Malcolm Omirhobo, the lawyer who recently dressed like a juju priest with a lawyer’s robe, has declared that he does not hate Islam and that he is not a religious bigot. Omirhobo was reacting to the allegation made in this regard by an Islamic human rights organisation, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
In its own response, MURIC accused Omirhobo of grasping at straws after boxing himself to a corner.
This was contained in a statement issued on Sunday by the director of MURIC, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
The statement reads: “Chief Malcolm Omirhobo, the lawyer who recently dressed like a juju priest with a lawyer’s robe, has declared that he does not hate Islam and that he is not a religious bigot.
“It will be recalled that MURIC in an earlier statement accused Omirhobo of hating Islam after appearing in a juju priest’s garb at the Supreme Court barely one week after the highest court in the land ruled in favour of hijab. Omirhobo later claimed that he does not hate Islam.
“Omirhobo can say that to the marines. They may believe him. We don’t. No serious-minded Nigerian will believe him either. Omirhobo is grasping at straws after boxing himself to a corner.
“You claim that you don’t hate Muslims or Islam but you filed three cases against the interest of Islam and Nigerian Muslims within a period of two years. You claim that you are not a religious bigot but as a non-Muslim, you are championing hate-inspired cases.
“You also dressed like a lawyer cum juju priest ostensibly to protest against a pronouncement of respected honourable justices of the Supreme Court thereby subjecting the highest court in the land to ridicule and infamy when, as a lawyer, you are in the best position to know that a pronouncement of the Supreme Court can never be per in curiam (i.e. reached in manifest error).
“This man filed a suit against the Central Bank of Nigeria demanding the removal of Arabic from the naira. He also filed another suit against the Nigerian Army demanding the removal of Arabic from the logo of the Nigerian Army. Still not satisfied, he instituted another matter against the Nigerian Police over the approval of hijab for female Muslim policewomen.
“The last nail in the coffin was his appearance in a lawyer cum juju priest garments in the hallowed grounds of the Supreme Court apparently to cast aspersion on the latter’s pronouncement on hijab. MURIC has merely used expressions, idiomatic and otherwise, figurative and literal, that matched the actions of Omirhobo.
“It was Ian Flemming, the famous author of the James Bond series who said, ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is a coincidence. The third time is enemy action.’ Omirhobo publicly manifested open animosity towards Nigerian Muslims, not once, not twice, not even three times but four times. He should tell Nigerians the price tag on hatred as displayed in his private supermarket.
“If it is true that action speaks louder than voice, how can Omirhobo, in good conscience, take these four Islamophobic actions and still claim that he doesn’t hate Muslims and Islam? He has been ill-advised. The best option for him is to withdraw all three cases filed by him against the interest of Islam and in open opposition to the enjoyment of Allah-given fundamental human rights by Muslims.
“The picture of himself and the director of MURIC which he now brandishes publicly as evidence of his love for Muslims cannot exonerate him. Neither can it extenuate the allegation made by MURIC against him. Pictures are not enough evidence of friendship or love. We have seen avowed enemies sitting side by side in pictures.
“It should be noted that this particular picture which Omirhobo is displaying all over the world was taken within the premises of the Lagos High Court, Ikoyi, during the hearing of the case filed by Omirhobo against Arabic on naira. MURIC members were present in court as joiners and the picture was taken by those who attended the sitting following gestures that we should take pictures together.
“This was done on the spur of the moment as a mark of free-mindedness. If Omirhobo wants to prove that he is a friend of the director of MURIC, he should provide other pictures taken with the director in other places and wearing other dresses apart from the ones taken in court premises. Not only that, he should provide evidence of a single phone call, a single text message or a single whatshap chat between him and the director of MURIC.
“Omirhobo is grandstanding. He could not challenge any of the points raised by MURIC against him. For instance, he cannot deny that he has three anti-Arabic and anti-hijab cases in court. These are established facts and the records are there. Omirhobo cannot lead us by the nose.
“True to the maxim nemo judex in causa sua (one cannot be a judge in his own case), he should not try to hoodwink us into believing that he is a friend of Muslims. Friend indeed! He should please spare us his cock and bull stories about his Muslim grandfather from Syria, his Muslim girlfriend and Muslim neighbours. His private relationship with some Muslims is not an excuse for his open display of hatred against Muslims.
“All we can establish for now is that his actions contradict his words. Omirhobo is advised to withdraw his anti-Muslim cases from the courts. He should also desist forthwith from dragging the hallowed name of the Supreme Court in the mud.
“As we draw the curtain on this advocacy, we affirm that all that we have said about Omirhobo are indisputable facts available in the public domain. Omirhobo claimed that he did not hate Islam but he derived so much joy and passion in challenging anything that has to do with Muslims and Islam.
“He challenged Arabic writing on the naira, he challenged the right of female Muslims and Muslim policewomen to use hijab. Also, he audaciously went ahead to make a caricature of the Supreme Court pronouncement on hijab. So, MURIC has only stated the obvious.”