Injustice Reigns In RSUST As Management Razes Students’ Mosque, Arrest Students

By Muhammed Abdullahi*

In Animal Farms, George Orwell symbolically captured how, in an ‘egalitarian society’ where all beings enjoy equality, some animals can actually be ‘more equal than others’. Though the world created by Orwell was vivid, some may find it illusory and a mere paperwork which cannot obtain in our modern democratic society.

Those who hold that view would perhaps do well to examine a recent incident at the River State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) before they reach a conclusion which may turn out to be myopic. Reproducing the socio-cultural circumstances in Animal Farms, the management of the RSUST on Jan. 25, 2012 institutionalized Islamophobic bias and faith-based despotism. The school allows the existence of 6 impressive churches on the campus but would not tolerate a single makeshift mosque! This was what informed the cruel demolition of the only mosque on the campus. Some students snapped the felling of the praying structure with their phones and, without doing more, they landed in police custody! Is there a better way of acting out the script of Animal Farms?
 
The destruction of the makeshift mosque is unlawful, unholy and it amounts to a brazen violation of God-given, inalienable and constitutionally guaranteed rights of the students. It infringes on the fundamental human rights of the students to freedom of religion, of expression and of association under sections 38, 39 and 40 of the Constitution respectively. Section 38 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provides that: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” Prior to the actual demolition of the mosque, series of oppressive policies and discrimination have been visited on the Muslim students. The tyranny has reigned for 12 years, growing grimmer by the day.

A quick perusal of the facts of this incident and its ugly antecedents reveals that they were motivated by a morbid hatred for Islam and undue revulsion for Muslims. It is not only unpopular and draconian; it is, to be euphemistic, a reversal of civilization towards the Stone Age or the era of slavery when inhuman policies and segregation held sway. By no stretch of imagination is it justifiable and one does not require the legal erudition of Lord Denning or the historic ingenuity of Einstein to discern that the policy is an institutionalization of religious repression and fanatical intolerance.

A December 8, 2011 report of the Nation Newspaper quoted the Vice-President of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), RSUST chapter as saying: “For the past eleven years, the Muslim community has been writing frequently to the school authority to have a permanent site for worship (mosque) but their efforts were fruitless. No audience was given except on two separate occasions where threat letters were sent for the suspension of executive members of the society.”
The students sent several written requests to top societal personalities including the state governor and the Sultan to intervene in the matter and plead with the management on their behalf, but they received no help.

On March 19, 2005, the then Vice Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Achinehu ordered security officers of the school and policemen to bulldoze the marquee used by the students for worship. Some valuables owned by the Muslim students were also seized and some of these are reported unreturned yet. These incidents were happening while the Christian students have six massive churches, some of which were erected after the rejection of the numerous requests made by the Muslim students demanding that a parcel of land be allotted to them.

According to Sulaimon in the report of The Nation Newspaper, “The restructuring commenced on December 3, 2011 but to our surprise, the Director of Works came and ordered that the restructuring work should be stopped. He told us that the mosque was the only illegal thing on the campus. He threatened to demolish the structure on Monday, December 5, 2011 if he still found the structure there. He said: “I will remove the entire thing (mosque).” On Jan. 25, 2012, the threat was executed and two of the students who captured the exercise on their mobile devices were arrested. Daily Trust reported on Feb. 2 that the sum of N5000 was paid before the students were released. Indeed, the mosque – before its illicit demolition – was too poky being just 20 by 50 feet and serving more than 250 students.
 
It has been a long, dark era of tyranny, subjugation and formalized discrimination. Every single article which entrenches religious freedom for the students in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been violated. It is on record that RSUST excels as a public university where some students are ‘more equal than others’. Successive administrations have behaved like high-handed military generals in a garrison command, trampling upon the rights of the helpless Muslim students, hurting their dignity, ridiculing their faith and counting its successes by the magnitude of the torture inflicted on them. For many who might not have witnessed the untold savagery of the apartheid system in South Africa, RSUST presents an excellent opportunity for a first-hand feel of the racist segregation endured by the blacks in the then South Africa. Without being sensational, Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini would have had ample inspirations to draw from the prevailing anti-Islamic policies thriving in RSUST, if only they were still alive today.

As reported by Daily Trust Newspaper, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the institution, Mr. Desmond Nwosu claimed ignorance of the development. It is remarkable that he had put up the same air of phoney pretence back in April 2005 when asked by the Beacon Newspaper about the cruel demolition of the makeshift mosque. It is difficult to believe that the PRO would be oblivion of such colossal developments. Assuming he said the truth, then it follows that he was negligent, lackadaisical and incompetent to have been unaware of the incident. If he was not careless and was aware of the incidents, then he was liar.
It is saddening that in this age of rising religious intolerance and avoidable blood-letting in the name of religion, a public institution of learning which should be a citadel of civilization, a centre of ideological detachment and the hub of reformation has been converted into a replica of the Guantanamo Bay. How a venerable academic community from which values of tolerance, respect for other people’s faith and mutual understanding of human diversity ought to emanate have become a dictatorial kingdom is alarming.

