Ishaq Akintola, the director of The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has said the organisation would still take legal action against Folarin 'Falz' Falana, if he fails to withdraw his 'This is Nigeria' video on the expiration of the seven days ultimatum.
Speaking exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES on June 8, Mr. Akintola, a professor, gave reasons for its demands.
PT: Falz's management team has said that it won't pull down the video but would rather meet MURIC in court. What does your organisation have to say to this?
Akintola: We don't need to react to that again because we've made our stance known. We told the world what we'll do, we'll go to court. Unfortunately, some Nigerians will not face the fact; they'll not respect the rule of law.
There are people who will because they are provoked by a production, go to the street, fighting, breaking bottles, breaking windscreen. We are civilised people, we are peace-lovers, law-abiding Nigerians, people who have respect for the rule of law, we have decided to go to court and a lot of Nigerians think that it is just too much.
PT: Your ultimatum expires on June 12, do you see Falz apologising or pulling down the video before then?
Akintola: I don't know. We don't have a problem, we have told Falz what we'll do, if we like, we can go to court at the end of the ultimatum, if we like, we can defer it for three or even seven years.
The video is eternal, we're not in a hurry and there are other steps that can be taken. There is a government in this country, there is a system, if the system worked such video should not be in circulation.
There are other options we can explore. Falz is a young man, he is like my own son and I don't have to 'push' him.
PT: Are you aware that another group, Muslim Against Terror has defended Falz? They say MURIC does not have an understanding of veil usage.
Akintola: Let me also tell you that we have heard about a fake, faceless group 'Muslims Against Error'. I'm asking people in the media if they have ever heard of them before. So, it is fake, it is make-belief.
When a group just evolves suddenly, it is because some people feel anybody that is an enemy of the Muslim is our friend. That is the attitude of some people in this country.
Those who are behind Falz are the fake Muslim groups. We know the gimmicks and we are not bothered. You can see, they even issued a statement that has no signature; the name of the leader is not mentioned.
Why should the media publish rubbish? It is so irresponsible. We are challenging that group that we want names of those behind it. Muric has a name and there is no Islamic association as such. Let them come out, let us meet at a press conference where journalists will be present and see our challenge.
PT: But Falz has explained that depicting the girls in hijab was not to offend the sensibility of Muslims but it was just a representation.
Akintola: If he doesn't want to hurt the Muslims and it is just a representation, let him say sorry that he is being misunderstood and that he is sorry if anyone is offended. That statement is enough for us. Why is it difficult to be humble?
How has Falz's song promoted unity? It has promoted ethnicity, tribalism. It has divided Fulanis against the rest of Nigeria. If Falz portrays the Fulanis as killers what about those behind the killings in Benue State? All those who are in court over the killing of the two Bishops and members of the congregation in Benue State, there is no single fulani among them. They say the Benue state government sponsored them and their names have been published. They were in court and have been remanded in prison.
The video is one-sided, biased and is 'prejudicial'. To clear his conscience, the best Falz could do is to apologise, if he doesn't, he has a moral burden.
PT: On a final note, what are MURIC's demands?
Akintola: Falz must take down the video and apologise to Muslims, whose sensibility he has hurt. He needs to really speak with real Muslims, not those who are deceiving him.