A coalition of 14 Christian groups has raised the alarm over alleged plan by the Presidency to turn the country to an Islamic State, “through the backdoor”, warning that such action contravenes Nigeria’s secular status.
According to them, the Bill in the House of Representatives proposing amendment to Section 262(1) of the 1999 Constitution with a view to expanding the existing jurisdiction of the Sharia Court of Appeal and the state by including criminal matters was insensitive and inconsistent with democratic and republican ideals of the constitution and the Nigerian State. Members of the coalition include National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF); Nigerian Christian Graduate Fellowship (NCGF); Think Tank for the body of Christ(TTBC); Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON; Association of Christian Schools in Nigeria(ACSIN); Students Christian Movement(SCM); Christian Professionals Forum (CPF); Intercessors for Nigeria (IFN)and and International Prophetic Ministerial Association (Inc. Worldwide College of Bishops and Ministers: Africa, UK and USA.) The coalition also has Intercessors Without Walls IWW); Wailing Women International (WWI); Full Gospel Businessmen Fellowship (FGBF); Nigerian Fellowship of Christian Students (NFCS) and University Joint Campus Christian Fellowship (UJCCFF) as members.
Several calls to the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Mallam Garba Shehu, were not taken.
The spokesperson for the coalition and National President of NCEF, Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN); Prelate of Methodist Church/Head of Christian Council of Nigeria bloc in Christian Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Udofia and Leader of CPF, Prof. (Bishop) Funmi Adesanya-Davies, tabled these demands at a press conference held on weekend in Abuja.
Asemota said, “The proposed amendment is a desecration of the sanctity of the FCT as a symbol of national unity, which should be preserved. Nigeria’s membership of religious organisations and associations, particularly the Organization of Islamic Cooperating Countries and the Coalition of Islamic Nations against ISIS, is insensitive, against our best national security interest and democratic and democratic norms. “To maintain the unity, faith, peace and corporate progress of Nigeria, we demand that Shariah should be expunged from the constitution and Shariah-based public institutions, agencies and practices in the states should be abolished. In this respect we demand the return to status quo as per the Republican Constitution of 1963”.