MURIC raises the alarm over DSS invitation of Professor Akintola

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An Islamic human rights group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has raised the alarm over an invitation of its director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, by the Department of State Services, DSS.

The alarm is contained in a statement issued on Friday by the chairman of the Ogun State chapter of MURIC, Jimoh Tajudeen Alao, and the Secretary, Olaleye Rasheed Damilare.

The group said it was not sure of the safety of Akintola in view of a number of alleged attempts on his life in the past.

While requesting the DSS to make the invitation formal through writing, the group accused Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State of being behind the development.

The group said the invitation, it suspected, had to do with a “press release of Monday, 6th of December, 2022 in which MURIC cautioned Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State against the repression of Muslim students and teachers who were forced to sing Christmas carol in St.Annes School 1 senior, St Annes School 2, and St Annes Junior school, Molete, Ibadan.”

The statement reads: “We are particularly disturbed by the insistence of the officers of Oyo State D.S.S Office that Professor Ishaq Akintola, the director of MURIC, must  report to their office in Ibadan, Oyo State, for questioning despite Professor Akintola’s poor health which he explained to the DSS. Although the caller agreed that our director could report in their office within one week, we still find this disturbing because they refused to tell him his offence.

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Our guess is that he is being invited in connection with a press release of Monday, 6th of December, 2022 in which MURIC cautioned Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State against the repression of Muslim students and teachers who were forced to sing Christmas carol in St.Annes School 1 senior, St Annes School 2, and St Annes Junior school, Molete, Ibadan.

In the statement, MURIC asked Muslims in the state to vote out Makinde in the coming election in the State.

MURIC repeated in the statement that it  is not averse to having  a christain Governor as long as the governor is just to all and as long as he respects the rights of all.

If for this the D.S.S. in Oyo State is now being used as a tool to intimidate, harass, distract and silence MURIC, we alert Nigerians to the emerging tyranny in Oyo State. Professor Ishaq Akintola is a law abiding citizen of this country. We are not aware of any crime that he has ever committed.

MURIC refuses to be distracted and intimidated for speaking in the interest of Nigerian Muslims. After all, we have videos of pastors who have uttered incriminating and provocative statements on the 2023 elections and  nothing has happened to them.

Ordinarily, the D.S.S has the right to invite people to their offices for questioning, but the question begging for answer is “How sure are we that the person who called our director is a member of D.S.S.? What if it is a ploy to get him out of his comfort zone in order to assassinate or kidnap him?

This is a man, people have been threatening to kill. Professor Ishaq Akintola has been threatened on many occasions and the telephone call may have been made by any of his prospective assailants.

This is a man, who has been publicly molested for speaking up for the Muslims by people who are against social justice, security and peace.

This is a man that has escaped series of assassination attempts by miscreants and hoodlums. Assassins have been sent to Akintola’s home. They shot his wife in the stomach and she spent weeks in the hospital. How can the DSS invite a man who have suffered such fate just by ordinary telephone call.

Going by the above, we advice Oyo State DSS to invite our director  professionally in writing for the sake of security. Another alternative is for the DSS to come and pick him in Lagos on condition that Muslim lawyers must be present during the questioning. Any attempt at illegal detention will be resisted with every legal means available. At least that will give Nigerians the guarantee that he is in the hands of the DSS. But we warn that nothing must happen to Akintola. 

Although he is based in Lagos, the DSS Oyo State wants him to report in Ibadan, Oyo State.  It is therefore a cross-state invitation and we see it as very dangerous in present-day Nigeria where there is insecurity everywhere. We are particularly concerned when the caller rejected Akintola’s suggestion that he was ready to report at the DSS Lagos office and they insisted that he must come all the way to Ibadan.

We remind Governor Seyi Makinde that the current president of Nigeria has been criticized and abused by many yet he never ordered the security agents to invite, arrest or detain any of his critics. Many state governors have also experienced criticism and they tolerated it. But Seyi Makinde has set the state security personnel against a Muslim non-governmental organization for daring to interrogate the intolerance of school authorities who forced Muslim students and teachers to sing Christmas carol. It is executive recklessness. We reaffirm that we will not succumb to intimidation.

Governor Seyi Makinde never cautioned Christian school authorities who persecuted Muslim students but he wants to use the DSS to harass the leader of an Islamic human rights organization that has been exposing the excessess of christian principals and teachers in the state.

We insist that peace, justice and tolerance can only be achieved, if only we respect the rights of ordinary citizens.

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