Following his call for constitution amendment to accommodate Shari’a Law and Muslim concerns in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the Chief Justice of Nigeria, (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Muhammad of plotting to turn the country to an Islamic State.
CAN said that the Chief Justice was engaging in official immodesty, adding that his statement was slanted towards making Islam a state religion.
On Wednesday, November 11, 2019, Muhammad in his keynote speech at the 20th Annual Judges Conference at the Ahmadu Bello University had urged the academics to redesign the methods of teaching Shari’a law, Punch reports.
The CJN was also said to have called for an amendment of the constitution to accommodate Sharia law, adding that English should be discarded as Language of instruction in Shari’a law.
However, in a statement on Saturday, December 14, 2019, CAN’s National Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Samuel Kwamkur said the body viewed CJN’s statement as “the most reprehensible, reckless and insensitive statement (ever) made by a public officer, a jurist and the head of Nigeria’s judiciary.”
“CAN observes that the CJN has neither denied any of the reports attributed to him nor has he clarified it. No person or association has come out with a contrary opinion. We, therefore, regard it as a settled fact: the CJN did indeed say it. And much more, he meant it.
“He called for amendment to alter Nigeria’s current constitutional status to be religiously inclined — inclined towards one religion — Islam. Clearly, this looks like the path to making Islam a state religion, ” he said.
Kwamkur also maintained that the CJN’s pronouncement could be an effort to promote Islam and give it a place of pride in the Nigerian constitution.
He continues, “Related cases are the heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force who chose to cite specialised universities in their home areas using public funds. Perhaps, the CJN is reinforcing the same mentality, this time using religious self-indulgence.
“But then, we may pause and ask ourselves the following questions: are these actions by the military chiefs and the pronouncement of the CJN deliberately synchronised to promote regionalism and religious bias?
“Are we seeing the implementation of part of a much bigger plan to turn the country into one behemoth of a region and also one grand religion?”
On the proposed social media and anti-hate speech bills, CAN wonders if the bills are also part of the plan to move Nigeria toward becoming an Islamic state.
“Is Nigeria about to witness the sure move toward becoming an Islamic state and the possibility of the country being forcibly transformed into a Shari’a state?
“Could all these be part of the motivation for calling for laws that could stifle any national debate or crush opinions that are branded as hate speech and for the regulation of the social media?
Was the CJN already speaking on behalf of those who are conspiring to allow Islam to dominate and subjugate other faith? Was this agenda the reason Justice Walter Onnoghen was crudely and hastily removed and Justice Tanko hastily sworn in as the CJN,?” CAN queried.
Citing Section 10 of the constitution, CAN said Muhammad’s statement is a dangerous idea.The Christian body also doubt the CJN’s trustworthiness to continue as the head of the judiciary.
“If the less educated, those who are not enlightened, the mischievous and the politically extreme can tinker with such permutations, certainly not a man of the learning, age, experience, exposure and publicly centered personality as the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“Does his position speak positively of a man who can still be trusted to hold the judiciary together as belonging to one nation with one people of various opinions, religious convictions and political persuasions?” CAN asked.