The Department of State Security Service (DSS) has summoned the Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola.
Akintola was summoned a few days after he accused Governor Seyi Makinde, of “aiding and abetting Oyo State school authorities, who are in the habit of forcing Muslim students and Muslim teachers to sing Christmas carol.”
He had alleged that “Under Seyi Makinde’s watch, Muslim students were herded like sheep to attend the crusade of a German Christian crusader, Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, in November 2021. Oyo State public schools were used for the crusade during school hours.
“Again, under Makinde’s watch, Muslim applicants attending a screening exercise for appointment were made to answer questions on the Bible in August 2020. Under Makinde’s watch, Muslim teachers were forced to attend a screening exercise on Salah day in July 2022. Yet these are schools using public funds and Muslims are the majority among tax-payers in the state.
“Makinde has a plethora of anti-Muslim actions for which he has never apologized. We have no doubt that he will continue to condone the persecution of Muslim students and Muslim teachers until he is kicked out of office. We, therefore, remind Oyo State Muslims to take their destiny into their own hands by using their voting power to send away their traducer.”
However, DSS has now told Akintola to report to their office in Oyo within one week.
Reacting to the invitation by DSS, the Ogun State Chapter of MURIC described it as an attempt to intimidate the Islamic agency and Akintola.
In a joint statement, the State Chairman of MURIC in Ogun State, Alhaji Tajudeen Jimoh Alao, and the State Secretary, Olaleye Rasheed Damilare said: “We are particularly disturbed by the insistence of the officers of Oyo State D.S.S Office that Professor Ishaq Akintola, the director of MURIC, must report to their office in Ibadan, Oyo State, for questioning despite Professor Akintola’s poor health, which he explained to the DSS. Although the caller agreed that our director could report in their office within one week, we still find this disturbing because they refused to tell him his offence.”
“Our guess is that he is being invited in connection with a press release of Monday, 6th of December, 2022, in which MURIC cautioned Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, against the repression of Muslim students and teachers, who were forced to sing Christmas carol in St. Annes School 1 senior, St Annes School 2, and St Annes Junior school, Molete, Ibadan.
“MURIC asked Muslims in the state to vote out Makinde in the coming election in the State.
“MURIC repeated in the statement that it is not averse to having a Christian Governor as long as the governor is just to all and as long as he respects the rights of all.
“If for this, the D.S.S. in Oyo State is now being used as a tool to intimidate, harass, distract and silence MURIC, we alert Nigerians to the emerging tyranny in Oyo State. Professor Ishaq Akintola is a law-abiding citizen of this country. We are not aware of any crime that he has ever committed.
“MURIC refuses to be distracted and intimidated for speaking in the interest of Nigerian Muslims. After all, we have videos of pastors, who have uttered incriminating and provocative statements during the 2023 elections and nothing has happened to them.
“Ordinarily, the DSS has the right to invite people to their offices for questioning, but the question begging for an answer is “How sure are we that the person, who called our director, is a member of the DSS? What if it is a ploy to get him out of his comfort zone in order to assassinate or kidnap him?
“This is a man people have been threatening to kill. Professor Ishaq Akintola has been threatened on many occasions and the telephone call. “Going by the above, we advice Oyo State DSS to invite our director professionally in writing for the sake of security. Another alternative is for the DSS to come and pick him in Lagos on the condition that Muslim lawyers must be present during the questioning. Any attempt at illegal detention will be resisted with every legal means available. At least that will give Nigerians the guarantee that he is in the hands of the DSS. But we warn that nothing must happen to Akintola.
“Although he is based in Lagos, the DSS Oyo State wants him to report in Ibadan, Oyo State. It is, therefore, a cross-state invitation and we see it as very dangerous in present-day Nigeria, where there is insecurity everywhere. We are particularly concerned when the caller rejected Akintola’s suggestion that he was ready to report at the DSS Lagos office and they insisted that he must come all the way to Ibadan.
“We remind Governor Seyi Makinde, that the current president of Nigeria has been criticized and abused by many, yet he never ordered the security agents to invite, arrest or detain any of his critics. Many state governors have also experienced criticism and they tolerated it. But, Seyi Makinde has set the state security personnel against a Muslim non-governmental organization for daring to interrogate the intolerance of school authorities, who forced Muslim students and teachers to sing Christmas carols. It is executive recklessness. We reaffirm that we will not succumb to intimidation.
“Governor Seyi Makinde never cautioned Christian school authorities, who persecuted Muslim students but he wants to use the DSS to harass the leader of an Islamic human rights organisation that has been exposing the excesses of Christian principals and teachers in the state.
“We insist that peace, justice, and tolerance can only be achieved, if only we respect the rights of ordinary citizens.”