The Muslim Rights Concern says the 9th National Assembly coprising the Senate and the House of Representatives, has been forthright, progressive and people-oriented.
The statement which was signed by the Director of MURIC, read: “The Nigerian National Assembly (NASS) marked two years of inauguration on Friday, 11th June, 2021.
“MURIC congratulates the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila and the entire members of the NASS on the auspicious occasion of the second anniversary of their inauguration.
“We note with immense pleasure the absence of any rigmarole, tension or conflict between the NASS and the executive arm of government since 11th June 2019 when the 9th NASS was inaugurated. This has engendered the smooth running of government as well as uninterrupted lawmaking process.
“The 9th NASS has distinguished itself as a body of patriotic and hardworking lawmakers. For while its predecessor was known for footdragging courtesy of sarakisation from the Red House, the 9th NASS has become synonymous with swiftness, business consciousness and concern for the plight of the Nigerian masses.
“For example, whereas the 8th NASS introduced 2,166 bills and passed only 515 in its four years, the 9th NASS has already introduced 2,002 bills in just two years and still counting. This can be attributed to the confrontational stance of the 8th NASS in its relationship with the presidency and the divided interest of its members who took undue interest in shuttling between the courts and the NASS which is the place of their primary assignment.
“As a result of the confrontation with the executive, the 8th NASS became a clog in the wheel of progress, blocking requests and rejecting the executive’s nominees. In the end, it was the Nigerian masses who suffered the consequences. Or what else could we have expected when budgets were delayed for months on end by the reactionary elements in the 8th NASS?
“For instance, the 2016 budget of N6.06 trillion was not approved until 23rd March, 2016. In 2017, the Federal Government’s budget of N7.441 trillion was delayed till 11th May, 2017. The N8.612 trillion budget of 2018 suffered a similar fate in the hands of the Stone Age lawmakers of the 8th NASS as it was approved on 16th May, 2018. The N8.916 trillion budget of 2019 was approved two weeks earlier on 30th April, 2019 perhaps because the presidency eventually allowed the lawmakers to add N86 billion to the original figure.
“The delay tactics and arm-twisting gimmicks of the 8th NASS stands in contra-distinction to the businesslike approach of the present NASS. Nigerians could hardly believe it when the 2020 budget of N10.59 trillion was passed by the Lawan-Gbajabiamila progressive group of lawmakers on 6th December, 2019. To cement the new trend, this dynamic assembly repeated the feat again as the 2021 budget of N13.588 trillion was given the green light on 21st December, 2021.
“MURIC gives kudos to the 9th NASS as a whole. We celebrate the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan for this remarkable feat. We commend Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila. These are exemplary leaders and true patriots of our land. These distinguished men and women have been sacrificing their time and resources to ensure that good governance and dividends of democracy are delivered to Nigerians at without tears.
“It is therefore saddening to hear political chalartans, legislative shenanigans and conservative demagogues accusing the 9th NASS of being a ‘rubber stamp’ institution. We reject such accusation in its entirety. It is false, malicious and untenable. The 9th NASS is the people’s NASS. It deserves accolades, not knocks. It is cerebral.
“Before dropping the anchor, we appeal to the 9th NASS to take a kind look at the plight of Nigerian Muslims. Islam has been in Nigeria before the 11th century. The British colonial masters who were essentially Christians came in the 19th century (1842) and subjected the Muslims to an environment which is totally alien to their faith. This situation should have been corrected immediately after Nigeria attained independence in 1960.
“We call on the 9th NASS to set Nigerian Muslims free from neo-colonialism. The British designed army, police, paramilitary and school uniforms which suited adherents of the Christian faith and forced it on the Muslim population. Ditto for the nation’s common law which, of course, is Christian law.
“We appeal to the 9th NASS to use its good office and seize the opportunity of the constitution amendment period to address the injustice done to Nigerian Muslims. The present uniforms used by the army, police and other paramilitary bodies do not allow the use of hijab. They are therefore an exclusive preserve of Christian women with its economic disadvantage to Muslims.
“This has resulted in a Christian-only female soldiers, policemen, customs, traffic wardens, etc. It rendered female Muslims jobless. All military and paramilitary uniforms should be made inclusive to accommodate female Muslim recruits, nurses, students, etc, by permitting the use of specially designed hijab with them. Other submissions and requests are contained in the memorandum submitted by MURIC to the Constitution Review Panel. It is our hope that the 9th NASS will peruse and treat it alongside others.”