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‘Why Nigeria remains a multi-religious state’


Prof. Ishaq Akintola

Prof. Ishaq Akintola

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has shed more light on why Nigeria remains a multi-religious state, giving credence to the recent statement by the President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III.

According to a statement by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, MURIC takes exception to the stand taken by the Christian Elders Forum against the Sultan’s point of view on the matter.

Akintola, who noted that the word ‘secular’ was not recognized in the Nigerian constitution, said a secular country is one that does not recognize God or religion at all.

He gave examples of secular states as Russia, China and other communist entities, querying: “But is that true of Nigeria? This is a country that recognizes the existence of many faiths. Churches, mosques and shrines thrive in their thousands while the Federal and State governments give official recognition to the spiritual engagements of the followers of all creeds.”

Akintola quoted a preamble of the Nigerian Constitution that stated: “We the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having firmly and solemnly resolved to live in unity and harmony as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation under GOD…”

According to him, “This is an indubitable rejection of secularism. So how secular is ‘secular’ Nigeria? It is sheer bunkum. We assert clearly, emphatically and unequivocally that Nigeria is a multi-religious nation.

“MURIC affirms that the Sultan is right. Nigeria is a multi-religious nation. By describing Nigeria as a secular country, CEF ploy is to sustain the colonial game of Christianisation of the Nigerian structure. They are simply defending the actions of the colonial master. Based on the strategic approach of all belligerent elements and oppressors, that attack is the best form of defence, it is now in the character of Nigerian Christian leaders to be constantly on the attack,” he said.

He therefore enjoined the CEF to allow their nomenclature to reflect in their actions and utterances. “They should let Nigerian youths benefit from the wisdom of elders and not vice versa. We expect CEF to douse tension and not to heat up the polity. Nigeria has enough on its hands already and true patriotism demands that all hands be on deck to salvage the near-helpless situation. Let us squarely face the tangential and ignore the peripheral. Nigeria should be on our mind, not fishing for men or rabble-rousing.

“MURIC salutes the Sultan of Sokoto for his self-control, unparalleled tolerance and robust appetite for moderation. We urge him to ignore all sorts of provocation and continue in his chosen path of statesmanship and responsible leadership,” he stated.

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