By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Some Nigerians in the Southern part of the country, particularly the South West marked Independence Day on Saturday, June 12, 2021 with demonstrations, thereby clashing with men of the Nigerian Police who were bent on maintaining law and order.
However, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an Islamic human rights organisation, has frowned on the protests. The group referred to the protesters as certificated ingrates, rebellious subjects and articulated enemies of peace. MURIC argued that the protesters have no moral ground to protest on June 12 since it was President Muhammadu Buhari alone who gave official recognition to that day when all past rulers had refused to do so.
MURIC spoke on Monday, 14th June, 2021, through its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads:
“Some Nigerians in the Southern part of the country, particularly the South West marked Independence Day on Saturday, June 12, 2021 with demonstrations. Although in negligible numbers, the protests took place in Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan and a few other places.
“We commend the police for handling the protests with maturity and professionalism as no casualties or brutalities were reported. However, the protesters exposed themselves as certificated ingrates, unrepentant rebellious subjects and articulated enemies of peace.
“June 12 should be a day for all Nigerians to celebrate Chief M.K.O. Abiola for his sacrifices on the altar of democracy. He was the man who paid the supreme sacrifice after winning the presidential election held on June 12, 1993 which was criminally annulled by the military.
“The Nigerian civil society, including MURIC, had been clamouring for the official recognition of that day as Democracy Day but none of our past rulers listened, not even Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who hails from the same city of Abeokuta like M.K.O. The former had all the chance in the world to declare June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day having ruled for eight years (1999 – 2007) but he bluntly refused to do so.
“It was a Northerner, a Fulani, President Muhammadu Buhari, who eventually proclaimed June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day. It is our contention that for that alone, the people of the South West should show gratitude to Buhari. But what do we see?
“It was demonstrations galore. The most shameful, most reprehensible and most preposterous was the open participation of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State who marched on the streets of Ibadan with protesters chanting ‘Buhari Must Go’. It is most naïve for a sitting executive governor who came into office riding on the back of democracy to join a group seeking the removal of a democratically elected president through undemocratic means. It was a great disservice to the memory of M.K.O. Abiola. Seyi Makinde is an ingrate nulli secundus. He should apologise to Nigerians for his immature behaviour.
“Those protesters definitely missed the point and lost their bearing because Nigerians, particularly people of the South West, should be showing gratitude to Buhari for declaring June 12 as Democracy Day instead of partaking in an unnecessary protest.
“The Qur’an gives immense honour to those who appreciate goodness. Allah says, ‘If you are grateful, I will increase my favours on you. But if you disbelieve, certainly my punishment is indeed severe’ (Glorious Qur’an 14:7).
“On his way to Jerusalem, while passing between Samaria and Galilee, Jesus (may peace be upon him) was met by ten lepers who begged him to heal them. Although he cured them all, only one of them, a Samaritan, a ‘foreigner’, came back to show gratitude and he was asked, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?’ (Luke 17:11-17).
“As if in response to this rhetorical question, a larger group of demonstrators gathered in Abuja to show solidarity with Buhari. They drummed, sang and danced. These are ‘the nine’ and we commend them for their wisdom boldness and patriotism.
“MURIC calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore those who are ungrateful to him. He should continue his good works. We ask him to reflect on the words of Allah where He said, ‘What does Allah stand to gain if you show gratitude and belief? Allah is the One who shows gratitude (i.e. Allah is the One who knows how to reward good deeds) and He knows everything’ (Glorious Qur’an 4:147).
“Therefore, our message to Mr. President is this: Just continue your good works. Expect no gratitude from some Nigerians. But many others appreciate you. Most importantly, Allah will definitely reward you here in this world and yaom al-Qiyamah (in the Hereafter).
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)