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

Western part.

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

school hours.

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,

President General,

Concerned Yoruba Muslim Scholars

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