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KANO: HISTORY, PEOPLES, POLITICS, AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF ITS RELIGIOUS UPRISINGS ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF THE NIGERIAN STATE (4)

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Law and Society

The goal of Northern Muslims is full implementation of sharia which I do not disagree with if it does not undermine the development of Christianity and rights of religious and political minorities   in the North and it is restricted to Muslim lands and ; (1) If it is implemented in Muslim communities only and Muslims do not demand it is implementation in Christian communities (2) it is accommodated by a legal and constitutional framework which the constitution presently denies them nonetheless, under section 10 of the 1999 constitution on the prohibition of state religion which provides:

‘The government of the federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion’

This provision according to Prof. Jadesola Akande means that every individual is allowed freedom to practice his /her religion without state, interference. Others believe that this constitutional provision defines the secularity of the Nigerian state.

In my view, this provision should be read in conjunction with section 38 of the 1999 constitution as amended on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. section 38(1) provides:

‘Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom (either alone or in community with others and in public and or in private) to manifest, propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.’

Subsection 2 is against forceful religious instruction whilst attending any place of education and or the coercive attendance of religious ceremony.

Sub section 3 provides that no religious community shall be prevented from providing religious instructions for pupils of that community. This protection does not extend to members of secret society under sub section 4.

It is therefore clear that the implementations of the sharia and the forceful prohibition of Christian worship and the destruction of their places of instructions and the prevention by state policy or otherwise, the development of Christianity in the north by mass killing, discriminations, terrorism and destructions using explosive devices and other forms of mob reactions is unconstitutional and an aberration of the constitutional framework in existence.

These are the antecedents of the core North that has strafed the development of Christianity inspite of significant leap forward it has made and which has resulted in the breach of their contract with Nigeria. These breaches are continuing and spreading over the Christian domains in the middlebelt, especially in plateau and Benue states creating internal restiveness and destabilizations.

It is clear from the events of the recent past that the issue of religion is the greatest divisive factor and largely, Muslims are unwilling to relent in their demand to Islamize their environment; under the full sharia implementations without recourse to constitutional freedoms of and rights of Christians; which undermines Christian development but are willing and prepared to Islamize the country if this is within their reach.

it is in this regard that I call for a National dialogue on religion to examine the possibility of implementing a national legal framework for separate determination of Christians and Muslims in the North who find it difficult to peacefully coexist by physical demarcation of boundaries and the full implementation of the sharia in Muslim territories and non development of Islam in Christian territories as strategized in Kaduna.

This is the only way to avoid the disintegration of the country by a religious war which it cannot survive. The alternative cannot be contemplated under this paper.

It is also clear that exploiting religious differences have become the springboard for political negotiations in Nigeria and much of the adherents of religious extremism are distanced from the practices of Islam and are politically agitated.

Extremism in Kano provides the road map for Nigeria’s disintegration because the other Hausa Fulani states look to Kano for guidance and over the years the rulers of this great people have exploited the political fragility of the Nigerian state to unleash unjustifiable violence on their fellow countrymen whom they have alienated in their own territory and yet exploit their resources inequitably.

I remain convinced that the future of Nigeria as an indivisible and indissoluble entity is attainable under a system that guarantees social justice, religious freedom, protection of the rights of religious and political minorities and resource control under a system of true federalism and the rule of law otherwise the aspiration of one Nigeria becomes a nightmare and fleeting illusion to be pursued but unattained.

My take on the construing of S.2 (1) of the 1999 constitution is that it should be read in conjunction with the other relevant provisions of the constitution, in particular section 38 which leads to the inescapable conclusion that the constitution prohibits not only the declaration of a state religion but frowns on the interferences by any individual or group on the religious freedom of the citizen.

 

CONCLUSION

The events of the evolution of kano has taught the Nigerian state many lessons, one of which is the mutual hatred and fear in which members of the two religion hold each other, fueled by their leadership.

The view of many Muslims, that sabon gari is the citadel of infidels, and a cause for destruction, illuminates the dark crevices of our intolerance and suspicions. Although, the Christian wealth has provided the necessary resources for the development of Islam and the North, the carnage of evil exacted on the migrant and indigenous Christian communities in Muslim areas is unjustified and cruel. The rise of the Boko Haram insurgency is a product of history and the recurring religious unrests in the far north and particularly Kano.

Kano has become a grave yard for Christian migrants who have killed repeatedly for no just cause but their religion and economic empowerments.

