24th October, 2022
DELIST RCCG CAMP FROM EXAM CENTRES FOR DISALLOWING MUSLIMS FROM ENTERING – MURIC
An Islamic human rights advocacy group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has accused the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) of disallowing Muslims from entering its camp along Lagos-Ibadan expressway to transact business in their banks or to check their WAEC, JAMB and other examination centres. The group therefore demands the relocation of examination centres from the RCCG camp.
The allegation was contained in a public statement issued on Monday, 24th October, 2022 by the director of the group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads :
“Our office has been inundated with complaints from Nigerian Muslims who have been denied access into the Lagos-Ibadan expressway camp of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).
“Among the complainants are Muslims who registered for the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) as well as other examinations. Attempts by the candidates to enter the RCCG camp in order to check their examination centres are always rebuffed by RCCG securitymen who turn them back at the gates with clear messages that Muslims are persona non grata inside the camp.
“The second group of Muslims who are not allowed to enter are those who opened bank accounts in some of the banks located inside the camp like Eco Bank, Unity, Guaranty Trust Bank, FCMB, United Bank for Africa, Zenith and Access Bank. This ugly trend has been on for quite some time but the complaints have increased in number recently.
“MURIC finds this development distasteful, disturbing and disdainful. It is interesting to note that this kind of stereotyping with Muslims as the victims is happening in Yorubaland. It is even more interesting to note that those behind this obnoxious practice are Yoruba Christians while the victims are Yoruba Muslims.
“Those who talk about religious tolerance being rampant in Yorubaland have therefore missed the point. Christians and Muslims who live together in the same buildings or those who work together in the same workplaces tolerate each other out of necessity. There are no clashes between them in those places because they do not bring their religion into their homes and offices. They relate as individuals. No more, no less.
“But the difference is the case in matters concerning religion where they operate as Christian or Muslim groups or as corporate entities. The same Christian teacher who lives in the same house with many Muslims without any problem is the same teacher who will snatch the hijab from the head of a female Muslim student in the school. Simply put, there is no religious tolerance in Yorubaland. That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“The reality is that Christians and Muslims in Yorubaland relate perfectly with one another as individuals, friends and family members but they have no respect or tolerance whatsoever for one another’s religion. However, it is the Muslims who are at the receiving end because Christians had the advantage of being in control of the paraphernalia of educational and socio-economic priviledges.
“The RCCG camp saga cited above is one good example. RCCG has used opportunities at its disposal to build a big camp on Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It has also equipped the camp with necessary infrastructural facilities including a university, schools, clinics, banks, residential houses, etc.
“MURIC acknowledges the right of RCCG to do all these but at the same time members of the public should be given access to them. Failure to allow that access robs RCCG of an important quality and role in social relations, namely, neighbourliness and service to the people. Afterall many other entities have such facilities and keep them open to the public.
“Or is RCCG replicating the obnoxious practice in apartheid South Africa where swimming pools and clubs hang bold signs outside their doors to warn off blacks? It used to be ‘Dogs and Blacks NOT Allowed’. Is it now ‘Dogs and Muslims NOT Allowed’?
“This attitude is most disgusting, most repugnant and therefore most unacceptable. MURIC will not stand akimbo when Muslims are treated with ignominy, contempt and utmost disrespect. Not even security concerns call for such treatment. RCCG is deliberately pursuing the same ostracization policy of Yoruba Christian elites against Yoruba Muslims in their midst. It amounts to gross intolerance.
“As a way forward, we demand, first and foremost, the relocation of all public examination centres from the RCCG camp. This camp should be delisted by WAEC, JAMB, NECO and other examination bodies for practising religious apartheid. However, any examination body that examines Christian candidates only are free to continue patronising RCCG camp.
“Any individual or institution that applies to examination bodies to host examinations must give access to the public, particularly the candidates. Anything to the contrary is arbitrary and alien to the culture of education. A situation whereby candidates of a particular religion are shut out of the premises of the examination venue is unfair, unjust and unacceptable by any standard.
“We advise Muslims to stop going inside the RCCG camp. It is private property where Muslims are not welcome. Muslims residing in the vicinity should patronise banks and other business concerns located outside the camp. However, we warn that banks and other business concerns located within RCCG camp may start losing their Muslim customers if they continue within RCCG camp. Our advice to the banks id to engage RCCG authorities in dialogue on this matter.
“Whereas RCCG has the option of using bomb detectors and conducting physical searches based on male for males and female for females method to overcome its security concern, it has elected to dehumanise Muslims seeking entry into its premises. This will remain on record for a very long time.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)