19th February, 2022




A certain Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi of the Christian Apostolic group recently issued a press release in which he rebuked the director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola and referred to members of the group as ‘imaginary followers’.       



MURIC has however fired back through the chairman of its Taraba State branch, Professor Mustapha Baba Ibbi who issued a press statement on Saturday, 19th February, 2022.


The chairman’s statement reads:



“We are miffed that someone who parades a doctorate degree will join dreamers who dismiss a human rights organisation like MURIC which has been in existence for the past 28 years (since 1994). Where was Bolaji Akinyemi at that time? Could he cross the road unaided by 1994?



“It is now very clear that oppressors of Muslims are feeling the heat of MURIC’s advocacy. Our interventions are hitting them hard like solid rock thrown at their faces. They are feeling the heat and they think the only way to stop us is by hitting below the belt. Blackmail has always been the weapon of falsehood but it will not work with MURIC. Our skin is thick.



“Bolaji Akinyemi and his co-travellers had occupied the space for so long doing whatever they liked, including intimidating, coercing and insulting Muslim leaders and their followers at will. They enjoyed it because there was little or no response. They got away with whatever they said or did in those days but alas it is no longer possible for them today. A new sheriff is in town. MURIC has become a thick thorn in their flesh.



“Our director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, is now being painted in bad colours by them. They call him all sorts of names : fundamentalist, terrorist, fanatic, extremist, bigot, etc. They accuse him of inciting Muslims in Taraba, the South West and, indeed, the whole of Nigeria just because he speaks for Nigerian Muslims. It is an open secret that oppressors always hate those who try to liberate the oppressed.



“In particular, Nigerian Christians who are subjecting Muslims to political marginalisation and socio-economic suppression always call those who try to stop them unprintable names. They are also known to hypocritically call on the security agencies to arrest anyone who tries to defend their unfortunate victims. Fortunately, however, the security agencies are not fools. They know the difference between advocacy and violent acts. MURIC’s motto which is ‘Dialogue, No Violence’, speaks volumes.



“For example, we in Taraba State are surprised that false analysts can be so bigoted and biased as to go on television to accuse Akintola of inciting violence in our state (Taraba) when in actual fact the man used his MURIC to cry out against tyranny, marginalisation and oppression against Taraba Muslims.



“They label Akintola as a terrorist but we see him as the champion of justice. He is the symbol of Muslim resistance to Christian tyranny in Nigeria today and we Muslims see him as the voice of the voiceless and the hope for the hopeless. What is the crime of a man who asks for the restoration of the fundamental human rights of Muslims in Taraba State? What is wrong if a man condemns those who lock out innocent female Muslim students in the South West for wearing a harmless scarf called hijab?



“Nigeria is a society of double standard. A Muslim is labelled a bigot and an extremist when he demands for the fundamental human rights of his fellow Muslims. But when a Christian goes on social media and asks Christians to vote out Muslims in power he is termed a human rights activist.



“A Christian governor is free to declare his state a Christian State contrary to what the constitution stipulates but woe betide a Muslim governor who attempts to practice Shariah or introduce Islamic banking even though the constitution allows it. All hell will break loose and media hype will worsen the situation.



“Christians break the law with impunity but Muslims must not enjoy what the law allows. They also must not partake in sharing the dividends of democracy. Five evils bestride Nigeria: hypocrisy, impunity, lawlessness, recklessness and shamelessness.



“We are not surprised that Bolaji Akinyemi turned a staged drama to real life episode. Both the lady in hijab and the man who offered her N20,000 are members of a drama group. We have traced those behind the staged drama and they have apologised. Bolaji Akinyemi knows this but mischief is his first target. Well, he cannot fool Nigerians.



