another long struggle. Only a governor who does not wish to enjoy peace in his state will think of doing such things.
“We expect in-coming governors to work towards a harmonious relationship between the adherents of different faiths in their state. It will be most unwise, therefore, to displease one group at the expense of another. Gubernatorial candidates should note that the constitution of Nigeria guarantees religious freedom. Therefore, no governorship candidate should contemplate withdrawing any of the civil liberties enjoyed by Muslims in their states.
“This statement is necessary in order to prepare the minds of gubernatorial aspirants. Nobody should say the Muslims did not give any warning. Ceteris paribus, Muslims are easy going, simple and peace-loving. They are ready to peacefully coexist with others if nobody attempts to trample on their religious freedom. A word is enough for the wise.
“To cap the edifice, we affirm that what matters to MURIC most is good governance. The political parties have picked candidates of their choice based on certain criteria. Our own parameter will be based on performance in the areas of raising the people’s standard of living, securing lives and properties, general welfare, equal rights and justice, particularly ensuring that Muslims are not shortchanged in any way. In a multi-religious environment like ours, we must stop insisting on having Muslims or Christians at the helm of affairs. We must jettison sentiment. Merit should be the watchword.”