A group, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), yesterday alleged that the marginalisation of Muslims was more widespread following the denial of voter registration for Muslim women by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ad hoc staff. This group in a statement issued on Thursday morning and signed by Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the leader of MURIC, reads:
“We thought the marginalisation of Muslims in the ongoing voters registration exercise was limited to the South West, but we received information yesterday after releasing our first statement that it is also happening in Suleja, Niger State. “Our source is very credible. We have branches in all states of the federation and MURIC state chairmen have been mandated to send in reports as they happen. We are still waiting for more reports. “Our concern right now is that if it is happening in a place like Suleja, which is in the North Central part of the country, the possibility of Muslims in the South- East and South South falling victims cannot be ruled out because Muslims are in the minority in those places.
“The latest report reaching us is that the victimisation of Muslims in the ongoing voters registration exercise is not restricted to Muslim women alone. “Any Muslim male who appears, dresses or speaks like a Muslim is finding it difficult to register in some centres. “It is now a crime to greet people with ‘Salaam Alaykunm’ while standing on the voters’ registration queue. “INEC should criminalise the marginalisation of any citizen for no just cause. We Muslims in this country are bona fide citizens.
Nobody can Shugaba us. Even INEC lacks the power to declare us persona non grata. “We are tax payers and our hard-earned money is part of what INEC is spending for the operation. INEC should fish out the bad eggs among its ad hoc and permanent staff and punish them in order to serve as deterrent to others.”