Sharia: ‘Dont Tinker with Nigeria’s Secularity’


John Iwori

A cleric, Archbishop God-dowell O. Avwomakpa has counselled President Buhari on the need to avoid taking any action that will violate secular state of the country.

The cleric who is also the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-south geo-political zone as well as the President of Niger Delta Bishop forum at the weekend kicked against the plan to re-introduce Sharia law into the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He stated this after a meeting of clerics and stakeholders in the Nigeria project which place in Warri, Delta State.

He argued that Nigeria as a secular state did not need a Sharia law as doing so will precipitate a crisis that would worsen Nigerians present precarious state.

According to him, though President Buhari means well for Nigeria but his refusal to call the higher hierarchy of Muslims and Christians and let them know that the issue of religion if taken too far could sour the relationship between Muslims and Christians and by implication divide us as a people is the bone of contention. “We are witness to what is happening in Sudan, Israel and Turkey. We must learn from history and do every ting to make Nigeria get out of the woods and make life meaningful for the masses. Even if they kill 30 million Christians in Nigeria in the name of Sharia, Boko Haram or Islamization, my Bible teaches me to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He does not sleep nor slumber. He knows how to thwart counsels of the wicked and save His people”, he said.

The clergy called on President Buhari not to allow the Nigeria ship that was sailing to sink in his hands because history and posterity would not forgive him even as he tasked the National Assembly members to put the nation first before their personal or group interests.

He made reference to the bill before the House of Representatives to cover criminal aspects of Islamic Sharia law to be implemented in the legal system in Nigeria.

at the federal and states level which had passed the second reading and expressed shock that even Christians in the House did not raise any objection.

According to him, the implication was that it would soon move to committee level where it will be discussed fully before the House would decide. If the bill scales through, it would amend the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make provision for the full implementation of Sharia Criminal law at the federal and states level.

Avwomkpa who said he had nothing against the Moslems but believes in the unity of Nigeria noted that from the Second Republic, Muslim leaders in Nigeria had always wanted the full implementation of Sharia in Nigeria.

He explained that though the 1999 Constitution retained Sharia personal law, the cleric noted that the Muslims, under President Buhari wanted to amend the Constitution to insert the full implementation of Sharia without carrying Nigerians along.

According to him, this portends great danger for Nigeria, a secular state. Muslim leaders who always support Sharia law should know that Sharia was meant for Muslims only but to argue that it full implementation should be part of the Nigeria constitution is to Christians and other religious groups running a secular state/country with a Muslim law meaning non- Muslims could be dragged before Sharia courts and get adjudicated by a legal system that is repugnant to their faiths.

He called on the House of Representatives and the federal government to ensure that Nigeria remained a secular state instead of funding one religion with public funds to the detriment of Christians and others.