Unless you have been living under a rock (which these days could mean being without internet), you would have likely watched Falz’s This is Nigeria, an imitation of Childish Gambino’s This is America – both rap songs which spoke about the contemporary problems in their societies with videos that left no illusions about their messages.
Without doubt, Falz did an excellent contextualization of the video to the most dominant problems in Nigeria, especially over the past six months: from protests against SARS’ brutality to mysterious snakes that swallow money, the rapper covered all the issues.
However, the insertion of hijab-clad ladies dancing the shaku-shaku along with him has drawn the ire of the Muslim Rights Council (MURIC), an organization that seems to have fighting for Nigerian Muslims on all matters as its mandate.
The problem is not the mandate that MURIC, which is led by and spoken for by Ishaq Akintola (a professor of Islamic Eschatology at the Lagos State University) is a bad one – it is that it has become a pattern of behavior for MURIC to always bring a religious dimension to matters which have none, or to use the classic Nigerian phrase, ‘overheat the polity’ through threats and reckless statements when there is a religious angle to issues.
For example, when a Muslim female student was stopped from taking her call to bar because she wore a hijab under her wig, MURIC threatened fire and brimstone and warned of ‘a religious crisis’ over it unless hijabs were allowed for call to bar.
There are also multiple times they have acted as unofficial spokespersons for President Muhammadu Buhari, such as defending him over calling Nigerian youths lazy or disputing allegations that some of his decisions were motivated by faith.
It is in this same manner that they have threatened to sue Falz over his video, claiming it is an insult to Islam and also demanding that the Nigeria Film and Videos Censors Board withdraw video from being played.
It is rather confusing that MURIC’s claim for their anger being with the video is that none of the Chibok girls who the dancers clad in hijab are depicting were ‘seen dancing like drunkards’ and criticizing the characterization of Fulani man in the act of killing while at same time describing the video as ‘intended to be spiteful and denigrating of Muslims.’
Is it the characterization of the Chibok girls in hijab that is irksome to them or because their characters are dancing? How does the portrayal of the Fulani man become an offense to Muslims, considering the fact that there are Fulanis who are not Muslim and of course, all Muslims are not Fulani? Infact, in numerous clashes between Fulani herdsmen militia and other ethnic groups, there have been Muslims who fell victim to the militia.
It will be interesting to see MURIC carry out their threat and sue Falz to court. Personally, I am wondering what section of the law they will be basing their lawsuit on.
Now that the artiste and his management have refused to withdraw the video, we are waiting and expectant of the lawsuit.
It has been four days so far with three more to go.
See you in court, MURIC.