Church leaders warn lawmakers on Sharia bill

Posted by News Express | 6 July 2016 | 2,461 times

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Nigeria’s secularity must be faithfully guarded to ensure stability and progress, senior clergymen warned yesterday.

They pointedly told the House of Representatives not to pass into law the Sharia Bill pending before it.

If passed into law, the bill will empower Sharia Courts to try non-Muslims, including Christians in criminal cases.

They also noted that Christian Religious Studies (CRS) as a subject in school curricula was increasingly being treated with disdain and in some cases expunged amid lopsided federal appointments in favour of Muslims.

Rising from the 111th general meeting of the church council in Takum Local Council of Taraba State, the leadership of the Christian Reformed Church-Nigeria (CRC-N), in a communique observed the said bill with dismay, saying it was aimed at igniting religious upheaval in the country.

The communique which was jointly signed by the President of the Church Council, Rev. Caleb O.S Ahima and its General Secretary, Rev. David S. Fachano, affirmed: “The Sharia Bill which has passed second reading at the House of Representatives and which is aimed at empowering Sharia Court to try criminal cases should be withdrawn immediately.”

It wondered why the National Assembly embarked on such a “destructive venture,” stressing that if passed into law, “other religious beliefs, including Christianity would be threatened and relegated.”

“Nigeria is a secular state,” the church leaders noted, calling on Nigerians to challenge the bill which “if passed into law, would compel Christians and adherents of other religions to appear and be tried in Sharia Courts, when disputes ensue between them and Muslims.”

The clerics who observed that the “advocates of Sharia had earlier on told the nation that it was strictly a Muslim affair,” said they could not fathom why the National Assembly is on the brink of making it a law for all Nigerians.

The communique also condemned the decision of some of the northern states governments to expunge CRK from their educational curricula: “The Synod condemns in total terms the activities of governments of some northern states who have completely removed CRK from their school curricula and projected Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) as though Nigeria were an Islamic state.”

Describing the act as a “conspiracy against Christians in Nigeria,” they underlined the need for the Federal Government to immediately call to order such state governments, a step, the church believes would go a long way in sustaining the current peace in the country.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to direct the Federal Ministry of Education to as a matter of urgency reverse that draconian decision and allow CRK and IRK thrive side by side in all the states of the federation or risk expunging IRK in the curricula of states that are predominated by Christians because what is good for Muslims is also good for Christians,” they said.

They affirmed that the recent retirement of top security personnel was only targeted at those Christian faith: “We noted that there is high level of conspiracy to remove Christians from all top security positions in the country,” and that the “aim is to totally frustrate and destroy the Christian faith.”

•Excerpted from a Guardian report. Photo shows Senate President Bukola Saraki and Reps Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Source: News Express

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