This case reminds one of the avoidable sectarian and racial segregation characteristic of public institutions of learning in early 1950's in America. The prevailing policy – shamelessly called ‘separate but equal’ – entails the provision of standard schools for white children and substandard, poorly-equipped ones for black children. The black kids were not burnt like coal, not painted with tar, not stinking like pong and neither did a contact with them cause a skin stain to the white kids. Yet, they were treated like beasts, showing that the white kids were ‘more equal’. This explains why Linda Brown had to walk two miles daily to and fro her black basic school, while a white basic school was only seven blocks away from her residence. This policy reigned till the case of Brown v. Board of Education brought us the desired succour, equality and justice. The US Supreme Court had found the discriminatory practice revolting and disgraceful as it “deprive(s) the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities.” It therefore had no difficulty in declaring the racist and repugnant practice illegal and unconstitutional. Sadly, that buried practice has now been resuscitated and enthroned king in RSUST. The obnoxious policy reigns, its rules thriving and its adverse effects brewing resentment and stirring extremism.

The mellowness of the students is commendable as they have sought legal assistance to redress the colossal wrong. This piece is not a call to jungle justice or religious uproar. My motive is not to instigate or to incite to vigilante justice or thoughtless reprisal actions by the Muslim students. While the management has been utterly provocative and thoughtless, one must acknowledge that any recourse to a tactless remedial battle by the students would be counter-productive. Violence is not an option; it must fail and backfire. In fact, the objective of this piece is to point out to the school authority that religion being a touchy and sensitive phenomenon should not be turned into a monstrous tool for despotism. Religion binds us all to God Almighty. It is not a recipe for furthering the parochial interests of a few selfish and powerful persons, and it should be treated with the sanctity it deserves.

It merits mentioning that Brown’s case was not the first case that challenged the abhorrent law which legislated the controversial “separate but equal” doctrine in public schools for black and white children. In fact, it was the eleventh case to dare the 1879 Kansas law and the case dragged on for 4 full years to resolve. This shows incontrovertibly that the road to fairness, equality and justice may be rough and thorny; that injustice may live long; and cruelty may subsist for ages, but they shall all expire; they cannot enjoy a perpetual existence.

The management has unjustifiably provoked and traumatized the students for more than a decade. But for the maturity of the students, violence would have been occasioned.  For instance, the Beacon Newspaper in 2005 reported the incident under the alarming headline: “Muslim students threaten uprising at RSUST”. Emphasis here is tacitly laid on the possible reaction of the victim rather than the intolerance of the management which in fact is the root of the problem. This unconsciously deceives the unsuspecting reader into the stereotype: ‘Muslims have arrived with their terrorism again’. The students are urged to keep calm, maintain decorum and refuse to allow the management lead them into unbecoming reprisals.

Every peace-loving Nigerian must condemn these acts of religious fanaticism. We can’t afford to aggravate the already tense security situation and terrorism in the country. The management should also unconditionally restore the inherent rights of the students and refrain from fanning the embers of violence.
 
 
*Muhammed Abdullahi is a freelance writer and public commentator based in Ilorin. He writes as a concerned Nigerian. Email: mabtocomworld@yahoo.com

 
 
 

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This injustice should be

This injustice should be stopped at once. Measures should be taken to stop this.

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The management should also

The management should also unconditionally restore the inherent rights of the students and refrain from fanning the embers of violence. - Exactly! forex bonus

Another thing is the login

Another thing is the login password management. There are many websites which offer you to login to post a comment and you don't find the login button, or you have to fulfill a lot of personal information to see something on a page.

ignorance, a gr8 form of darkness

Hw dare u write this? Has any1 ever compulsed u to bcom a muslim?Do u even know God exists at all? Get this to ur sixth sense.......the repercussion of your acts comes soonest.......free world.....say and act the way you like........U'll definately liv to tell

University and faith

Thank you for this interesting and informative article.What the River State University of Science and Technology did by demolishing the mosque is called discrimination as we live in a democratic society and have rights and responsabilities.We should respect others' opinions and beliefs.I have a muslim friend who was studying at this University and when they've demolished the mosque he retired from the university as a protest.Now he is studying for a rn to bsn online degree and is very satisfied with this form of study.

