The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on Federal Government to urgently intervene to prevent a looming religious crisis brewing at the premises of the Nigerian Immigration Service at Ikoyi, Lagos where some by religious zealots are allegedly compelling staffers and applicants to join them in morning Christian devotions.
Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the Director of MURIC, in a statement on Monday in Lagos also alerted authorities at the Nigeria Immigration to save the department from the religious crisis.
In the statement, MURIC complained that its headquarters had been inundated with reports that Nigerians, who visit the immigration office in Ikoyi, Lagos early in the mornings to obtain travelling documents were being made to partake in Christian prayers and evangelical devotion without any regard for their religious leaning.
“The Ikoyi office of Nigeria Immigration Service has been taken over by Christian fanatics, who force everyone who arrives early, to join in Christian prayers.
“They insist that there must be morning devotion before starting work every morning.
“The fact that they have Muslims among their staff and applicants means nothing to them. as they invoke spirits and imaginary angels. They shout and scream at the top of their voices.
“Muslims need protection in this country. We cannot just stand by watching as Muslims are embarrassed and denigrated by overzealous Christian officials in the Immigration office.
“It is not only ridiculous but also unacceptable. It is hard to believe that Ikoyi immigration office is owned by the Nigerian government. It looks more like a Christian evangelical office.
“When did Nigeria descend to this level? How can a government department of such high status become a tool in the hands of gymnastic crusaders?
“We are demanding an immediate cessation of this rubbish and it must be investigated.
“All government offices are there for staffers to work and for visitors to receive quality service. How can we get that quality service when you force us to go down on our knees contrary to our belief?
“By the way, how can we allow civil servants to mess up taxpayers for crying out loud? No serious nation will allow its workforce to descend into the labyrinths of mythical religiosity and Treasure Island miracle mentality,” Akintola stated.
The Muslim human rights outfit affirmed that Nigerian Muslims were taxpayers and major stakeholders, who deserve quality service.
It decried the compulsion of applicants to join in morning devotion of any kind in Ikoyi immigration office in particular and any other government department for that matter.
“This phenomenon is now common in many ministries, parastatals, hospitals, clinics, marketplaces, etc.
“Some Christian extremists just assume that they own this country; they arrogantly ask everyone to close their eyes in government offices every morning and they ask them to kneel down and pray.
“They should be told that Muslims pray in their homes every morning before going to work. So what is the essence of forcing us to pray in the office in Christian fashion?
“This ignoble practice is common where Christians are heads of department; it happens where Christians are directors and this bedlam must be brought under control.
“If anybody wants to pray in the office, let him or her pray silently and privately. It is an infringement on Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslims to compel them to kneel down and pray in a Christian manner, just because the boss in that office is a Christian.
“This is something Muslim bosses will never do and we are demanding immediate stoppage.
“It is paradoxical that the same Christian bosses and directors, who force Muslims to join them in prayer are the same people that are spreading the misleading propaganda that Nigeria is being Islamised.
“This new revelation proves that they are the ones Christianising Nigeria but accusing the Muslims in order to deceive Nigerians. Our neighbours are adept at deception, outright lies and fake news.
MURIC pointed out that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees freedom of religion and that that was why whoever wants to worship should do so briefly without compelling others to join him or her.
“MURIC will continue to expose those who tramp upon Allah-given fundamental rights of Muslims.”
The group lamented the Nigerian irony, where there is an excessive show of religious devotion without a commensurate level of transparency and accountability in public office.
“Our advice is that Nigerians should stop this hypocritical show of piety in criminality.
“Those who waste so much time kneeling down in prayer during working hours do not deserve full salary because they did not render full service to their country. They are cheating on government,” the statement further read.