By; AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has slammed new comers, Oodua Muslim Coalition (OMC) for attempting to cause division between Muslims in Nigeria by declaring that YorubaMuslims are not under the control of the Sultan of Sokoto who historically has been the head of all Mslims in the country.
In a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, it described OMC as a faceless group being run with fictitious names.
“Although it is the wish of the OMC to balkanize Nigerian Muslims and give MURIC a bad name in order to silence it (for obvious reasons), we assert the unity and indivisibility of the Nigerian Muslim Ummah.
“Yoruba Muslims are part and parcel of the NSCIA. Muslims everywhere in Nigeria, North, East West and Centre are one and a single Ummah and we are proud to be under a level-headed and peace-loving Sultan of the People.
“A hitherto unknown and unheard of group that called itself Oodua Muslim Coalition (OMC) attacked the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on Wednesday, 3rd May, 2017. In its press statement, OMC alleged that MURIC is being used by the Northern Caliphate to destabilize Yorubaland.
“It further alleged that Yoruba Muslims were not part of Nigerian Muslims headed by the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III,” MURIC said.
It explained that the fraudulent statement was signed by one Mallam Lateef Adeyera as Chairman and one Alhaji Ambali Olubodun Noibi as Secretary, adding that the same signatories claim to be Vice Chairman and Deputy Organising Secretary of the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) respectively.
“MURIC affirms that OMC’s press statement is offensive, abusive and aggressive. It violates the letter and spirit of decorum and breaks the rules of defamation of character. OMC is a fake and faceless group. There is no Islamic organisation called Oodua Muslim Coalition in the South West. Muslims in the South West know their organisations very well.
“We have no doubt that fake names have been used to issue the group’s statement. We declare clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally that no genuine Muslim organisation would issue such a statement in Nigeria of today. OMC’s press release is the handiwork of malicious detractors who envy the rising profile of MURIC,” it said.
MURIC explained that although ‘this amorphous group’ does not deserve to be given any serious attention’, there is need to put the records straight in view of the security implications of the group’s statement and the fact that the group has gone public through the media.
“We will therefore systematically and methodically analyse the group’s statement in order to pull the rug from under its feet.
“First and foremost, the group claimed to have emerged from the mainstream Yoruba socio-cultural group, the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC). But upon investigation, leaders of the two main factions of the OPC (Dr. Fasehun and Chief Gani Adams’ factions) claim they have no group called Oodua Muslim Coalition. They said OPC does not confront religious groups as membership of the group includes all religious affiliations.
“Besides, MURIC can confirm cordial relationship with Dr. Frederick Fasehun, the popular leader of the OPC. Dr. Fasheun was a speaker at MURIC’s seminar on religious tolerance held at the University of Lagos in 2007.
“By the same token, the leader of the new faction of the OPC (The Reformed OPC), Comrade Oludare Adesope, has also denied any knowledge of the formation of any Muslim group under his OPC or any other faction. He said OPC does not operate along religious lines. So which OPC does this amorphous Oodua Muslim Coalition claim to have sprung from? The OPC that we know does not attack any religion. They defend Yorubaland. There are both Muslims and Christians among their members and the last thing OPC would want is to be divided along religious lines,” it added.
The statement went further to claim that the group (OMC) is also not known to the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) which is the umbrella body for all Islamic organisations in the South West.
“The fraudulent tendency in the group is further cemented by its deceitful use of the family name of our revered leader and father of all Islamic scholarsin the South West, Professor Noibi, the Executive Secretary of MUSWEN to deceive the public (the group claims that its own secretary’s name is Alhaji Ambali Olubodun Noibi).
“The group’s allegation that MURIC is run by one man is false and baseless as attested to by the massive number of members of MURIC who participate in public programmes, its members on several social media platforms and Yahoo Groups as well as its branches which are spread all over the country including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
“MURIC is also known to have been represented by competent members in various fora organized by local and international organizations. The fact is that MURIC is a united and disciplined organization with recognized leadership. Perhaps this constitutes a problem for OMC,” it clarified.
It further explained that its antecedents date back to 1994.
“Our motto is ‘Dialogue, No violence’. We have consistently condemned terrorism and all forms of violence. We have pedigree and cannot be so easily rubbished. We warn this fake group and those behind them that it is illegal to impersonate. They will soon be exposed.
“An Islamic organization that interacts with Christians and traditional groups cannot be called a terrorist or extremist group. Established in 1994, MURIC has been issuing goodwill messages to Nigerian Christians during Easter and Christmas for the past twenty years in spite of criticisms by extremist Muslims. Anybody who accuses such a group of being the ‘Taliban of Yorubaland’ needs to have his head examined,” it pointed out.
MURIC alerted the OPC of the existence of a group using its name and platform to cause disaffection between OPC and Yoruba Muslims.
“The fact that there are Muslims and Christians in the OPC further shows the unity in Yorubaland. This is why OPC must not allow fraudsters who use fake names to launch diatribes under its platform.
“We appeal to members of the press to abide by the ethics of their profession at all times. Gone are the days of impunity in journalism. Press statements boardering on assassination of character call for self-censorship in order to avoid the judicial consequences. We advise the press not to entertain fictitious writers and ghost organisations whose only trade marks are name-calling and blackmail.
“We alert security agents in the South West to the dangerous antics of this fake organization. MURIC is physically visible. We are ready to submit ourselves for investigation if the need arises but those behind this fake group must be fished out before they do more harm. Any group which uses fake names is a danger to the community. This is why no sane society should condone impersonation.
“Finally, we assure Nigerians in general and Yorubas in particular, that MURIC is a peace-loving organization. While it is true that we project Allah-given and fundamental rights of Muslims, we are mainly concerned with the people’s welfare in general. We encourage good governance and promote peaceful coexistence. Those who raise false alarm about MURIC are the real enemies of Yoruba people,” it emphasized.