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Thursday, 3 April 2014

NIGERIA'S AFFAIR

Confab: Tempers rise as delegates clash over religion
By Friday Olokor and Kamarudeen Ogundele

Conference Chiarman, Justice Idris Kutigi
Tempers rose on Tuesday at the venue of the ongoing National Conference in Abuja as adherents of the two major religions engaged in a debate over the dominance of Islam in the 1999 Constitution without any mention of Christianity. 


But the intervention of the leadership of the conference saved the situation.
The drama ensued when two Christian delegates representing Christian Leaders, Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese of Catholic Church, Joseph Bagobiri and Pastor Emmanuel Bosun (Ogun State), raised the issue which they described as unfair treatment of Christians and Christianity in the country.
This angered their Muslim counterparts, who opposed their submissions.
They had both submitted that the constitution of Nigeria was skewed in favour of Islam and Muslims with a call on delegates to ensure that the imbalance was corrected.
Bagobiri opened the debate on religion. He gave a detailed analysis of how the Nigerian constitution did not have any mention of Christianity or the church, but Islam was repeatedly mentioned.
He also argued that the adoption of a particular religion by states must be done away with, adding that in a country like Nigeria, neutrality was needed.
He said since Islamic courts had been created, it was only normal to extend the hands of fellowship to Christianity in order to create a fair state.
He called for the establishment of Ecclesiastical Courts to handle Christian-related disputes, like Sharia courts.
Bagobiri said funding should also be provided for the Christian courts, just like Sharia courts so that Christians could have a sense of belonging in their own country.
In his contribution, Bosun argued that the conference must address religious imbalance in the country, adding that the conference needed to address religion squarely before it destroys Nigerians.
He said, "In the 1999 Constitution, Shariah was mentioned 73 times, Grand Khadi 54 times, Islam 28 times , Muslims 10 times and there is no single mention of Christ, Christian, Christianity or church. Some mischievous elements are taking these lapses in the constitution to come to the ungodly decision that probably that the state is an Islamic state.
"So, what are Christians doing here 100 of our churches were burnt down, Christians are being killed. In fact, it has reached the stage of genocide. I will cite one example – In one denomination in Plateau State, the Women's Fellowship as at 2001 had 500 registered widows and by 2008, they had 900 registered widows. By February 2014, they had 25,000 registered widows."
But a former Governor of Kebbi State, Adamu Aliero, citing Order 9 rule 7 raised a point of order.
He said, "A delegate must confine his contribution to the subject under discussion and will not introduce matters irrelevant thereto. The speaker on the floor is bringing issues that are not related to Mr. President's speech. I therefore want the Chairman to call him to order. He is bringing diversionary issues that are very sentimental."
But the Deputy Chairman of the conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, said Bosun could not be ruled out of order since others had been allowed to speak. He said he he would only plead that delegates should mind their contributions so as not to offend the sensibilities of other people.
Bosun therefore continued saying, "There is the need for us to abide by what Mr. President said on pages 14 and 15 for this conference to take a closer look at the Constitution and make recommendations that would facilitate redressing every imbalance therein so that all the citizens in Nigeria can live peacefully and live in harmony.
"If we set Nigeria on fire for whatever reason, none of us would be able to live here. We Christians do not hate Muslims. We are prepared to live together in harmony. I live in the South-West where Christians and Muslims live together and there is peace. We want to see that peace all over Nigeria- in the North, South, East and West."
In his contributions, a delegate from the South-West, Pastor Tunde Bakare, told delegates not to deviate from the principles set by President Goodluck Jonathan as doing so would only make the conference a jamboree.
He said, "Two earlier distinguished delegates have described the President's speech as a guiding principle to this conference. Another one said a marshal plan. Permit to go into the speech itself and bring three issues in three minutes. The President himself made clear his expected outcome of this conference that as stated in Pg. 19 "…my expectation is that the outcome of this conference will be a positive turning point for our country's development. We must seize this opportunity to cement the cleavages and fault lines that separate us. We must relaunch our country.' If my expectation are different from his (Jonathan's) then we are in a jamboree. We must approach these issues with no suspicion and antagonism. Therefore we should be open-minded and work to achieve what is best for Nigeria."

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Editor's Mail

Love the article on Gaddafi
We must rise above tribalism & divide & rule of the colonialist who stole & looted our treasure & planted their puppets to lord it over us..they alone can decide on whosoever is performing & the one that is corrupt..but the most corrupt nations are the western countries that plunder the resources of other nations & make them poorer & aid the rulers to steal & keep such ill gotten wealth in their country..yemen,syria etc have killed more than gadhafi but its not A̷̷̴ good investment for the west(this is laughable)because oil is not in these countries..when obasanjo annihilated the odi people in rivers state, they looked away because its in their favour & interest..one day! Samosa Iyoha

Hello from
Johannesburg
I was amazed to find a website for Africans in Hungary.
Looks like you have quite a community there. Here in SA we have some three million Zimbabweans living in exile and not much sign of going home ... but in Hungary??? Hope to meet you on one of my trips to Europe; was in Steirmark Austria near the Hungarian border earlier this month. Every good wish for 2011. Geoff in Jo'burg

I'm impressed by
ANH work but...
Interesting interview...
I think from what have been said, the Nigerian embassy here seem to be more concern about its nationals than we are for ourselves. Our complete disregard for the laws of Hungary isn't going to help Nigeria's image or going to promote what the Embassy is trying to showcase. So if the journalists could zoom-in more focus on Nigerians living, working and studying here in Hungary than scrutinizing the embassy and its every move, i think it would be of tremendous help to the embassy serving its nationals better and create more awareness about where we live . Taking the issues of illicit drugs and forged documents as typical examples.. there are so many cases of Nigerians been involved. But i am yet to read of it in e.news. So i think if only you and your journalists could write more about it and follow up on the stories i think it will make our nationals more aware of what to expect. I wouldn't say i am not impressed with your work but you need to be more of a two way street rather than a one way street . Keep up the good work... Sylvia

My comment to the interview with his excellency Mr. Adedotun Adenrele Adepoju CDA a.i--

He is an intelligent man. He spoke well on the issues! Thanks to Mr Hakeem Babalola for the interview it contains some expedient information.. B.Ayo Adams click to read editor's mail
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