22nd April, 2023
MAKE GOVT HOUSES & MARKETS PEOPLE FRIENDLY – MURIC
An Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has appealed to governments at all levels to make their houses and markets people-friendly. MURIC argued that poor workers can hardly afford the price tag of the so-called low cost housing estates while ordinary market women who are driven out of their stalls could not pay for the shops built by governments.
The appeal was contained in a Salah message issued by the Executive Director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Saturday, 22nd April, 2023.
He said :
“Nigerian Muslims yesterday joined fellow faithfuls around the globe to mark the end of 2023 (1444 AH) Ramadan fasting. Prayers were held all over the country.
“MURIC felicitates with President Muhammadu Buhari, President-Elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abu Bakr bin Ibrahim Al-Kanemi and all Nigerians on the occasion of this year’s Id al-Fitr.
“In view of the fact that Ramadan is designed to evoke pity and sympathy for the poor in every society, we call attention to the plight of the Nigerian proletariat who toil day and night for our country but who are overworked, underpaid and over-taxed. We direct special focus to the unfortunate phenomenon of redundant low cost houses purportedly built for workers by the federal and state governments but whose prices are well above what the poor workers can afford.
“Some of such buildings still remain unoccupied to date. They have become habitats for rodents, reptiles and cockroaches. They are symbols of bad government policies which need to be quickly reviewed.
“More saddening is the plight of poor and vulnerable market women who are driven out of their shops by governments. The shops are pulled down and ultramodern structures are built in their places. Yet governments always put crazy price tags that are unaffordable for the poor market women who were displaced for the new and modern shops.
“This constitutes deliberate dispossession and calculated economic disempowerment. It is sheer impoverishment as well as direct and deliberate attack on vulnerable women. Millions of such women have been rendered poor and driven into lives of slavery, hunger and disease.
“It should be noted that many of these poor market women are bread winners for their husbands and children. They are responsible not only for the feeding and accommodation of their families but also for the education of their children.
“This obnoxious policy forces the grownup children and sometimes the mothers to go into crime, prostitution and other evil practices like ritual killing and human trafficking. It is inexplicable, self-defeating and counter-productive for a government that is fighting criminality.
“MURIC singles out the Lagos State Government (LASG) in this hateful policy in its drive for increased Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Poor market women have been chased away from Igando, Iyana Iba, Okokomaiko, Ikotun, Oshodi, Mushin, and very recently, the Fruits Market at Ketu Garage in Lagos State.
“Ultramodern shops have been built in those former markets. The result is the massive displacement of poor, vulnerable market women as LASG placed high price tags on the new shops. Where does LASG expect poor market women who are selling pepper, onion, tomatoes, local herbs and other insignificant wares locally called ‘wosiwosi’ to get millions of naira to buy shops?
“The ultramodern shops have been taken over by modern day capitalist comprador bourgeoisie with easy access to bank loans, connection in the corridor of power and a sinister motive to drive poor market women who are indigenes out of their land for eventual and total takeover of ‘a land without people’ by a people all out for total control of land belonging to others. We warn that these are ingredients for anarchy in the nearest future.
“MURIC advises the federal and state governments to make their houses and markets people-friendly. Governments at all levels should reduce their greed for immediate recovery of capital invested in housing projects. The practice of selling houses and shops at skyrocket prices should stop. It only succeeds in strangulating the poor in society.
“Worse still, it compartmentalizes society into poor people filled with hate and rich people who are mere targets of revolutions. It is a tragedy waiting to happen. It is a badly planned, diabolically executed, anti-people, heartless, bohemian and barbaric disempowerment programme.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)