The Muslim Congress (TMC) Committee on Social Mobility, Economy and Politics, Saturday, January 11, 2020 held its quarterly State of the Nation Address at its national secretariat in Jibowu, Lagos where different burning issues affecting the country were outlined and discussed.
The State of the Nation Address which was the 17th in the series, was presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. Lukman AbdurRaheem, ably represented by the General Secretary, Alhaji Abdul Waasi Bamgbala, who listed a number of issues on the front burner of the nation and stated the position of the Muslim body on them.
The issues revolved around security, rule of law, budget, health, elections and sundry issues. Muslim News chronicles seven key take-aways from the address.
Reacting to the ‘Amotekun’ security outfit initiated by South-Western Governors that flagged off last Thursday with the approval of the Inspector General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, the Muslim Congress commended the collaborative efforts of the six state governors of South-West of Nigeria, saying that community policing strategy would enhance confidence building for the people in the region.
The Amir noted that the Western Nigeria Security Network (WNSN) established to improve the security situation of the six states of the region should be adequately supervised by the Nigerian police in order to avoid any form of abuse to the citizens, adding that the security outfit needs adequate funding for good performance and effectiveness.
“The outfit should also be technology-driven in its operations such that drones and other modern devices can be deployed. Their responsibilities must also be well spelt out so that there is no rivalry among member-states and so that it does not go on a collision course with the Nigerian Police Force. The other regions of the Federation may like to emulate this initiative in order to arrest the worsening security situation in the land,” he said.
The Federal Government has on Tuesday declared the paramilitary outfit as illegal as it is not backed by any known law in the land.
US Special Watch List
The Amir of TMC also described the United States’ placement of Nigeria on its Special Watch List as unfair and unrepresentative of the realities on ground, adding that the US had probably listened more to some aggrieved Nigerians canvassing such ideas who do not represent the broad spectrum of the populace.
Dr AbdurRaheem, an Assistant Professor at the American University of Nigeria, observed that the inclusion of Nigeria on the list may not be unconnected to the continuous detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and the subsequent clashes between the Nigeria Police Force and IMN members.
He however noted that Nigeria does not deserve to be on the list because it has been promoting peaceful co-existence among people of different religions and playing host to different religious preachers and programmes across the world. He added that the IMN issue is purely a criminal case that is been addressed with the instrument of the law.
As for the Boko haram reign of terror in Nigeria, the Amir said, “the terrorist group does not differentiate between Muslims and Christians when it goes on a killing spree. It is the intention of Boko Haram to divide the populace along religious lines even though the majority of the populace and the FG are wary of their antics. These should therefore not be used as reasons to place Nigeria on any watch list. Nigeria does not belong there”.
Rule of Law
The Committee also commended the Federal Government for the release of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and Convener of RevolutionNow group, Omoyele Sowore from detention, noting that the step has reduced the brewing tension in the country and enhanced the image of the President Buhari led-Government.
It however pleaded with the Federal Government to extend the same gesture to the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, while his trial continues in the court of competent jurisdiction.
While calling on the FG to also extend the same gesture to others still in detention despite court orders granting them bail, the leader of the Muslim Congress charged the released detainees to conduct themselves well and make themselves available for trial when the need arises.
Speaking on the 2020 budget which was presented to the National Assembly on October 8, 2019 and signed into law on December 17, 2019, the Amir of The Muslim Congress applauded the Federal Government and the National Assembly for their mutual understanding and cooperation which culminated in the timely passage of the budget.
He notes that in the last decade, there was the inability to get the budget ready for January each year, urging that the good development must be sustained over the coming years as it would positively influence the economy.
“The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as well as other Ministries, Departments and Agencies should therefore ensure that the objectives of the budget are met. The long-suffering people of Nigeria have waited patiently to enjoy the dividends of democracy. The time to deliver is now”, he said.
Commendations for Professor Oloyede, and Alhaji Zikrullahi Hassan
The Committee also rejoiced with the JAMB CEO, Professor Ishaq Oloyede for emerging the Leadership Newspapers Person of the Year 2019 and lauded the nomination of Barrister Zikrullahi Kunle Hassan as the chairman-designate of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
The organ of The Muslim Congress described Oloyede, who was also honoured with a fellowship award by the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU), as a beacon of hope for a viable, responsive and responsible public service. It added that he has demonstrated transparency, humility and deep commitments in the positive transformation of JAMB.
The Committee particularly alluded to the remittance of N20 billion naira in three years to the coffers of the Federal Government by JAMB under Prof Oloyede, describing it as a laudable achievement that should be emulated by other public officials.
Meanwhile, the Committee also described Barrister Hassan as a man with the capacity and requisite skills to consolidate the gains of the outgoing chairman in repositioning NAHCON for prompt and better service to the public.
Dr Lukman noted that Barrister Hassan is coming on board with rich academic qualifications and wide experience in Islamic activities, adding that he has on-the-job experience in Hajj operations having served in similar capacity at state level in Osun State.
He expressed optimism that Muslims are in for a better deal upon his confirmation by the National Assembly and consequently resumption, as the helmsman of NAHCON.
Separation of Conjoined Twins in Nigeria
The Committee Chairman also commended the Federal Government and Nigerian doctors for the recent successful separation of conjoined twins, noting that it is an indication Nigeria can shun medical tourism draining its foreign reserves.
The surgical operation which was carried out at the National Hospital, Abuja lasted for about 12 hours and involved 78 medical personnel all of whom were Nigerians with no foreign aid. The set of twins with one liver, a protruding stomach and a lower chest were successfully separated during the surgical operation.
Muslim News’ findings however revealed that this is not the first time a set of conjoined twins would be separated in Nigeria. On May 14, 2018, a team of surgeons successfully separated four-month-old conjoined twins at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola. Also, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital on June 11 2018, announced that it separated a set of conjoined twins referred to the centre from the St. Mary Catholic Hospital, Gwagalada, Abuja.
The Committee stated that this medical feat recorded yet again translates to the fact that the Nigerian populace would have access to qualitative and affordable healthcare if the right manpower and equipment are made available by all stakeholders.
Bayelsa and Kogi Gubernatorial Elections
The Committee also condemned the violence and vote buying that characterised the recently conducted Bayelsa and Kogi States Gubernatorial Elections, saying that the elections show how low the conduct of elections can become if the present situation is not curtailed.
According to the Committee Chairman, “The two elections were marred by violence and vote-buying despite the presence of security personnel and provisions made by INEC officials. This fact was also accepted by the Chairman, Board of INEC Institute, Soyebi Adedeji, at a public presentation of the election findings. He insisted that there was violence in both states and that the people who were used to perpetrate the actions were mostly youths”.
Dr Lukman further called for the conduct of elections that are devoid of violence and vote-buying for the wishes of the people to prevail. He added that those arrested for perpetrating violence should be charged to court to serve as a deterrent to others.
He particularly called for the immediate prosecution of suspects apprehended in connection with the killing of Mrs. Salome Acheju Abuh, the Kogi State PDP Women Leader.
Abdullahi Abdulganiy and Muhammad Harun