11th May, 2022
MURIC THANKS PMB FOR EXTENDING PARDON TO 54 SOLDIERS
An Islamic human rights advocacy group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for granting presidential pardon to the 54 soldiers for whom the organization had been pleading. The 54 soldiers are among the 24 convicts and 86 ex-convicts recently pardoned by the president.
MURIC’s message of gratitude to the president was circulated to the media on Wednesday, 11th May, 2022. It was signed by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The message reads:
“The names of the 54 soldiers for whom we have been pleading since 2014 appeared among the 24 convicts and 86 ex-convicts recently pardoned by President Muhammadu Buhari. The list of those granted this prerogative of mercy was published by several news outposts on Monday, 9th May, 2022 (http://saharareporters.com/2022/05/09/full-list-24-convicts-86-ex-convicts-pardoned-nigerian-government). The names of the 54 soldiers appeared from number 15 on the list (Cpl Andrew Ogolekwu), under mutiny.
“We recall that a special appeal for presidential pardon for the soldiers was among the issues raised by the director of MURIC during his courtesy visit and subsequent discussion with President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
“Two facts have emerged from the tete-a-tete which the director of MURIC had with the president and the resultant pardon granted the soldiers by Mr. President. One, Muhammadu Buhari will grant audience without discrimination, even to the hoi polloi.
“Two, the claim that Buhari is brain dead is absolutely false and luciferously malicious. A man whose brain is dead cannot grant a plea or implement a request presented to him within seven weeks. The director of MURIC met the president alone on Wednesday, 23rd March, 2022. There was no third party. Therefore nobody could have reminded him later about the issues raised. Yet the plea was granted within seven weeks. We therefore confirm that our president is not only very much alive, he is also compos mentis.
“By including the soldiers among those pardoned, President Buhari has pitched his camp with those who show mercy to the oppressed. Those who have been following the case of the 54 soldiers in particular will understand what we mean. They were accused of mutiny because they requested for better weapons to confront Boko Haram insurgents who were armed to the teeth.
“They were first sentenced to death by a military court in 2014. MURIC’s intervention and the legal expertise of foremost human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) resulted in commuting their death sentence to ten years in jail. It was a long struggle but we stood by them all the way until they were granted presidential pardon.
“This is one of the reasons critics need to exercise restraint, particularly on the issue of presidential pardon. Cases need to be treated on their own merit and only the leadership has the larger picture. The general public only have the narrow and parochial confines.
“For example, the two governors who were pardoned enjoyed that facility ‘on ground of life-threatening illness’. But critics nearly brought the sky above Nigeria down because they were pardoned. Yet it is the same people who would have led the battalion of wailers screaming ‘Buhari has no mercy’ had these two politicians died in jail. Critics also ignored the role of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy (PACPM) in the whole affair.
“For the records, MURIC waided into the case of the 54 soldiers simply for humanitarian reasons. We knew none of them. We are middle-roaders and socio-intellectual jihadists seeking freedom for the oppressed, food for hungry Nigerians, healing for the sick, clothing apparels for the naked and shelter for the homeless. We remain oppressed until the hungry are fed, the sick healed, the naked clothed and the homeless sheltered.
“Before we draw the curtain, like Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist, MURIC asks for more from Mr. President, particularly those crucial issues raised during our director’s courtesy visit”.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)