14th June, 2018
ID AL-FITR MESSAGE:
SET THE 54 SOLDIERS FREE
The Federal Government (FG) has declared tomorrow Friday 15th June and Monday, 17th June 2018 as holiday to mark the end of Ramadan 2018 (1439 AH).
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) felicitates with the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, CFR, mni on this auspicious occasion. We also congratulate the Nigerian Muslim Ummah and the entire Nigerian citizenry for successfully observing this year’s Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan is, essentially, the month of mercy. Its beginning is a blessing, its middle is for forgiveness while its end is freedom. A fortiori, MURIC reminds President Muhammadu Buhari of the plight of the 54 soldiers who were imprisoned for refusing to fight Boko Haram insurgents with poor weapons.
They were sentenced to life imprisonment ab initio before the sentence was commuted to ten years imprisonment. MURIC sees the 54 soldiers as whistle-blowers, not criminals because they actually exposed the $2.1 billion arms fraud. It is a sad paradox that while other whistle-blowers are being rewarded, the 54 soldiers are languishing in jail. This is frustrating.
In the spirit of the forgiveness and freedom which the middle and end of Ramadan stand for, we appeal to Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to, in exercise of the prerogative of mercy, grant presidential pardon to the 54 soldiers.
We call on civil society, particularly anti-corruption crusaders to speak out for the 54 soldiers. We also remind state governors and state chief judges to use the occasion to visit prisons in their states with a view to setting free a large number of inmates particularly those awaiting trial.
Finally, we charge Nigerian Muslims to use the occasion of the Id Al-Fitr to pray fervently for President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and the Nigerian nation. Prayer points should include divine protection for PMB, triumph over all forces lined up against him and another four-year tenure of peace, prosperity and progress.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)