Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has registered its discontent with the statement credited to the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, that constitution should be amended to accommodate some concerns of Muslims and the Sharia Law.
Some national dailies reported, last week, that the CJN, represented by the Grand Khadi of Niger State, Justice Muhammad Danjuma, delivered a keynote speech at the 20th Annual Judges Conference at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), where he urged the academia to champion the cause of redesigning the methods of teaching Sharia law, discard English as the language of instruction in Sharia law and for a separate faculty dedicated to Sharia.
CAN, in a statement released in Abuja, on Saturday, by its National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, said the statement was the most reprehensible, reckless and insensitive statement made by a public officer, a jurist, the very head of Nigeria’s judiciary at that.
It noted in part that: “It’s one more glaring case in recent history where public officers, rather than see themselves in privileged positions to discharge responsibilities that promote national cohesion, dialogue, and understanding, have instead become local and humdrum in their dispositions toward other parts of the country.”
CAN, thus reminded the CJN that there are sections of the 1999 constitution that allow the implementation of Islamic Personal Law, particularly section 10 which expressly specified that “The Government of the Federation or a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion”.
It suggested that the CJN should show greater concern to elements that would keep the country peaceful, serene, united, steadily growing, with inclusive governance, and not otherwise.
It also asked the CJN to champion greater reforms that would bring justice closer to the people, and erase technicalities and the ridiculous complications witnessed during the sitting of election petition tribunals, appeal panels, and the Supreme Court.
CAN added: “Nigerians want to see safer highways, improved electricity supply, affordable and available health care and housing, jobs and empowerment for youths and women, as well freedom to ventilate their opinions”.
The Association thus called for the implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report. “This will help give a balanced and proper expression to all parts of the country on how they wish to live and be governed in this 21st Century,” it said.