TO RASHEED

Hate is calling the other person an infidel on the bases of which u discriminate against him. Bigotry is to divide the world into the house of Islam and the house of war which u then use to exterminate him except he accepts to be sub human with next to no rights. It is intolerant not to want for others what u want for urself. Persecution is when u think that the muslims have a right to build mosques wherever they choose with no opposition while non-muslims are denied the same right to build their places of worship in muslim dominated areas. The reason for such hatred is not different from the perpetrators of the hatred. Rasheed, over the centuries Christians have been at the receiving end of hate by muslims becos the koran has institutionalized that hatred. Right from 615 AD when muslims took refuge with Christians in the Kingdom of Hablash the Christians have been paid back with hate and extermination. So it is a grave mistake to be hospitable to a muslim.

Hatred, Deception & Denial

There are so many deranged people in these society. That, i have confirmed from this blog. The intolerant is worse than the villified. Persecution is worse than killing. When you hate, you are not different or better than your reason for hate.

Hatred

No matter the hostility, hatred, injustice, and malice that comes from u Xtians, Islam will stand , I jst hop and pray 1 day u will realise the truth and all your. Homosexual pastors, priests, gay Nuns, and u a Bastard , u shall all burn in hell""! Leave our religion and. Allah's Messenger alone, worship your idols, and live with ur doubts, face your miseries, stupid Fools, Sahara reporters is a devlish site honestly""!

2 late

Dis should av bn effectively done in d starting days of d paedophile prophet. He shud av bn beheaded wit all his folowers and their family. Dat wud av saved us frm d horror dat islam stands 4!

RSUT

Fanks M̶̲̥̅a bro,its a state university n has its right of givin
Out its property.givin dem a site is like building
A regional Boko haram station.
In kebbi state,their state university does not av a church.
Katsina,wudil in kano,n many more .katsina university does not give
Admission to non muslims not to talk of building church.
Its high time we started treating dem with same coin.

Re-who will fight for u. u arer a big fool

May u rot in Hell for calling Allah N his messenger a series of name u very stupid for saying dt. u dis fool and u called urself a gud xtain. av u eva see any of those comment calling ur jehovah or jesus anoda name. u are a disgraced to all other xtain foooooooooooooooooooooooooool. bastard.

u are very stupid

May u rot in Hell for calling Allah N his messenger a series of name u very stupid for saying dt. u dis fool and u called urself a gud xtain. av u eva see any of those comment calling ur jehovah or jesus anoda name. u are a disgraced to all other xtain foooooooooooooooooooooooooool. bastard.

RE: MEDIA OUTFITS AND INJUSTICE TO ISLAM

You talk about injustice, just where were you when El Rufai used the pretext of demolishing illegal structures to destroy churches in Abuja? My church was one of those affected. I do not recall coverage by any media house. You mention the ground zero mosque and praying in the great mosque in Rome. Do Christians have a similar place of worship in all of Saudi Arabia? Do they even have one in Kano City or Bebeji? Are these places excluded from the freedom of worship contained in the Nigerian constitution? He who wears the shoe knows how it pinches. So it is nice for the shoe to be on the other foot.

Media outfits and injustice to Islam

My concern is on d injustice done to ISLAM by our media outfits. How many media house, be it electronic or print, carried this issue of demolished mosque? Everybody will agree with me that if it were to be church demolished, the following day all the local media will make it their BOLD HEADLINES. In the interest of fairness & egalitarianism, right to religion must be exercised. In predominantly “Christian” societies with democratic settings, adherents of other faiths go unhindered. e.g Ground zero mosque was allowed in US while I had my 2008 Ileya Festival’s Prayer in Moschea de Grande (d Great Mosque) in Rome. Nigerians! Let’s do away with sentiment & address issue conscientiously. d Bible says “for every idle word man may speak, he will give its account on d day of judgment” Mathew 12 vs 36. D4, all writers must watch their words before writing anything related to the Almighty Allah to avoid d aftermath of the Biblical verse quoted above.

Lost of focus on point of discuss

The writer of this piece actually lost focus and possibly sense of reasoning and perhaps thinks he could just write for writing sake. The issue is about demolished mosque you are talking about BOKO HARRAM. What is the link? The only disease ravaging the spirit of most Nigerian non-muslims is ISLAMOPHOBIA. No doubt, they will never get cured until they accept the one and the only God.

RE: KENNETH GO TO AHMADU BELLO

Anonymous, the main issue is building with or without approval. Were the churches in ABU built after due permission was obtained? I have been to some universities in predominantly Christian communities where mosques are erected and the muslims practice their faith freely. Mosques are even built outside the universities in remote locations where they are only a handful of muslims. The university of Ibadan is FGN owned and muslim 'tolerance' was exhibited when the muslim community instigated by a foreigner demanded that the cross in the Christian chapel, which had been there for more than 20 yrs before the mosque, be brought down. The then education minister ordered the VC to comply.Dr Ahmed Amsari has reported how the emir of Hadejia vowed that there will be no churches or hotels in his emirate. Please give an example to match the one I gave where in an overwhelming muslim dominated town a church and mosque exist side by side.

