The Muslim Rights Concern has told the protagonists of the proposed Oduduwa Republic to stop using fake Islamic organisations to camouflage as Muslims.
The position of MURIC was made known by its Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in a statement on Wednesday.
The human rights organization urged Nigerians to be wary of fake Islamic groups masquerading as genuine and declaring support for the secessionists.
It said: “The protagonists of the proposed Oduduwa Republic are desperate. Their desperation has reached a crescendo where they have resorted to dishonourable actions. This should jog the conscience of honest Nigerians. There is nothing wrong to have differences and disagreements. It is also normal to have ambition. But what is abnormal and ignoble is to pursue your ambition by hook or crook.
“Those in the irredentist Oduduwa Republic camp have descended so low that they use fake Muslim names and counterfeit Islamic organisations to issue statements in order to confuse Nigerians. Their plan is to deceive Nigerians and the rest of the world into believing that Yoruba Muslims are with them in their secession bid. This is not politics. It is outright dishonesty. It is not only cowardly, but ignoble, despicable and condescending. It should be condemned by all men and women of honour.
“Those behind it should be ashamed of themselves and those still supporting them should realize by now that they are being led by the nose. We urge Nigerians and the outside world to wake up to the antics of shenanigans masquerading as leaders of Yoruba self-determination groups. Yorubas are known to have great qualities of honesty and transparency. That is why the average Yoruba man, based on established Yoruba norms and values, is proud to be called an ‘Omoluabi’, i.e. a man of honour.
“But the reverse is the case with the self-acclaimed leaders of the present Yoruba irredentists. They are another cup of tea entirely. They are prepared to get their reckless and ill-thought-out ambition by fair or foul means. Instead of using superior logic to convince Nigerians, they tell lies at will to confuse the gullible. They forge names and concoct counterfeit organisations just by snapping their fingers.
“All these are in an effort to deceive the public. Our question to them is very simple: what kind of ‘republic’ do you want to establish with falsehood? Why must you resort to deception, lies and false propaganda? It is sheer mischief, nothing else. This is where Nigerians have to choose: should we follow liars and mischief makers or should we queue behind men of honour and truth? The devil you know is always better than the one you do not know. We may not have gold or silver today, but we will never deceive you with lies or half-truths. Unless you are a certificated gambler, it is too dangerous to follow liars to terra incognito.
“The names of fake Islamic groups like Yoruba Jamatru, Yoruba Islamic Organisation (YISO) and Yoruba Muslim Community have been used to deceive the general public. We alert the press and the good people of Nigeria that these are all fake groups conjured by the secessionist camp.
“Observers of the religious circle in the South West will note that notable Islamic organisations that have been speaking for Muslims in the region are the umbrella body for all Islamic organisations in the zone, the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), the Companion, The Criterion, The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC), FOMWAN, NASFAT, QAREEB, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), The Muslim Congress (TMC), The Ansaruddeen Society, Nawairudeen Society, MURIC, the Movement for Islamic Cultural Affairs (MICA) and a few others whom space cannot allow us to mention here.
“Most of these Islamic organisations have issued statements rejecting the Oduduwa Republic but the irredentists want to distort history by making forged statements using faceless Islamic organisations. This is criminal. We advise journalists to seek clarification from MUSWEN whenever any new group comments on the matter in order to avoid vicarious liability. MUSWEN is our umbrella organization in the South West and all Islamic groups in the South West are registered under it.
“We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that none of the so-called Islamic groups which have issued statements in support of a Yoruba Republic are known to us. They are fifth columnists created by the separatists with the aim of dividing the Yoruba Muslim community. But they have failed. It is not an Islamic organization if it is not an Islamic organization. The Yoruba Ummah is one, virile and indivisible. We therefore charge the Nigerian press to handle the Oduduwa Republic matter with utmost professionalism. The wheat must be separated from the chaff. This is not the time for yellow journalism. Neither is it the time for sensationalism.
“Statements issued by groups that are hitherto unknown in Christian, Muslim and traditional Yoruba circles should be checked and cross-checked. Media houses who publish statements made by fake groups will be held responsible for such statements. A certified journalist is expected to check the source of his or her information. The press must take responsibility.
“Those who allow the name of Yoruba Muslims to be used freely and irresponsibly will answer to Yoruba Muslims because we are going to make sure that we forward reports of fake statements to the security agents and legal action will be taken where necessary. The sources of those statements will be traced and all those involved will have questions to answer. This society must be sanitized.
“There must be consequences for irresponsible and mischievous statements and publications capable of causing the breakdown of law and order in the society. Yoruba Muslims have Allah-given fundamental right to enjoy freedom from molestation, harassment, intimidation and coercion from any quarters. MURIC will do everything possible within the laws of the land to guaranty this right.
“MURIC appeals to Nigerians, particularly the Yoruba people, to shine their eyes. These liars and forgers are advocatus diaboli whose only desire is to cause chaos in society. The Yoruba say ‘Omo ti o ba puro yio jale’ i.e. a child that tells lies will soon start stealing. Those who are now misleading you with lies will definitely steal all your money if ever Oduduwa Republic becomes a fait accompli. They are not to be trusted. They are making noise today because the tap from which free naira and dollar used to flow has been closed. We assure Nigerians that the agitation will die a natural death when the man they love to hate ends his tenure in 2023.
“To cut a long story short, we warn those agitating for the establishment of Oduduwa Republic to stop deceiving Nigerians by using Muslim names and fake Islamic organisations to issue statements. The Nigerian press has a duty to ensure that fake and faceless groups are not allowed to use it to cause disaffection in the society. Media houses are advised to publish only what they can be proud of as members of the noble profession.”