Ife Attack: MURIC alleges police complicity, poor handling, demands justice

Ife Attack: MURIC alleges police complicity, poor handling, demands justice

Human rights activist and Director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) Professor Lakin Akintola, has vehemently condemned the recent attack on a mosque in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. The attack resulted in life-threatening injuries to scores of Muslims.

In an interview conducted by the Integrity News, Professor Akintola alleged that the Nigeria police had not done enough to ensure justice adding that the Muslims, Traditionalists and Christians had been living peacefully in the area without any ugly incident until the attack occurred.

“The attack is abominable, despicable, and condemnable,” Professor Lakin said. He added that only constituted authorities such as the police, local government chairmen, or state governors have the right to impose a curfew.

“Only constituted authorities, like the police, the chairman of a local government or a state governor can impose a curfew.

“Even the police cannot impose a curfew unilaterally. It’s the local government chairman or the state governor that will announce a curfew. But they don’t just impose. They would have to impose a curfew only after a security alert. If there is a breakdown of law and order, if there is rioting, if there is a crisis, if communities face one another and there is the likelihood of people dying or being injured, the governor or chairman of a local government can impose a curfew. But a mosque cannot impose a curfew.”

The Islamic scholar, therefore, expressed shock that the police and government allowed the traditional worshippers to impose a curfew at the click of a finger and that the police had not arrested anyone in connection with the attack.

He argued that it was unconstitutional for the police to allow the aggressors to attack the Muslims and that the police should make an arrest to ensure justice is served.

Akintola also condemned the poor handling of the situation by the police. He called on the police to be held accountable for the attack.

He noted that the police must ensure that justice is served and that somebody should be arrested and charged to court.

“An imam cannot impose a curfew. But we are shocked that the police, the law enforcement agents, and the government allow this kind of behavior and the authorities allow the traditional worshippers. Everywhere in Yorubaland, they allow traditional worshippers to impose a curfew. They impose it whenever they like. And this is not what Muslims do. Muslims have time for worshipping. Christians have time for worshipping. I have never heard of Muslims imposing a curfew during Eid. The Muslims, you know, like we are in Ramadan now, at the end of Ramadan, the Muslims will celebrate their festival. They will mark the end of Ramadan.

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“They will not impose a curfew. It has never happened. Other religious traditionalists are free to come out. So, the police have not done well in Ile-Ife.”

“The commissioner of police… should take a look at this. We are critiquing the handling of the Oro saga in Ile-Ife. The police should ensure that there is justice. It is when somebody, one of the aggressors is arrested.”

He added that the arrest and prosecution must be made for the Muslims to remain calm, as justice is the soul of peace.

Akintola urged the police to take action in the situation and to hold those responsible for the attack accountable. He also called on the youth to remain calm, and law-abiding, and to allow peace to reign.

“Somebody should be arrested and charged to court. The police have not arrested anybody. And we say, are the police telling us that the Holocaust people are free to invade any mosque in Yoruba land and kill the Muslims at will? We are talking about the area of Ile-Ife. That is a mosque. Who is in charge? Who is the police authority in charge there? Which DPO? So, somebody must be held accountable to court so that the youth will calm down.

“Of course, Muslim Rights Concern… last week, issued a statement immediately the same day that this crisis occurred, and we appealed to the youth to remain calm and law-abiding. But, you see, justice is the soul of peace. So that people will be calm. So, we are asking the police: what are you doing? Who has been arrested? We know those who attacked us, and therefore, the police must do something.”

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