“Honest Nigerians know materialist religionists. They know those who preach prosperity. They also know clerics who cruise around in Lambogini and the latest cars. Most importantly, they know those who fly in private jets. We challenge Bolaji Akinyemi to mention just one Islamic scholar in that class. Akintola’s best car is a pathfinder jeep and it is 23 years old. Muslim women who wear hijab do not behave like that lady in the video clip. They are enveloped in an air of self-satisfaction. They are chaste and dignifying. Their hijab is a crown, not a crime.



“What kind of blind hatred and make-belief could have led Bolaji Akinyemi to refer to members of MURIC as ‘imaginary followers’? Well, he should wake up from his dream. MURIC is real and its members are real human beings, not ghosts. Bolaji must be the greatest joker of the century if he thinks that members of an organisation that has branches in all the states of Nigeria are ‘imaginary’. Bolaji is living in borrowed robes.



“Is it because Professor Akintola is the only one who signs our statements? Is that why he thinks MURIC is a one man show? Can we say that the Apostolic group is imaginary because he is the only one speaking? Can we say your Apostolic group is also a one man show? How many of you are speaking for the Apostolic? Oh man of little faith! Indeed, ‘My people perish for lack of knowledge’.



“Two of the states where MURIC has branches are headed by professors (Taraba: Professor Mustapha Abba Ibbi and Zamfara: Professor Ahmad Galadima) while six are headed by holders of doctorate degrees (Oyo: Dr. Nurudeen Oloso, Osun: Dr. Abdul Azeez Ademokoya, Ekiti: Dr. Kamaldeen Sulaiman, Gombe: Dr. Garba Abubakar Bajoga, Kebbi: Dr. Salihu Ibrahim Kwaifa, Niger: Dr. Mukaila El-Hussain.


“MURIC’s formidable team of intellectuals is further enforced by the august presence of legal foot soldiers made up of four state chairmen who are lawyers. Bauchi State is headed by Barrister Idrees Safiyanu. Benue branch is chaired by Barrister Bello Danbaba. Kwara chapter has Barrister Taofeeq Jaji as chairman while Nasarawa is chaired by Barrister Yamusa Dauda Shuaibu.


“Our claim is verifiable. Curious journalists can visit those states and speak with those chairmen. Their telephone numbers can be collected through our Lagos headquarters for verification.  



“Can everyone now see the tomfoolery of Bolaji Akinyemi who calls Akintola’s followers ‘imaginary’? Is it not most odious and insidious to describe a gathering of professors, doctors and lawyers ‘imaginary? Bolaji Akinyemi has been infantile, puerile and absolutely kindergarten in his outing. He should bury his head in shame.



“Dr. Akinyemi’s tirade over Akintola’s ‘No Hijab, No Vote’ was absolutely unnecessary. If he cannot openly salute the ingenuity of a university intellectual, he should at least admire him in secret. That is what honest and objective people do. His diatribe over the hijab slogan smacks of pettiness and bitterness. Great minds consume the message, small minds attack the messenger.



“Let Dr. Akinyemi and his ilk know that making the denial of the right of a group an electoral issue is a standard practice in civilized countries. That was why ‘Black Lives Matter’ was an issue in the last American presidential election. MURIC is making the denial of hijab in the South West an electoral issue. Why is Bolaji Akinyemi and his ilk jittery?



“The Apostolic Church should call Bolaji Akinyemi to order. Apostolics, like the first generation churches, have never been known to be militant in their approach. Bolaji Akinyemi will drag the name of the Apostolic Church in the mud with his belligerent attitude unless he is checked. MURIC only challenges those who persecute Muslims. We observe the rules of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence with decent and self-respecting individual Christians and groups.



“We advise Bolaji Akinyemi to stop living in a fool’s paradise. He should also stop chasing shadows. MURIC has come to stay. Though it is not new in the country, it is a movement for justice and a force to reckon with. Hardened tyrants who ignore MURIC do so at their own peril. As for those threatening Akintola, they are simply wasting their time. This intellectual jihadist will not be distracted.”



Professor Mustapha Baba Ibbi,

Chairman, Taraba Branch,

Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).


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