My guy u didnt school in ABU

My guy u didnt school in ABU so stop runnning ur mouth and spreading lies. for years and uptill 2 day the 2 hugely built churches in ABU have help all their church programs in perfect harmony without ant interference. The drums played within the churches can be heard as far away as 3 miles from the campus. thats ur peoples problem, severe and total ignorance, u havnt seen or heard somthin den u com yapping about like dogs that cant keep there tongues in their mouth. PLEASE before u talk get ur facts right.

Kenneth go to Ahmadu Bello

Kenneth go to Ahmadu Bello University in zaria and c 4 urself before talkin. THere are 2 hugely built churches in the school, bigger than the central mosque of the school itself. and its they are not 2 far apart frm the mosque 2. and that is a school dominated by muslims in a muslim town which also has huge churches scattered across every nook and cranny.

come to the north

come to the northern higher intitutions and see how the christians are given every chance to practice their religion, don't just sit back there and be a fool, you should have the rationale to think.

RIGHT TO WORSHIP/RELIGION

It is unfortunate that a citadel of learning like RSUT could do this. the pratice is that in every higher institution there is always a parcel of land dedicated for place of worship -Church/Mosque. Not doing so at RSUT mean intelerance and the Mgt of the school should be called to order by the relevant authority.

let's be our brothers keeper

The management should not have handled this issue like because every citizen of Nigeria has the right to freedom of worship along side many other democratic benefits.as long as they are not disturbing others or even the system.the management should tender an appology to them ,give them an overseeing patron who they are answerable to and let them exercise their democratic right by the constitution.God knows His own and on the last day He shall separate for himself those whom He has found pleasure in.Jesus is still Lord.

ADEOLA, WHO ARE THE HYPOCRITES?

The pictures and ur comment show that some personal effects were thrown out of the illicit structure before it was demolished.Is the mosque now a place of residence for students simply bcos they are muslims? So anyone who does not want to live in the hostel can erect any shanty for his occupation and call it a 'mosque'. Where on earth is ur sense of reasoning?
I was at Calabar, a town where there are very few muslims, and was shocked to my marrow to see a church sharing the same fence with a mosque.That shows the extent of your 'Christian intolerance and hypocrisy'. I ask u, with all the muslim 'tolerance', can you behold such a spectacle in a muslim dominated town like Kano or Sokoto? Right from the days of your 'prophet' Christians have always naively been accommodating of you muslims only for u to pay them pack with wickedness. As for the students' 'way to al jannah being made easy', I wish them safe journey but they must learn to obey the law.

they make the loudest noise when hit.christians are hypocrites,

christians are generally intolerant to Muslims. They only have been hypocritical about it. In a place like Rivers where Muslims are very few, they have a free hand than in the southwest where the resistance is pretty high.

I wonder how Nigerians have lost their values to religious bigotry. Does anyone of the commenters here wish to face the same kind of fate, have their belongings thrown out and their places of worship demolished??

would you want to come back from work to find out your landlord already broke down your wall and threw your belongings out? where did you keep your human feelings.

I pray Allah helps these people. Unknown to the haters, your faith is further strengthened and your way to al jannah is being made easy.

idiot. does the article talk

idiot. does the article talk about any fighting?? you'll rot in hell if you dont repent before you die.

christians are more intollerant than Muslims are

this is another show of christians' intolerance to muslims. if they have their way, they'll do worse than boko haram- fact. There relies can already tell of that.

BOKO HARAM MUSLIMS

INFACT THE UNIVERSITY DIDNT DO WELL,THEY WUD VE EXPELLED SO CALL BOKO HARAMS THAT CALL THEMSELVES MUSLIMS.I DNT UNDERSTAND YOU, IS YOUR LORD MUHAMED AND ALLAH CANT FIGHT 4 U? ARE THEY TOOTHLESS DOG,U KNOW HOW MANY XTIANS U BOKOHARAM HAS KILLED IN THE NORTH.
BETTER GIVE UR LIFE TO JESUS AND ESCAPE HELL.

I wonder who will fight for

I wonder who will fight for who. Will humans fight for God? If Allah is god indeed, he will fight for you (muslim). If he has send you to fight a just course, why take charms for protection in the course of the fight. Don't be deceived. There is only one God, JEHOVAH is His name. HE is the God of the Christians. Why must you (muslims) vow to kill converted muslims who receive Jesus Christ. One of the major difference that proofs Christians do nor worship the same God as muslim is this quote from the Bible "How God anointment Jesus Christ with POWER and the HOLY GHOST, who went about doing good." Christians don't allow yourself to be killed by the devil's representatives.

If you say so,but ask xtains

If you say so,but ask xtains in BUK if they dont have their Church service or sunday services in the school.several hall have been allocated for them to practise their religion,am i right or wrong,so please always respect other peoples religion...and dont lie for no reason...

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