MURIC Commends FG For Stopping Persecution Of S/East Muslims; Lauds LASG On Maternity Leave Extension (Full Text)

The Federal Government yesterday stopped the registration and repatriation of non-indigenes anywhere in the country. It will be recalled that some state governments in the South Eastern part of Nigeria had for some time now requested people of Northern extraction to register and obtain non-indigene identity cards. They were also randomly arrested and harassed by security agents.
Several mosques in the zone had also been raided while Imams and other mosque workers were detained. Last week alone, men of the Nigerian Army on Monday 14th July raided several mosques in Aba, Abia State. They arrested the Chief Imam of Aba Central Mosque, Alhaji Bashir Idris and fourteen others.
Two teachers of the New Horizon Academy which is attached to Aba Central Mosque (the Chemistry teacher, Abdul Rahman Sani and the principal, Abdul Majid Abubakar) remained in detention. In a statement issued on Tuesday 15th July, 2014, The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) denounced the raids as “religious stigmatization, ethnic profiling and undue scapegoatism.”
MURIC lauds the Federal Government for taking action on this most sensitive issue. By outlawing the registration and witch-hunting of Nigerians on account of non-indigeneship, FG has demonstrated that it listens to complaints from the citizens.
FG’s latest action will also forestall the breakdown of law and order as a result of anticipated retaliatory measures from the Northern states. We therefore appeal to state governments, Northerners and Muslims throughout Nigeria who were provoked by those discriminatory actions to forget the ugly episodes and to desist from carrying out any action capable of making non-indigenes in their midst uncomfortable.
MURIC appeals to the security agencies holding the two teachers to set them free or to arraign them in a court of law if they wish to press charges against them. This will go a long way in dousing tension.
The Lagos State Government (LASG) also recently extended the maternity leave of nursing mothers from three to six months.
We recall that MURIC had made this demand in its Salah message dated 7th August 2013. In the message, we called the attention of the Nigerian authorities to the difficulties experienced by nursing mothers. We reminded the authorities that the Glorious Qur’an actually stipulates two years for breastfeeding (Qur’an 2:233). We therefore charged the Nigerian authorities to extend the maternity leave of nursing mothers to six months.
MURIC congratulates LASG for being the first state in the federation to take this golden advice. Lagos even went a step further by granting a two-week paternity leave to ‘nursing fathers’. LASG has thus demonstrated that it leads while others follow. In view of the recommendation of medical experts that newly born children should be placed strictly on breast-milk diet only for the first six months, we charge other states of the federation to emulate the good step taken by Lagos.
As the father of the nation, MURIC charges President Jonathan to act in loco parentis on this landmark policy. The three months leave given to nursing mothers is grossly inadequate. A father cannot watch his daughters suffering in silence. Mr. President should send an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to extend maternity leave to six months. MURIC asserts clearly and unambiguously that the Nigerian girl-child, the Nigerian woman and indeed the Nigerian nursing mother deserves the pride of place in society.  
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)


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