Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has described the decision of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), to withdraw invitation to governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State as speaker in its annual conference, over the Southern Kaduna crisis as a declaration of war.
MURIC, while condemning the decision, said that NBA has declared “war on the other side in the Southern Kaduna crisis”.
It said the NBA has decided to be part of the problem.
The NBA had withdrawn its invitation to El-Rufai, to speak at its annual event, following a petition from lawyers who accused the governor of human rights violation and also his inability to stop killings in Southern Kaduna.
The lawyers also referenced many controversial utterances of the governor, including a threat during the run- up to the general elections in 2019, that any foreigner that interfered in the poll would leave Nigeria in body bags.
The petition garnered over 3,150 signatures on Change.org.
However, the religious organisation, in a statement through its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said the governor is not being given the opportunity to explain himself.
It questioned why persons like former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, and Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, will be enlisted as speakers, while El-Rufai is being delisted.
“NBA yesterday dropped Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State from the list of speakers at its Virtual AGC which is billed to start on 26th August, 2020. It is high level prejudice. The NBA as a group of learned literati should know better. It is parochial, myopic and jejune,” the statement read.
“The fact that NBA took the ill-advised step on account of a petition written by a group, Open Bar Initiative whose main fear is expressed as ‘One can be sure that he will also use the given platform to advance his conflated narrative, designed to deceive and confuse the nation on the real causes of the killings’ exposes NBA’s impatience, intolerance and self-conceit.
“Is it not better to hear him out than to lock him out? Is it not better to jaw-jaw than to war-war? The departure of the ambassador, they say, is the beginning of war.
“By dropping El-Rufai, NBA has declared war on the other side in the Southern Kaduna crisis. By so doing, it lost a golden chance to be part of the solution to the conflict. The NBA has elected to be part of the problem.
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“Was it not Jane Goodall who said, ‘Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don’t believe is right’? Change cannot come through rejection and exclusion.
“How justifiable is the NBA’s decision to exclude Governor El-Rufai from the virtual conference when people like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo of Odi and Zaki Biam fame and Governor Nyesom Wike are among the speakers?
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“Who bulldozed the hotels of innocent people despite court orders? Who visited unspeakable violence on political opponents?
“Should NBA hobnob with people linked to genocide and undemocratic practices? So why demonise El-Rufai where killers of innocent people and enemies of democracy are idolised?
“MURIC calls on all lawyers from the North to boycott NBA’s AGC in protest against this open declaration of war on Northern Kaduna. Every little action of injustice must spark a reaction if tyranny is to be stopped in the world.
“The NBA has crossed the red line in human relations and conflict management. No single lawyer from the North should participate in the AGC either as a resource person or as a participant unless the NBA rescinds its decision to drop El-Rufai from the list of speakers. Injury to one is injury to all.”