The time has therefore come to initiate the appropriate national religious dialogue for a national rebirth or disintegration. No nation is indissoluble in the face of anarchy and intolerance. The growing population of muslims who are allowed four wives will inevitably lead to their clear supremacy and so there is the need to remove the use of population as a criteria for share of revenue and structuralisation of Nigeria in the backdrop of the fact that Christian birth rates are dropping under planned parenthood and the economic upheavals. Thus Zoning, of political offices and separate development are essential factors that will ensure the survival of Nigeria under regional autonomy in which a weak federal government will only be responsible for defense, trade and diplomacy.

The Igbo on their own part must leave Muslim lands to Muslims and avoid recurring slaughter and must seek refuge in their homelands in need of development rather than the slaughter slabs of the far North as one way of checking the repeated slaughter of their people and create the avenue for the development of Igbo land in part or whole, as the commercial capital of Nigeria with the accessible Port of Abia, which has been identified.

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ahamefule Nnorom

    June 19, 2016 at 4:35 am

    “I do not disagree with (sharia) if it does not undermine the development of Christianity and rights of religious and political minorities in the North and it is restricted to Muslim lands.”

    It is sad and unfortunate that Barrister Nwosu, like most Igbo and Nigerian Christians, has a shallow and artificial knowledge of Islam, especially sharia. These are basic facts every Igbo should know about this oppressive and misunderstood Islamic law: (1) sharia is a symbol of “conquest”; it is imposed only in countries (or regions) under Islamic rule. Thus contrary to a common misconception and deception, Nigeria is not really a secular but an Islamic state (the 1999 Nigerian constitution, imposed on the country by Muslim military rulers, mentions sharia/Islam about 45 times and not Christianity at all). For no truly secular state would have either allowed the introduction of sharia into its constitution or tolerated its application within its borders (2) Sharia, which Muslims believe is superior to the Nigerian constitution, applies to and affects everyone within its jurisdiction, irrespective of religious affiliation. Thus not only have Nigerian Christians living in the North been taken to sharia courts, many of them have lost hundreds of millions of naira in destroyed alcoholic beverages and in hotels shut down by the sharia police.(3) Muslims consider Christians who live in countries that practice sharia as dhimmis (“protected” second class citizens) and not as full citizens. Thus they are susceptible to all forms of discrimination, massacres, and beheadings by Muslims-and without consequences. (4) In a truly secular state the imposition of sharia in most northern Nigerian states should have been considered de iure (legal) secession and treated as such; but that was not the case. Rather contrary to Obasanjo claim that sharia would “wither on the vine”, it gave birth to Boko Haram.

    It will be fatal for Igbo Christians and intellectuals to underestimate the clear and present danger posed by Islam to our collective freedom and survival as a people, especially with the massacres by Boko Haram and the Janjaweed Fulani terrorists. This is not a matter of tolerance but of survival. Therefore, Ndigbo should believe in and act on this panacea:The most potent and only counter to Islamization of the Homeland is the Restoration of the Biafra Nation.

    Dr. Nnorom

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The Data of Forgiveness

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The Universal Character of Salvation

The most important ingredient in today’s media economy is data. The amount of data available determines how much and how long we can work or play on the internet. Currently, many of the service providers offer unlimited data plans but we know that those “unlimited” plans are not always unlimited. Sometimes, your download speed can get slowed down when you cross a certain point. Today, however, Jesus gives us the divine model of an unlimited plan. It is the unlimited bundle of compassion and forgiveness which never gets slowed downed shut down for maintenance. The theme for this week is that we must learn to forgive without limits no matter the injury committed against us.

In Matthew’s Gospel, today’s teaching on unlimited forgiveness comes after Jesus had told his disciples the parable of the wandering sheep, so it is plausible that some would have wondered among themselves how many times a good shepherd should go after the same sheep if it keeps wandering away. In those days, people believed that forgiveness was limited to three times only – a fourth transgression was not to be forgiven. So, by asking Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Peter was probably aiming to increase the limit to seven times. And Jesus makes it clear that we are to forgive others, “not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22).That means we must dispense an unlimited data bundle of mercy.

In Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness of a debt we could never pay. Sin is an offence against God and a direct rebellion against his authority and creation. The debt of 10,000 talents mentioned in today’s parable symbolizes the magnitude of the offence that sin causes in God’s eyes, but he is always willing to forgive without limits. However, we can easily cut ourselves off from God’s river of mercy when we refuse to forgive others. We end up restraining God’s mercy and putting ourselves under strict justice. To unfold his mercy without compromising his justice, God leaves each person free to choose between the two. If we insist on strict justice when we are offended, we bring God’s strict justice upon ourselves. But if we offer an unlimited bundle of mercy to others, we draw God’s unlimited data of forgiveness upon ourselves.

