#Dapchigirls: MURIC finally dropped its beef with CAN and did the right thing

Liah Sharibu

The relationship between the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has been a suspicious and not a cordial one. Since it’s establishment, time and time they’ve come for each other’s jugular as it relates to issues relating to the polity and they’ve always had a religious dimension to their views irrespective of what might happened.

When we have a Christian President, MURIC is always at the forefront of accusations that the individual is planning to “christianize” Nigerians, and the inverse reaction always happens when we have a Muslim President. President Buhari’s regime as president has been coloured with the accusation from CAN is that the President wants to “islamize” Nigerians.

As much as the two bodies have not lead any pro development campaign devoid of religious bias in the country, we cannot deny their visible influence on government. For example, when CAN accused the Federal government of removing CRK from the curriculum, it was a mass movement of CAN leaders. As much as that was a necessary agitation, it becomes nauseating when CAN did not address a press conference to call the attention of the Nigerian government to the rot in our education sector. This has been the case between MURIC and CAN.

However, as it relates to the Dapchi girls that were released by the Boko-Haram sect few days ago, there was some disturbing news that Liya Sharibu, one of the abducted girls was held back by the sect because she is Christian and refused to convert to Islam or wear the hijab.

This has elicited a lot of reactions from Nigerians, however the CAN has not made a detailed reaction to her case but it seems MURIC won’t take that from the Boko-Haram sect. MURIC’s director Professor Ishaq Akintola on Thursday March 22, 2018, gave a statement on the situation.

“We reject Boko Haram as an Islamic group. We urge the leadership and members of the group to re-examine its ideological base, Liah Sharibu must be set free because the basis for holding her after setting her schoolmates free is faulty and un-islamic. We charge (FG) to go back to the negotiation table in order to secure the release of the only Christian girl among the Dapchi girls who is being held back by the insurgents. FG should note that Boko Haram is not as daft as many people think. By withholding the Christian girl, they seek to divide Nigerians once again along religious lines.”

Speaking further, he said “Our hearts are heavy with grief over her plight. We salute her courage. Shame on Boko Haram for oppressing a lone, vulnerable and helpless girl. Shame on all those who suppress freedom of worship,” the statement read. We appeal to Nigerians to invoke special prayers in the mosques and churches for this Christian girl who had the courage to stare her oppressors in the face. We should also continue to pray for the remaining Chibok girls.”

This statement from MURIC is a departure from its earlier stands on national issues and I think we need more of this, in this case it has outsmarted CAN with this reaction and as days rolls by, we would like to have this pro development statement from both CAN and MURIC. Religion must not divide Nigeria.

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