HURIWA Carpets CJN for Stoking Religious Conflict

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has decried the silence of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammad Tanko, over alleged desecration of court by the Department of State Services (DSS) but was more focused on instigating possible religious conflict by advocating full Sharia law in the Nigerian constitution.

HURIWA in a statement yesterday called on the National Judicial Council to sack Tanko from office before he plunges the nation into religious conflicts with his self-centered campaign for Sharia law to be included fully in the Constitution and to be taught in Arabic Language in universities.

The position of the body which was signed by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, urged the National Judicial Council (NJC) to call the Chief Justice to order and stop overheating the polity in the guise of promoting his attachment to his religion or get him removed from office for his negligence of duty by failing to defend judicial integrity, judicial independence and the Principle of Separation of Powers.

HURIWA also accused the Chief Justice of Nigeria of playing religious politics by seeking to undermine section 10 of the constitution upon which Nigeria has been erected on a pro-democratic platform of secular or multi religious entity.

HURIWA said the religiously motivated campaign by the holder of the Chief Justice of Nigeria deploying public fund to carry out such a private religious assignment was an impeachable offence and tantamount to institutionalising impunity and lawlessness by the ministers in the supposed temple of justice.

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria should not and must not be allowed to use his national office to drum up support for his private religious codes even against the fact that he swore an oath of allegiance to the constitution before he became Nigeria’s Chief Justice of Nigeria and not Chief Justice of Sharia law. Why has Justice Muhammad Tanko suddenly become the chief Islamic warrior of Sharia law? Nigerians at this point in time cannot afford another over heated environment like we had in the late 1970’s when the first attempt was made as is been suggested by the current Chief Justice of Nigeria which the campaign for full sharia by the Chief Justice of Nigeria is capable of igniting religious conflicts amongst diverse religious groups including African Traditional Religionists, Christians, and Atheists.

“We thereby call on the Chief Justice of Nigeria to resign from office so he can fully concentrate on carrying out his private religious project of campaigning for full Sharia. He should leave public office so he can very well set up his non-governmental office to raise his resources to execute his mandate which favours only adherents of his own religion. He is the Chief Justice of Nigeria who should defend the Constitution and work for free, egalitarian society whereby equality of rights are promoted and protected.”

Also, the Rights group criticized the Chief Justice of Nigeria for calling for the teaching of sharia law in Arabic Language as if Nigeria is an Arabic nation.

The Rights group said it was shameful that at a time the integrity, independence and respectability of the court system in Nigeria had been rubbished by the executive arm of government, the chief Justice who should defend the judiciary is busy chasing religious shadowy programme of making Nigeria a sharia or Islamic state even when this was clearly unconstitutional.

“Was Muhammad Tanko away from the Planet Earth that he isn’t aware that armed State Security Services operatives chased out a judge of the Federal High Court Ijeoma Ojukwu in the nation’s capital and re-arrested a citizen who was granted bail and indeed released earlier by the same misbehaving SSS?

“HURIWA is shocked that Justice Ibrahim Tanko-Muhammad, Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, on Wednesday reportedly advocated for teaching of Sharia law in Nigerian universities in Arabic Language. We are shocked and disappointed that he made the remark while declaring open the 20th Annual Judges Conference held at the Faculty of Law Moot Court, Kongo Campus of Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, Kaduna State.”

HURIWA accused the Chief Justice of Nigeria of attempting to re-ignite religious crises by stating that Muslims should be blamed for their lukewarm attitude towards moving the Sharia forward in Nigeria, advising that there should for a change of attitude to propel Sharia to certain level of advancement even as he recalled that since the issue of Sharia was introduced in Nigeria, there was no meaningful progress up to today, saying that “while others are moving, the Sharia is not moving in this country.”