The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has expressed deep concern at the trend of corruption matters in Nigeria and affirmed that although corruption is the bane of development in the country, the war against corruption seems to be at crossroads and the Nigerian people stand to lose the fight at the end unless something urgent is done.
MURIC said in a statement on Monday that the war against corruption has encountered several encumbrances in the past two years under President Muhammadu Buhari, with anti-corruption agencies losing several cases to technicalities while the absence of special courts has retarded efforts to bring looters to book.
In addition, it said that the National Assembly (NASS) has been a major cog in the wheel of progress in the anti-graft fight, as corrupt elements have taken shelter under the canopies of religion and ethnicity thereby compelling religious and ethnic leaders to speak out in their defence.
MURIC expressed regrets that hunger, starvation, disease, rise in the level of ignorance, fall in the standard of living, political instability and a violent revolution are the likely fallouts if “we fail to kill corruption.
“Only the enemies of Nigeria will say that the Federal Government has not been sincere in its war against corruption. The problem is that there is strong resistance to the anti-graft war mainly from members of the past regime and their sympathisers. Corruption is fighting back using different mechanisms among which are: legal technicalities, death wish, false propaganda, betrayal and outright sabotage.
It said that the Federal Government has used every known conventional and legitimate means of fighting looters but the result has not been commensurate with the efforts. “Looters have the elephant while FG has the ant. South Africa used the Truth Commission when it had a national crisis but it did not work when Nigeria adopted it because many powerful people refused to appear before the commission.”
Knowing the slow nature of judicial cases in Nigeria and over-loaded with stolen money, the group said that the foot-soldiers of corruption have calculated that corruption cases will continue to drag for the next eight years even if Buhari wins a second term, the reason why they are feeling comfortable and laughing at the masses.
“A drastic problem requires a drastic solution. So what else is the panacea to corruption in Nigeria? We believe that it is time to adopt something unconventional; something we have never adopted before; something that costs government no money or effort at all; something revolutionary and mass-oriented; something local and scary and, above all, something in which every Nigerian has an emotional attachment.
“MURIC is asking looters to choose between prayers and curses. What is this new idea? All past and present politicians and their conniving bureaucrats will decide within themselves either to voluntarily surrender whatever they have stolen and receive prayers from the Nigerian people or hold on to their illegal loots and receive curses from the masses whom they have sentenced to a life of destitution.
“MURIC charges the Nigerian masses to seize their destiny with their hands by mobilizing their individual and collective prayer power. Agents of corruption have used religion to divide the poor masses before. It is now our turn to use the power of faith against them. Let us pray in the mosque, churches, shrines and private homes for politicians who voluntarily return what they stole in the past. Let us also ask for forgiveness for them. But our prayer sessions must be double-edged. We will rain curses on recalcitrant looters who refuse to return what they stole from our common wealth.
“Greatest Nigerian People! We must curse our oppressors three times daily. Curse them in the morning as you rise from bed or from under the bridge if you are homeless. Curse them under the scorching sun as you trek up and down on empty stomachs. Curse them before you go to bed at night.
“Curse them as you roll sleeplessly in bed. Curse them as you sweat profusely in bed when your fan is useless because they have stolen the money meant for electricity supply. Curse them as your vehicle crawls on bad roads where you spend hours instead of minutes because they stole all the money allocated to the repair of roads. Curse them as you wonder why you are still jobless despite graduating years ago.
“We urge Muslims to recite Inna atayna (Surat al-Kaothar) to bless those who voluntarily return our stolen wealth and tabatiada (tabbat yada from Surat al-Lahab) for looters who refuse to change. Christians may use prayer warriors to pray for those who voluntarily return their loot and seek forgiveness for them. Psalm 109:5-19 or any other portion from the Bible may be recited to rain curses on thieves and rogues who refuse to change. The curses should be accompanied with the proviso that they will be affected if they don’t surrender their loots but they will be free from the curses if they do.
“Yet we must not stop there. These thieves find it easy because the system is deficient. The checks and balances are not strong enough. An example is the swearing-in ceremony held for new appointees which has been trivialized. The Muslim appointee holds the Qur’an and swears but he will start stealing public property the next day. Vice versa for the Christian. The scriptures mean nothing to looters. There is, therefore, an urgent need to radicalize the swearing-in ceremonies.
“So what is the way forward? If we are serious as a people, let us introduce self-curse mechanism at swearing-in ceremonies. We must suspend swearing by simply holding the Bible or the Qur’an. It has no effect on them. They are hardened thieves and die-hard kleptomaniacs. They have the noun ‘thief’ and the verb ‘to steal’. This is the time to remember that we are Africans. Therefore our swearing-in method has to reflect our environment and background if it has to be taken seriously. Enough of colonial mentality!
“Let an appointee hold the Qur’an or Bible or anything he believes in and curse himself saying, for example, “I, Lagbaja the son of Lakasegbe, if I betray the people’s trust, if I steal in this position, if I abuse my office or if I am unfair to others on ground of religion or ethnicity, let me be put to shame. Let my children end up in the streets like the children of the poor. Let all the known and unknown diseases of this world afflict me and my children, like meningitis, ebola, lassa fever, cholera, etc. Let me sweat without reaping the fruit of my labour…In Allah’s Mighty Name I swear”
“Who will misbehave after this kind of swearing-in? Who is the son of a killer of elephants in the presence of a licensed killer of men? Politicians will become sober. In fact many of them will retire and only the serious ones will remain in the political arena. The vultures in the NASS will go back to their various private businesses, leaving the seats open for young, patriotic and visionary Nigerians.
“To round up, we advise FG to re-open the window of opportunity for looters to voluntarily return public properties, cash and funds in bank accounts within and outside the country. We call on our oppressors and downpressors, looters of the people’s treasury, to take notice of ‘war’ from the people.
“We declare total and comprehensive spiritual war on those responsible for our predicament. There will be no retreat, no surrender. Return our stolen destiny and receive our blessing and forgiveness. Retain our common wealth and receive our curses morning, noon and night.”