Nigeria: Salah Prayer Saga - Sanction Erring Governors, MURIC Tells Buhari

29 May 2020

... Says this is how not to worship Allah

Following reports of observance of congregational Eid-il-Fitr prayers in Kano, Borno, Nasarawa, Jigawa in defiance to the Jamaatu Nasril Islam (JNI), the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the Federal Government's pray-at-home directive on Eid-il-Fitr day to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, an Islamic human rights organization, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called for sanctions against the erring governors.

MURIC, reacting to the development, described their action as 'grossly irresponsible'.

According to the Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola, "We are deeply perturbed by the action of some Northern state governors who goaded Muslims in their states to congregate for the Eid-il-Fitr prayer on Sunday 24th May, 2020 in spite of directives to the contrary from the FG, JNI and NSCIA. It is an act of gross irresponsibility. It is a shame that governors can play to the gallery even when it has to do with human lives. This is not Islam. It is an articulated religiosity.

"There must be consequences when people in position of authority gamble with the lives of their citizens. This singular action has put the whole country in danger and we only have to wait for the next two weeks as the virus incubates for us to know the impact of the governors' intransigence. This is how not to worship Allah.

"Neither is it about the right to celebrate a festival. MURIC as a human rights body will not defend the indefensible. Islam is a religion of justice. Therefore we will not bend the rules or change the goal post after the game has already started just because Muslim governors are involved this time around. The fact that we vowed to promote Allah-given fundamental human rights of Muslims does not mean that we would look away when Muslims do the wrong thing. After-all we were all here when Christians marked Easter without fanfare, pomp and pageantry. So why can't we as Muslims control ourselves?

"Every Nigerian Muslim must take responsibility for this. These recalcitrant governors have embarrassed Islamdom. We must admit our wrong, particularly because what we did is capable of bringing untold hardship upon the whole country. The next two weeks will tell. But to start with, we must show remorse and apologise to fellow Nigerians for exposing the country to danger.

"It is on this note that we of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) tender unreserved apology, first to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government and all law-abiding citizens in the country. If we have always been quick to confront those who maltreat Muslims, we must not be silent when the Muslims themselves wrongly defy the rest of Nigerians and embark on actions capable of causing mass death among innocent Nigerians.

"We must speak truth to power because truth is sacrosanct. The governors simply went on a show of shame. It is disgraceful. It is a huge blunder. When did Nigerian Muslims become more Muslim than their Makkan counterparts? Why must we assemble for Id prayer in Nigeria when Muslims in all Arab countries prayed at home? Muslims in Senegal, Gambia, Ghana and other West African countries prayed at home.

"President Muhammadu Buhari must not allow these erring governors to go scot-free. They must be sanctioned. FG must speak up. The action of these recalcitrant governors must be condemned in unmistakably strong terms.

Thereafter, Mr. President must design suitable punishments that will touch only the office and personality of the governors without necessarily affecting the gullible and misled citizens in the state. Those who fail to take responsibility have no cassu belli for occupying the government house.

"We have not seen the end of this incident if we have conscious lawmakers in the state assemblies. Any lawmaker worth his salt will know that the action of the erring governors stand in contra-distinction to the provisions of Article 14 Section 2(b) of the1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.

"In essence, the governors have committed impeachable offences. We, therefore, call on the state legislators to do the needful. We do not want governors who do not care about human life. The choice before the governors is this: apologise publicly or resign and pack out of government house, otherwise your impeachment is just around the corner."

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