Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Kassim Sumaina in Abuja
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has asked legal practitioners of the Catholic faith to explore avenues of collaboration with their Muslim counterparts so as to promote better understanding of the conflict areas in the operation of country’s laws and that of other religious laws like Sharia and Cannon laws.
Speaking at the formal inauguration of the new national executive of the Catholic Lawyers Association of Nigeria in Abuja at the weekend, Onaiyekan said they should open a good working relationship with the Muslim lawyers association to help in finding solutions to the problem that usually arise with the operation of Sharia and the normal law of the land.
“I want to stress that you also help young lawyers to grow, cooperate with others outside of Catholic lawyers professionally.
‘’It is possible to have a kind of good working relationship with the Muslim Lawyers Association, because that would be one of the way out for us to resolve our often detractable problem of what to do with the Sharia system of law and the law we are all familiar with,” he said.
He said that the current law of the land is neither basically a Christian law nor that of the Muslim but a legal instrument meant to guide the society.
He added, “But, there should be a way Christians and Muslims can relate with the issues by talking together about law and seeking the will of God, which is the a very strong common base that we will have.”
The Cardinal admonished the lawyers to always be guided by the tenets of the law and operate with the fear and obedience to God.
While inaugurating the group, the President of Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and Archbishop of the Benin Archdiocese, His Grace Most Rev. (Dr.) Augustine Akubeze, said that Catholic lawyers are to be seen as forbearers of justice and fair play in the land.
He told the members of the association that as Catholic lawyers, their actions must be piloted by their Catholic faith, adding that through this way, they will be bringing Christ justice and mercies into the legal system in Nigeria.
He also said that the Catholic Lawyers Association is expected to foster more perfect life and promote public worship in line with the Christian doctrine and to engage in evangelisation, works of piety, charity with the Christian spirit