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By Biola Lawal

Flowerbudnews:  The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has criticised University of Port Harcourt Authorities for oppressing Muslim students by forcing them and  others to go on a geological field trip on Sunday, the day of Eid-el-Kabir, the Big Salah festival.

MURIC described the incident as ”the height of religious aggression, undue transgression and naked belligerence in the ivory tower.”

The Muslim Human Right body noted Authorities of the University perpetrated the act, ignoring appeals from the affected muslim students.

This was revealed in a statement signed by the Executive Director of the human rights advocacy group, Professor Ishaq Akintola.

The statement reads:


“Students of the University of Port Harcourt are currently on a field trip today, Sunday, 16th June, 2024 for a course called ‘Geological Mapping Project’ (Course code: GLY 414.2) despite being Salah day and in spite of appeals from the affected Muslim students. This is definitely the height of religious aggression, undue transgression and naked belligerence in the ivory tower.

“Incidents of religious apartheid committed against Nigerian Muslims particularly in the South-West, South-East and South-South have grown geometrically from an epidemic to a pandemic. Our office treats as many as two or three such cases every day. Even when we should be celebrating Salah like other Muslim faithfuls, we are busy in the office today trying to resolve this case. It has become a recurring decimal.

“By condoning this act of oppression against Muslim students under them, the University of Port Harcourt has disappointed millions of Nigerians who regard the tertiary institution as a centre of excellence. What excuse will the institution give for allowing this to happen? Who in Nigeria does not know that today is ‘Id al-kabiir (Salah) day?

“The university took the students out for the field trip today, Sunday, 16th June, 2024 which is Salah day. They also took the Muslim students to a mosque in Enugu for the Salah prayer. This was what the Vice Chancellor promised after the Muslim students complained to him.

“This is a poor damage-control strategy and it is hereby rejected. Festivals are marked with families and the students wanted to travel to their home states and cities to be with their families, not in an unfamiliar environment like Enugu (from their university in Port Harcourt) even if it is in a mosque.

“Therefore, the Vice Chancelor missed the point. He has enslaved Muslim students and made them unwilling captives. By the way, the field trip continues tomorrow and it is expected to last several days. No Salah for poor and helpless Muslim students.


“There is a law against the violation of religious freedom in this country: Section 38(i)&(ii) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but Nigerian Christians seem to have sworn to always use their official positions to cause hardship for Muslims under them. Unfortunately, the government encourages the ugly situation by ignoring the wicked acts while the oppressors grow in leaps and bounds in criminal impunity.


“Those who are always quick to call Muslims abusive names like fundamentalists, terrorists, extremists, etc, need to take a second look at themselves and the non-Muslims who persecute vulnerable Muslims. This is one good case to note.


“It is the silence of the authorities who should check oppressors but who choose to keep mum that is responsible for the perpetuation of the persecution of Muslims. But we know that something will have to give when Muslims are pushed to the wall.


“Nigerian Muslims will not forget this conspiracy of silence. In the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ He also added, ‘The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.’ We may want to extend that to the silence of the Ministry of Education.


“Haile Selaissie rounded it off when he opined, ‘Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.’


“We call on the Ministry of Education to institute a probe into this incident because it is capable of causing religious misunderstanding. It can also widen the gulf between Muslims and Christians. We wonder why interfaith bodies at both national and state levels have not been commenting on such incidents.


“The good people among the Christians must join hands with other Nigerians to pull down the evil empire that champions the persecution of Muslims in this country. This Babylon is the handiwork of hate-preachers. But it must fall. This is a task that must be done, not by Muslims alone but by all men of conscience.”



#FieldTripSalahDay. (Flowerbudnews)



Biola Lawal

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