By Ajape Sefiu A.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has issued a warning against inciting Nigerians against the government while also advising Nigerians to ignore rumors regarding the payment of the cybersecurity levy, adding that individuals are not meant to pay the levy.

In a statement issued on Monday, May 13, 2024, the Executive Director of the human rights advocacy group, Professor Ishaq Akintola, debunked the idea of a cybersecurity levy to be paid by individuals.

He insisted that the 0.5% levy will only be paid by banks and other financial institutions, telecommunications outlets, insurance companies and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

The statement read in full, “The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has been disturbed by the recent hullabaloo over the cybersecurity levy recently announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which some unscrupulous elements deliberately distorted by spreading false, unfounded and baseless allegation that individual Nigerians were required to pay the cybersecurity levy. This is a lie from the pit of Jahannam.

“According to Section 42(a) of the Cybercrime Act 2024, the 0.5% levy is actually meant for banks and other financial institutions, telecommunication outlets, insurance companies and the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Unfortunately, those who have some axes to grind with the Tinubu administration saw it as an opportunity to incite Nigerians against the Federal Government (FG). That was why they spread the false information that individuals will have to pay the cybersecurity levy. This is far from the truth.

“MURIC strongly condemns this attempt to cause disaffection, distrust and pandemonium in the country using misinformation, disinformation, provocation and outright incitement of Nigerians against the Federal Government (FG). This action smirks of desperation, recklessness and irresponsibility on the part of critics, detractors, the opposition and any other group or groups that may be behind the falsification.

“In particular, the disinformation embarked upon in the last 24 hours in which it was claimed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had ordered the discontinuation of the cybersecurity levy ( amounts to a deliberate attempt to hijack government’s channels of communication.

“These actions are marks of a desperate opposition ready to use all means, fair and foul, moral and immoral, legal and illegal, to get what it wants, namely, to take over the reins of governance through unconstitutional means.

“Like Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian philosopher (1469–1527), those behind this disgraceful scheme believe that the end justifies the means, including the needless and wasteful sacrifice of the lives of Nigerians whose deaths are likely to guaranteeing ccur in the ensuing chaos.

“MURIC is not allergic to criticism if it is objective. It adds luster to governance in a multiparty democracy. Criticism is acceptable so long as it is constructive but what we are seeing these days from some members of the opposition is archaic and bohemian.

“We warn Nigerians not to fall for these unconventional maneuvers. Those who instigate the citizens against a legitimate and purposeful government through luciferous manipulations and rabid, hydrophobic lies capable of making Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945, Adolf Hitler’s professional liar) turn in his grave are incapable of guaranteeing free speech, mature and responsible leadership, transparency, probity and accountability if Nigerians make the mistake of making them their leaders come 2027.

“Nigerians must reject anarchists and shameless liars. The need for Nigerians to apply some caveat to the false propaganda being rolled out by some elements in the opposition is sine qua non to a healthy democratic heritage, a peaceful environment, plus the attendant economic growth and political stability.

“That caveat can be achieved through careful screening and cross-checking of information to enable us separate the wheat from the chaff, fake news from genuine information, liars and agents provocateurs from a truthful and responsible government.

“Just as the Glorious Qur’an warns Muslim faithfuls to beware of bearers of false information, ‘If an ungodly person brings any news to you, you must investigate its veracity so that your next action will not hurt the innocent and you will regret that action’ (Qur’an 49:6), the Bible also implores Christians to ‘Investigate all matters and hold on to that which is the truth’ (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

“Nobody can accuse this administration of docility or nonchalance with regards to feeding Nigerians with necessary information whenever necessary. Government’s spokespersons always add their names to government’s official statements. We therefore advise that Nigerians should ignore all kinds of information purportedly coming from government but which do not contain names of its spokespersons.

“Nigeria would have taken one big step forward in information dissemination if the media would take the above advise very seriously. It is lazy journalism if we fail to cross-check, particularly when journalists have access to government’s spokespersons. We can take professionalism in journalism to the level of global best practices.”