BEING THE TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY CONCERNED YORUBA MUSLIM
SCHOLARS ON WEDNESDAY 4 TH JANUARY, 2023 AT OJA OBA
CENTRAL MOSQUE, IBADAN
As-Salam Alaykum Waramatullah Wabarakatuh,
All praise and adoration belong to Allah – the Master of the Day of Reckoning.
May His peace and benedictions be upon the noblest of Mankind Muhammad, the
son of Abdullah (SAW), his household, companions and all those who follow his
footsteps till the end of time (Aamin).
Gentlemen of the press, thank you for honouring our invitation to be here. We
are grateful for your coverage and support. Today, we invite you as stakeholders in
ensuring peaceful religious co-existence generally in Nigeria and specifically in the South
We observed with dismay the weaponization of religion by some elements within the Christian
Association of Nigeria (CAN) campaigning that Christians should not vote for Muslims in the
forthcoming presidential and other elections. This will not augur well for a country yearning for unity
of purpose and good governance. It is unfortunate that religious leaders that should be busy
propagating righteousness are now being drawn full blown to murky waters of partisan politics.
While we frown at some Muslims groups going the way of the aforementioned CAN elements, we
outrightly condemn some Muslim groups campaigning that Muslims should not carry out their civic
responsibility of going out to vote candidate of their choice. We hereby aligned with the position of
the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria that all Muslims
should go out and vote for candidates that can guarantee their fundamental human rights without
discrimination and for the good governance of the Country.
Our attention was drawn to the purported invitation of the Director of Muslim
Rights Concern (MURIC) Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola, on Friday, December 16,
2022, by someone claiming to be calling from Ibadan office of the Directorate of Security Services
(DSS) over a press statement criticising the government of Oyo State over
infringement on the rights of Muslims especially Muslim Students.
In the press statement, the vibrant, dogged Muslim and human rights activist,
Prof. Akintola exposed how Muslim students and teachers were forced to join the
organised Christmas carol in St. Annes School 1 Senior, St Annes School 2, and St
Annes Junior School, Molete, Ibadan under the present administration in Oyo State.
Also, MURIC in the press statement warned Muslims and other voters to be wary
of any government operating anti-Islamic/Muslim agenda.
For us at the Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars in Nigeria and Political Awareness
Group in South West Nigeria, it is shocking that the DSS will allow itself to be used as a
political tool to silence the voice of truth and intimidate civil rights activist. As they say,
the truth is always bitter.
The invitation we got to know was at the instance of the State government to harass and shut out
the MURIC Director who has always been fighting for Muslims rights over the last two decades. Few
examples of Muslims rights violation under Governor Makinde’s watch are – Muslim
applicants attending a screening exercise for appointment were made to answer
questions on the Bible in August 2020. Again, under Makinde’s watch, Muslim
teachers were forced to attend a screening exercise on Salah day in July 2022.
Three Muslims judges awaiting governors endorsement died in quick succession in a questionable
circumstances and were replaced by Christians. Lopsidedness in government appointment and
empowerments against the Muslim majority population
Most recently, under Governor Makinde’s watch, Muslim students were forced to
attend the crusade of a German Christian crusader, Evangelist Daniel Kolenda in
November 2021 and Oyo State public schools were used for the crusade during
These and more are Makinde’s offences against Muslims that MURIC seeks to
correct but instead of probing these claims and sanctioning erring defaulting
officials, the government emboldened them and sought to use the DSS to harass
MURIC director. No, this is very wrong and won’t work. Or does the governor
want to prove the ignorance of the religious infractions in his state against
Muslims ? The invitation of Professor Akintola is an intimidation taken too far.
We also appeal to the DSS to be professional and understand that religious
matters are very sensitive and volatile. The DSS should not be used to test the
strength of Muslims in the South-West as an injustice against the MURIC director
would be considered an attack on Muslims in Yorubaland and Nigeria as a whole.
The security outfit should also remember its purposes of creation and not dabble
into matters that could attract hatred to the security outfit.
We must state here that having a Christian Governor is not exactly the problem.
The religion of Seyi Makinde won’t be anybody’s business if he accords Muslims
their rights and ensure equity. We challenge the DSS to make public what
exactly the allegations against Professor Akintola if not his dogged fights for Muslims
rights which he has been going about it through lawful means.
Also, it is worrisome that the DSS wants the Professor to leave Lagos where he
resides to answer queries in Ibadan despite several logistics encumbrances plaguing the
country. For someone whose life has been threatened severally, it may be
unintelligent to ask him to travel for such questioning. What happens to the DSS
arms in Lagos ? Or is it the DSS that is in Oyo State that has been compromised
and willing to play the cards of the Oyo State governor ? Nothing must happen to
Professor Akintola !. He has not committed any offence known to law by exposing
the anti-Muslim developments in Oyo State.
We are also aware that the Oyo State Chapter of MURIC has approached the
court to seek redress and protect the fundamental rights of Professor Akintola.
This shouldn’t have been necessary if the DSS acted responsibly and shunned
the victimisation of the Muslim rights vocalist. We urge the DSS to respect the
rule of law by not acting funny through the forceful arrest of Professor Akintola
or illegal invasion of his residence.
Why is it that MURIC is the target of the DSS and the Christianity extra favoured
government in Oyo State ? Could it be because the organisation is considered
one of the leading voices for Muslims ? If the intention of the DSS and
government is to silence Muslims, it won’t work. Muslims will do everything
possible to protect their rights and their representatives.
Gentlemen of the press, we also like to express our reservations about the bias
of DSS as a body. It is saddening that despite the criticisms and attacking
statements by leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria, many of its leaders
aren’t summoned. They walk freely and fight for their rights and even wrongs
(divisive political statements) without let or hinderance. If this continues, we will have no
choice but to call for a change of the leadership of the DSS to one that will
promote neutrality and be objective in its dealings.
We call on Governor Makinde not to abuse power and allow democracy to thrive
and stop intimidating Professor Akintola with state actors. One of the beauties of
democracy is that it allows criticisms, Professor Akintola or any other Nigerian
should not be denied that benefit.
We also call on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on DSS and the state
government so that no harm must touch Prof Akintola and Muslims won’t fold their
hands to allow injustice.
Thank you for coming. We are glad to have you in our midst.
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria
Shayk Abdur-Rasheed MAYALEKE,
Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars