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Nigerian Islamic Rights Group, MURIC, Accused Of Receiving $200,000 From Boko Haram Affiliate

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Nigeria-based Islamic rights group, Muslim Rights Concern, (MURIC) has been accused of collecting $200,000 from Boko Haram affiliate, Islamic State for West Africa Province, to destabilise the country.

A former Intelligence Chief in Mali, San Louis Keita, made the allegation in Abidjan, the Cote d’Ivoire capital, at a news conference.

Keita, who addressed the media on August 7, 2020, said the money was given to MURIC to recruit young Fulani men living in the South West of Nigeria to destabilise that part of the country.

However, MURIC has refuted the allegation.

The human rights group described the report as a wicked concoction and a lie from the pit of Jahannam.

MURIC’s reaction was signed by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, on Tuesday.

The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to a rumour making the rounds in mainstream and social media circles that MURIC received $200,000 from ISWAP. It is a wicked concoction and a lie from the pit of Jahannam. We declare clearly, categorically and unequivocally that we have never had any contact with ISWAP or any other terrorist group.

“It is simply illogical. We have always condemned every act of terror whether it happened within or outside Nigeria. The motto of MURIC is ‘Dialogue, Not Violence’. So how can we descend so low as to collect money from terrorists? Such lies will not fly. The terrorists themselves know that we can never support them. So how can they give us money? The allegation is dead on arrival. We are a disciplined group. We have never been known to engage in any violent protest or attack since we established MURIC in 1994. It is most diabolical to accuse a group that has pursued peaceful advocacy for twenty six (26) years of having any connection with terrorists.

“It is an attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Those who have been persecuting Nigerian Muslims are behind the false allegation. They have been used to oppressing Muslims and spreading false propaganda without anybody stopping them until MURIC began to use superior logic to confront them.

“They scampered to safety with their tails between their legs like frightened dogs. They became jittery. They are scared of MURIC and they think the only way to continue their anti-Muslim activities is to first get MURIC out of the way using foul means, including threat of assassination and wicked lies like this.

“Their methods are not only cowardly but devilish. They are desperate. They have been using fake Islamic organisations and fictitious Muslim names to attack us because they are cowards. We have received death threats. These attacks are coming from those who feel threatened by MURIC’s defence of Allah-given fundamental human rights of Nigerian Muslims. Those who have been oppressing Muslims in Nigeria are jittery. They think the only way out is to eliminate us or smear our reputation. But they have failed.

“Just two months ago, they used a fake Islamic organization to accuse the Director of MURIC of collecting N50 million from Fulani leaders in order to destabilise Yorubaland. They label us as slaves and agents of the Caliphate. We suspect that the misinformation was sponsored by those clamouring for the creation of Oduduwa Republic which MURIC has opposed. We remain committed to the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.

“Contrary to lies that we received these huge amounts of money, we can prove that our organization is very poor. Omoyele Sowore, a young presidential candidate who visited our office during the 2019 presidential election was shocked to see the poor condition of our office. He found a desolate office: no computers, no printers, no photocopying machines, no scanners, no air conditioners, no plasma television; just tables and chairs. We had just one laptop.

“Sowore said he was surprised that a group whose impact is felt throughout Nigeria operates from such a poor environment. Sowore is still alive and can be reached. Could we still be poor if we had received N50 million from the Fulanis and $200,000 from ISWAP? By the way, we have the right to collect contributions from Nigerian Muslims, including Fulanis but ISWAP is another cup of tea. We will not touch terrorists’ money with a long pole.

“Besides, we could not pay the salaries of our staff and we had to cry out to Nigerian Muslims on social media concerning our plight. That was just last month. Of course Nigerian Muslims promptly came to our aid. From the North and South, Muslims donated with passion. Some gave just N1,000. Others gave more. An 18 year old girl donated N500 from her allowance.

“Is that terrorist money? How can anybody suggest that we collected money from ISWAP or ISIS? Our condition started improving as soon as Nigerian Muslims intervened. We put the money contributed to good use. We started renovating and extending our office. We boldly and proudly flew Nigeria’s green-white-green flag in front of our office. Perhaps our improved condition annoyed our oppressors and that explains the latest attempt to link us with ISWAP.

“It is a wicked lie. The evidence of donations received by MURIC is there for the security agencies to see. At least they have access to bank records. The contributions came in small amounts from hundreds of members. Do terrorists donate two thousand naira (N2,000)? Nigerian Muslims saw the effectiveness of our advocacy. They realized how poor we are and decided to come to our aid. Nobody can fault that because all non-governmental organisations solicit for funds and churches also collect contributions from Christian members.

“Envious enemies of Islam are just becoming scared. These lies are now being spewed in order to stop us. They are feeling the heat of our advocacy. They have threatened to kill us but we did not bother. They are desperate. Now they are using the name of an intelligence chief in far away Mali to tell this wicked lie. We strongly suspect that it is fake news.

“Our detractors should grow up. Their allegations are spurious, laughable illogical and therefore untenable. How can a man who does not speak Hausa recruit Fulanis in order to destabilize the South West?

“We have never received any money from any Arab country or from anywhere outside Nigeria. MURIC has branches in many states within the country and it is our poor members who contribute their widow’s mites from time to time. That was how we raised funds to purchase a building for use as headquarters in October 2017. That property is presently undergoing renovation and extension. The same method was adopted in December 2019 to buy the only vehicle owned by the organization (a bus). Is there any crime in grassroots mobilization and self-help? Is it a crime for an Islamic organization to own property?

“We have no connection with ISWAP, ISIS or Al-Qaedah. We have always condemned terrorism and violence. We have also organised several programmes on the subject. It is impossible. The terrorists know their friends. They can never offer any money to MURIC. Our ways are not their ways. We hate violence. They love it. We respect women and adore children. They kidnap women and abuse them. We promote education and civilization. Terrorists destroy schools and cities. It is paradoxical that anybody can link us with such groups.

“We appeal to the Federal Government to investigate the source of this information. MURIC has never been involved in any international activity. We deliberately restricted ourselves to the Nigerian environment in order to avoid complications. We have enough on our hands within the country. So how can a former intelligence chief from far away Mali show interest in us? This smirks of fake news sponsored by those interested in getting MURIC out of the way.

“In our final remarks, we urge our detractors to desist from their evil ways and pursue the path of honour. We urge them to drop threats of assassination. It cannot deter us from the path of honour which we have chosen. They should also stop using non-existent Islamic organisations and fictitious names to attack us. It is the way of people who have no conscience or moral values.

“They think that it is actually MURIC or its Director who are at work but it is Allah Himself who is defending Nigerian Muslims. He is only using us. They will continue to fail as long as their ways are luciferous. Almighty Allah has a message for them:
يُرِيدُونَ أَن يُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَيَأْبَى اللَّهُ إِلَّا أَن يُتِمَّ نُورَهُ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ
They wish to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will complete His light even if the unbelievers object to it (Qur’an 9:32).”

BIG STORY

APC Planning To Disown President Buhari, Will Change Name Before 2023 —- PDP Alleges

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has claimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is plotting to disown President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2023 elections.

The PDP made this allegation in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday.

According to him, the ruling party had begun campaigns for the 2023 general election one year into Buhari’s tenure.

PDP also claimed APC might change their name before the next poll.

“The PDP asserts that there are underground moves by APC leaders to disown the Buhari administration, given its failures; the conversation about a possible change of their party’s name as well as the plot to destabilize the PDP, are signs of desperation to hold on to power despite APC’s failures and explicit rejection by Nigerians.

“Our party and indeed discerning Nigerians have seen through the rambling of the APC, which is merely raising dust to foul the political firmament in a bid to cover for its lack of internal cohesion, failure in governance and reneging on the promises they made to Nigerians in other to have access to power,” the statement read in part.

 

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BIG STORY

Lagos Task Force Destroys 1,700 Illegal Shanties, Recovers Illegal Substances At Agege

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Operatives of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit on Sunday said it demolished over 1,700 illegal shanties and containerized shops around Fagba Railway lines, Agege.

During the demolition exercise, the state enforcement team was said to have seized illegal drugs found in the structures and machetes used by hoodlums to often terrorize residents of Fagba, Iju-Ishaga, and Pen-Cinema.

It was gathered that the occupants of the structures were served a 7-day Removal Order and another 21-day grace to aid removal of their structures and vacate the premises.

The Chairman of the Agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, disclosed that in spite of the notices, the owners/ occupants of the affected shanties and containerized shops refused to leave until the team arrived and pulled them down.

Egbeyemi, in a statement made available to The Guild by Head, Public Affairs Unit for the agency, Adebayo Taofiq, on Sunday, stated that the state government served the notices after receiving series of complaints from residents especially those that have been dispossessed of their belongings, on the criminal activities around the axis.

