The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Plateau State government to prosecute journalists who publish fake news.
The Muslim Organization was reacting to the controversial publication on Miyeti-Allah’s involvement in the killings which occurred in Barkinladi, Riyom, and some parts of Jos South last week.
MURIC in a statement stated that they believe the news story which appeared in the Premium Times is incorrect. The offending story was about Danladi Ciroma, the North Central leader of the apex cattle breeders’ organization, whom they said admitted that the killings in Plateau state was retaliatory in nature.
MURIC blamed the journalists, calling them unprofessional and also claimed that many journalists are Islamophobes and religious extremists.
MURIC also claimed that these stories which they allege are false has also led to the victimization of Muslims. It insisted that many fake stories about herdsmen killings have been planted in the media just to cause crisis and further killings.
In an emailed statement, the organization’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola said, “Some journalists are overstepping their bounds. They deliberately ignore the fact that writing and spreading fake news is an abuse of freedom of speech. The Author has violated Allah-given fundamental rights of Fulani citizens by deliberately writing and publishing fake news about Miyeti-Allah, knowing such to be false.
“He has committed a crime against humanity. He has exposed Fulanis to danger. Nay, he has equally subjected Fulanis in particular, Muslim travelers and other Muslims throughout Nigeria in general to untold hardship, tremendous trauma and immense psychological torment.
“He has also exposed many Muslims to ridicule and grievous physical harm, including death of many Muslim faithfuls. Our hearts bleed for hundreds of innocent Muslim travelers whose vehicles have been waylaid while hoodlums searched, identified and killed them in Jos and environs during crises. Hundreds of Muslim women have been widowed, their children orphaned on this particular road. Enough is enough.
Continuing, MURIC said, “Plateau State must follow the example of its Kaduna counterpart by taking the erring journalist to court. Kaduna government did not hesitate to prosecute Luka Binniyat who published a false report in the Vanguard newspaper of January 24, 2017 in which he falsely claimed that five students of a college of education were killed by Fulani herdsmen.”
MURIC also claimed that Nigerian Muslims had been complaining about victimization in the media for a long time now and they believe that now evidence is emerging on the bias of some Nigerian journalists and how they are flagrantly violating the ethics of their profession and abusing the constitutionally guaranteed right of a free press by telling lies, fabricating stories and manufacturing fictitious scenario. Their publications have created panic, divided the people and caused breakdowns of law and order.
MURIC called on the Plateau state government to prosecute journalists who publish fake news
“The ball is in the court of Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State. He must hand over the journalist to the police. The law must be allowed to take its due course. Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State has set a precedent. Lalong has a duty to follow the Kaduna example. No state government in a genuine search for peace can afford to harbour those who spread the fire of hate, war and destruction.” the Organization said.
MURIC also cautioned Nigerians on the need to avoid spontaneous reactions. “Nigerians must learn a lesson from the Plateau progrom. We must investigate reports very well before jumping to conclusions particularly in these days of new media. Christians and Muslims must make good use of the teachings in their scriptures in real life.
“The tragedy of the Nigerian nation lies in the multiplication of an extremist religious population. No religion is excluded. Although churches and mosques increase in their hundreds, Nigerians take joy in acrobatic religiousity. Yet, when placed parri passu with our gymnastic criminality, our extreme religiousity is outrageously paradoxical. Our actions do not reflect our faith.
“Whereas the Qur’an warns Muslims to find out the truth ‘fatabayanuu’ whenever any rumour is brought to them (Qur’an 49:6) and the Bible also cautions Christians to “Test all things. Hold fast to what is good” (I Corinthians 5:21), Nigerians rush to kill and maim fellow compatriots at the first breaking news”