30th January, 2020
AMOTEKUN: MURIC DEMANDS TRANSPARENCY, FAIRNESS
The governor of Ondo State and chairman of South West Governors Forum, Rotimi Akeredolu, yesterday announced that recruitment into the region’s joint security outfit, Operation Amotekun, will begin soon. Although he was silent on the take-off date and the modalities, he affirmed that those recruited will be trained by security experts. The governor had announced a week ago that the idea of establishing a centralized operational command center in Gbongan had been dropped (https://www.rockcityfmradio.com/recruitment-into-amotekun-to-begin-akeredolu/).
In a swift reaction, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advised the governor to ensure transparency and fairness in the recruitment exercise. This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday, 30th January, 2020 by the director of the human rights organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
According to MURIC, “There are positive signals emerging from the Amotekun camp. We have seen that the initial haste to form a regional security unit has been reduced. They are sitting down to map out strategies. At the same time, they are putting together a legal framework to legalize the initiative. These are good steps and they were part of the areas of our initial concern.
“What we need to stress is the need for the exercise to be fair, transparent and devoid of religious bias and ethnic witch-hunting. Muslims will join the security network once there is assurance of fairness and transparency. We therefore call on Muslim youths in the region to start warming up for the recruitment exercise. They should collect forms, fill, submit and wait for further instructions. However, we demand transparency in the recruitment exercise. This can best be done by publishing lists of all fresh recruitments from time to time.
“Muslims who form majority of the region’s population cannot afford to leave the security network to adherents of other faiths alone. It is part of our responsibility to our communities. Besides, joining the outfit will enhance economic empowerment. We therefore urge Muslims in the region not to boycott the security outfit. Muslims should not allow other groups to monopolise it.
“It is true that we are contending the nomenclature and this is for good reason. But while the debate rages, Muslim youths seeking employment should seize the opportunity to join the race. All other matters can be resolved later. The law courts are there for us if we feel seriously aggrieved. But Muslims must not resort to violence over this matter. Afterall we all agree that we need to complement existing security architecture. We only disagreed on the name and methodology. Let the recruitment begin.
“We are all aware of the crucial role played by the Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) particularly during those terrible years when armed robbers took over every night and the booming of guns enveloped the darkness. It was OPC in conjunction with the police that brought the situation under control. It is noteworthy that Muslims form the majority of members of OPC and MURIC enjoyed cordial relations with the Yoruba group. Even the late OPC leader, Dr. Frederick Fasheun, delivered a lecture at a seminar tagged Peaceful Co-existence in a Multi-religious Nigeria organised by MURIC. The seminar was held at the Conference Center of the University of Lagos on 9th August, 2007. The records are there for those in search of the truth.
“Among the positive signals reaching us from the Amotekun camp is the unofficial but reliable information that there are Muslims among the 7-man management team in one of the South West states. The government of the state of Osun has also declared that the operation is not designed to sideline Muslims. These revelations have informed our current stand on the issue. Islam teaches us not to deceive people. We must say it as it is: no deliberate misinformation, no deception, no playing to the gallery. We shall be held accountable for our statements and actions yawm al-Qiyamah (the Day of Ressurection).
“Nonetheless, we frown at attempts to armtwist opponents of the Amotekun project by overzealous propagators of the idea. We condemn the use of threats and blackmail. A faceless group was even concocted to smear the integrity of MURIC leadership. Such dirty methods can never deter MURIC from speaking up when issues of Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslims are at stake.
“To round off, we welcome the new positive developments in the South West security network. We call for transparency, fairness and objectivity in the recruitment exercise which will begin soon. We charge Muslim youths to participate in recruitments into their state’s security outfits. We condemn the death threat, incitements, blackmail and name-calling launched at the MURIC leadership and declare them as mere distractions that are of no consequence whatsoever.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)