The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has accused the Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Prof. Ishaq Akinola, of disrupting the registration for its examinations in some schools.
However, MURIC has said the accusation by a Deputy Registrar of WAEC, Henry S. A. Osidehinde, amounted to threats against Akintola.
A statement on Monday by MURIC said Osidehinde, a Reverend, issued the threat during a WAEC seminar for teachers held at the Council’s headquarters in Ogba, Lagos State on March 14, 2019.
According to the statement signed by the General Secretary of MURIC, Alhaji Yakeen Williams, and the Public Relations Officer, Shafiu Ayorinde, the WAEC official allegedly said: “Even in Nigeria we are becoming over-religious. We are becoming holier (sic) than the Pope and more holier (sic) than the man in Saudi Arabia, that someone like Professor Ishaq Akintola will now be going to schools and disrupting places because of free time. We need to stop this.
“I mention this because it is getting too much and I expect the Lagos State Government to take proper action against Professor Ishaq Akintola.
“He went to a school and disrupted the registration exercise there. I have the video here. No, don’t threaten an institution that belongs to the government.
“The government can take anybody out and you may not see the person again and nothing will happen. Nothing.
“Not that they will kill the person. They will just take that person out of circulation and keep him somewhere.”
MURIC expressed shock at the threat issued by the WAEC official.
The statement said: “This is nauseating. A Christian reverend holding a high post in such a sensitive institution nurses such pernicious ideas against a fellow human being? Where is his Christlikeness? It is sad that there are many like him in the civil service.
“This Muslim-hater forgot that we are in an IT world. Things have changed. Hardly can you say anything nowadays and get away with it. There are records everywhere today. Even walls now have ears. We are waiting for him to deny it. We have the audio clip. Just let him try to deny it.
“We cannot take Mr. Osidehinde’s threat against our Director lightly. It is outrageous. How can a whole deputy registrar in WAEC office talk like that? He has simply proved that he is a Christian fanatic. How can you wish a fellow Nigerian should disappear permanently? He must explain all these to the authorities.
“The deputy registrar complained that Akintola was threatening an institution (i.e. WAEC) that belongs to the government. But we will like to ask the reverend/deputy registrar if it is right to use an institution that belongs to government to persecute Muslims.
“Or is it WAEC that sent him on this criminal errand? Does WAEC wish Akintola dead? Does the examination body want our Director to disappear? It had better not happen. But did WAEC authorize its Christian officials to use their positions to vilify Muslims and wish them kidnapped or killed? Did WAEC ask its officials to use an institution that belongs to government to persecute Muslims?
“It is abundantly clear from the above transcript that Reverend Osidehinde is filled with ill-will for Professor Akintola. He has evil desires. He wants Akintola to disappear. What we are not sure of is the extent to which he can go. That is what the security agencies should find out from him. Does the government have a special squad that makes people disappear? Will he arrange to kidnap Akintola if government fails to make him disappear? Will he organize an assassination?”
MURIC also called on the Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, to launch a full investigation into the incident.
The group also sought protection for its Director and members of his family.
It said: “Reverend Osidehinde wants to cause crisis in this country by carelessly issuing threat against a public figure. We call on the security agencies to launch full investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident. We also ask for protection for our Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola. Nobody should be allowed to play God in the lives of his fellowmen.
“We remind the Inspector General of Police that our Director is a public figure and a notable Muslim leader. Threat to the life of such a person should not be ignored. We are certain that the security agencies know what we are talking about.”
The Islamic human rights organization explained why it intervened in the school incident.
It said: “Helpless parents whose children were being forced to remove their hijab in Iba Estate Senior Secondary School called us to help. They also came with us. It is a public school, not a private property. It belongs to all of us. Therefore nobody has the right to use such property for the persecution of Muslim children. It is called a school, not a prison yard for crying out loud. In any case the Lagos State Government declared that hijab is legitimate and that female Muslim students have the right to use it.
“Surprisingly, overzealous and fanatical school principals and teachers refused to obey the state government’s directive. They ordered the children to remove their hijab when they were about to take pictures for the registration of WAEC. That was Draconian. It was an illegal order and the parents kicked.