He said: “The illegal shanties and containerized shops were occupied by miscreants and hoodlums that often terrorized innocent citizens around Fagba, Iju-Ishaga, and Pen-Cinema area, dispossessing residents of their valuables, especially early in the day and late at night”.

Egbeyemi further disclosed that investigations conducted on the axis revealed that the miscreants occupying these illegal shanties were responsible for the destructions of public properties and looting of shops immediately after the recent ‘EndSARS’ protest around Agege.

“It was an eyesore with hoodlums freely smoking and selling Indian hemp including prostitution by under-age boys and girls around Fagba railway lines”, he added.

The Chairman confirmed that illicit drugs such as Codeine, Skunk, and Tramadol as well as Indian hemp were seized during the demolition exercise.

Egbeyemi, however, enjoined members of the public to support the government in salvaging the state from the clutches of these notorious criminals by reporting any noticeable activities within their communities to security agencies.

 

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BIG STORY

2023:PDP Inaugurates 6-Member Committee To Woo APC Governors, Lawmakers

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has appointed a six-member committee to woo governors and lawmakers from the All Progressives Congress into its fold, Sunday PUNCH is reporting.

It was gathered that the PDP, in reaction to the defection of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to the APC, set up the National Reconciliation Committee, which was saddled with the responsibility of persuading members of the APC to join the opposition.

The committee, which is headed by a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also includes former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; former Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe); and former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande.

National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan, had in a tweet via the official Twitter account of the PDP, on Monday evening, announced the composition of the Saraki-led committee.

However, sources within the party informed our correspondent that the national leadership of the party had directed Saraki and members of his committee to scout for members within the ruling party.

One of the sources, who is a member of the National Working Committee of the party, told Sunday PUNCH that the PDP was planning to “harvest some governors” and lawmakers from the APC, adding that there were members of the ruling party who had contacted the PDP for possible defection. He stated that the APC was aware of the plan but that it had quickly asked Umahi to defect from the PDP to send a signal that the former ruling party was no longer attractive.

The source said, “We knew their game. They knew that their members, including governors, members of the National Assembly, and lawmakers at the state level, were contemplating joining us. That’s why they rushed to Umahi, asking him to defect quickly.

“They promised him that they would hand over the state (APC) chapter. That was why the party quickly dissolved the Ebonyi State chapter and picked a serving commissioner as acting chairman.”

The PDP NWC, at its meeting on Monday evening, was said to have also deliberated on the strategy aimed at repositioning the party ahead of the 2023 elections.

It was gathered that the six-party members saddled with the responsibility of poaching from the APC were also asked to approach “those who had stopped participating in political party affairs in the country or their respective states but are still respected for their views.”

When contacted, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, described the assignments handed over to the Saraki-led committee as “multi-dimensional.”

He said, “The committee is free to add any other job to its assignment. We want it to reconcile people at all levels. They are also free to talk to those who want to either return to the PDP or even defect to our party.

“I want to tell you that we have large numbers of lawmakers, both at the national and state levels, who are willing to join us. Also, there are some governors who are already talking to us. We just don’t like making noise about what we are doing. I wonder how this information also got to you. But in any case, we are not sleeping.

“If we had won elections in states such as Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara from the opposition without making a noise, I can assure you that we are going to do more positive things that will surprise many.”

In a related development, a former presidential aide, Dr Umar Ardo, called on the incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to declare the seat of Senator Elisha Abbo vacant, following the senator’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Abbo, who claimed that he left the PDP for the APC because of his 2023 governorship ambition in Adamawa State, had also accused the state governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, of not running the party well.

But Ardo, in a message titled ‘Don’t imperil our democracy’ and sent to one of our correspondents, said Lawan owed Nigerians the right to declare the seat of the senator vacant.

He said, “Given the expressed provision of Section 68(1)(g)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and the clear interpretation of this provision by the Supreme Court, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, owes the Nigerian state the inalienable duty to declare Senator Elisa Abbos’s seat vacant, in deference to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as a consequence of the latter’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Meanwhile, the PDP has paid Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State a visit at the Government House, Enugu to probably stop him from an alleged plan to defect to the APC.

It was gathered that the Friday visit, led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and ex-Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, was to reassure Ugwuanyi that the party remained committed to being fair to all sections of the country and individual members in their determination to seek political positions through its platform.

 

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