The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has strongly criticized the recent warning issued by Catholic bishops to the judiciary regarding the impending appeal by opposition parties at the Supreme Court regarding the 2023 presidential election dispute.
Following the tribunal’s decision to uphold President Bola Tinubu’s election victory while dismissing the petitions filed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, both opposition figures announced their intent to challenge this ruling at the highest court in the land.
In response, the Catholic bishops, led by Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), cautioned the Supreme Court against any undue influence and emphasized the importance of upholding the law.
However, in a statement issued on Tuesday, MURIC’s Executive Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, condemned the bishops’ stance, labeling it as insincere, biased against the tribunal’s decision, and an attempt to intimidate Supreme Court judges.
“MURIC finds the bishops’ stand on the verdict pregnant with insincerity, double standards, and bias against the defendants,” Akintola stated. “In particular, we find the bullying of Supreme Court judges debasing, denigrating, and totally unacceptable.”
Akintola went on to express his surprise at the bishops’ characterization of the tribunal’s lengthy 798-page judgment as a “dismissive approach.” He also criticized the bishops for failing to advise the opposition against cyberbullying, threats, insults, abuses, and blackmail.
The MURIC director continued, “Perhaps the bishops are comfortable when judges and members of their families are threatened and when the pictures of people’s children are sent to them as threats. Instead of speaking out against these bohemian attitudes, the bishops decided to set a bad precedent by sending a chilling warning to judges of the Supreme Court.”
Furthermore, Akintola accused the bishops of attempting to coerce the Supreme Court judges into delivering a verdict that favors their preferred candidate, stating, “MURIC charges judges of the Supreme Court to ignore the veiled threat from the Catholic bishops and to confront the case brought before them with truth, strength, vigor, and faith.”