By Uzair Adam Imam
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has condemned a decision by the Lagos State Office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to hold its meeting inside a church in Ikeja, Lagos State.
Prof. Ishaq Akintola, the MURIC Director, made the condemnation in a statement released and issued to journalists on Thursday.
It was gathered that the Lagos headquarters of INEC scheduled a meeting for Thursday and picked Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja, as the venue of the meeting.
Akintola advised INEC Lagos headquarters not to hold any of its activities in any church except those meant for church members alone and that same goes for mosques and shrines.
He added that INEC has no business using places of worship for their activities, adding that the development is ‘very disappointing’.
The statement read, “This is very disappointing. How can an electoral body of INEC status pick a religious house of worship as venue for its meeting? Is the meeting for the Christian wing of INEC or what? Is INEC meeting members of the church? It is unacceptable.
“The choice of a church as venue for a meeting of INEC is very insensitive particularly given the very volatile situation, we are in Nigeria today. It is an open secret that Christian pastors are deeply involved in political campaigns.
“Many of them have turned 2023 election into a straight fight between them and the Muslims.
“INEC Lagos Headquarters has taken a false step. Holding an electoral body’s meeting inside a church is like holding it inside the secretariat of one of the political parties.
“It erodes confidence. It is totally wrong particularly in a situation whereby the church has publicly revealed that it is an interested party in the ongoing electioneering exercises.
“Why pick a church when there are hundreds of neutral places all over Lagos? Is INEC promoting the church’s vested interest in the 2023 election? Is some kind of connivance in the offing?
“INEC Lagos headquarters must prove to Lagosians that their votes will count. We call on Lagosians to watch the activities of INEC from now on because we are not convinced that it is going to be neutral,” Akintola said.