The secret to forming a forgiving heart lies in recognizing the evil of our sin and the immensity of God’s goodness in forgiving us. Until we see the ugliness of our ingratitude and selfishness, we will never appreciate the generosity of God’s forgiveness. Let us examine ourselves now to see how much forgiveness we are giving. Is there someone we still cannot forgive even after they have expressed sorrow for their actions? Have we judged someone too harshly because of something they said or did that we did not particularly like? How many times have we failed to help somebody because we are still dwelling on an injury that we suffered many years ago? How many times have we treated someone differently based on preconceived notions or stereotypes? These are some of the factors that shackle us like chains and that disrupt the unlimited data of divine grace in our lives. When we close ourselves off to people or dismiss them based on our preconceptions, mistaken judgments, and prejudices, not only do we make them suffer, we suffer as well.

But it does not have to be that way. Jesus came to free us from and the burden of sin and unhappiness. Forgiveness is like mercury, which runs away when it is held tightly in the hand but is preserved by keeping the palm open. When we lose forgiveness, we lose the ability to give and to receive love because love is the foundation of forgiveness. And since God is the foundation of love, whoever refuses to forgive automatically rejects the love of God. This is the essence of today’s parable and it is highlighted by the contrast between what was owed by each man. The wicked slave owed his master some 10000 talents. In gold terms, that is 350 tons and at today’s price, he owed his master USD21.8 billion. This was way more than King Solomon made in a year which was 666 talents of gold or USD1.45 billion in today’s value (cf. I Kings 10:14). So, this unforgiving servant owed his master what no individual could never payback. In contrast, his fellow servant owed him the equivalent of one talent of gold or USD2.1 million; so a man who was forgiven $21.8b could not let go of $2.1m, and his wickedness landed him in the hands of torturers.

Dear friends, forgiveness is an act of compassion which is expressed in the free choice to pardon one another’s shortcomings every day, and to also pardon ourselves for own mistakes Forgiveness transcends the fear of being wounded again; it is a deliberate act in imitation of the redemptive work of Jesus, the advocacy of the Holy Spirit, and the loving kindness of the Father. The whole point of today’s parable is that our Father in heaven will do the same to anyone who refuses to forgive others. Whoever refuses to forgive is doomed to a life of bitterness, and as the ugly trend continues, the person ends up building invisible walls of resentment around themselves, thereby blocking off not just one’s relationships with other people but with God as well. Forgiveness is not just an emotional expression or a sense of righteousness; it means being merciful not only when there is an explanation or apology, or a promise of amendment from the offender, but even when the offence is deliberate, and the offender is adamant. Forgiveness is a precious gift of grace, which does not depend on the worthiness of the receiver. Forgiveness is what we called to do, and the Lord’s grace is sufficient for us in that regard. Amen.

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Imo Deputy Governor’s giant strides towards revitalizing agriculture

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Imo Deputy Governor's giant strides towards revitalizing agriculture
By Joy Opara

The increasing cost of Agricultural products in Imo State in recent times has continued to be a major source of concern to the citizens of the state.

A critical appraisal of the development of Agriculture in this state reveals that successive governments had neglected this major sector of the economy, over three decades now, and this has adversely affected the revenue of government.

In line with the vision of the “shared prosperity” government of the Hope Uzodinma administration, the revolution of agriculture is among its cardinal programmes for which a high powered committee (on agricultural master plan for Imo State) has been set up.
For the purpose of resuscitating all moribund agricultural industries and facilities in the state, it is not surprising that this committee is headed by a world class Professor of Agriculture and Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku.

The need to diversify the economy cannot be over-emphasized. It is a well known fact that there is no better and more sustainable means of diversifying the economy than through agriculture. It would be recalled that after the inauguration of his committee, the deputy governor went into action, first by visiting all moribund agricultural facilities in the state, which included Adapalm in Ohaji/ Egbema LGA, Avutu Poultry farm in Avutu, Obowo LGA, Songhai farms, Okigwe road, Owerri, ADP farms in Nekede, Owerri West. Others are Acharaubo farms in Emekuku, Owerri North, Imo Rubber Plantation in Obiti, Ohaji/ Egbema, amongst others.
Prof. Njoku in one of his speeches during the tour described agriculture as the economic base of most countries of the world. Considering the dwindling oil revenue, he said it should be a source of worry to people of good conscience that the vision of our founding fathers to generate revenue, food security, economic advancement, industrialization, employment and eradication of poverty was destroyed by successive governments.
The Deputy Governor, who not only is acknowledged as one of the greatest professors of Animal Science, a renowned Agriculturist and former Vice Chancellor of a leading University of Agriculture, the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, made it clear that the present government led by Governor Hope Uzodinma is desirous to return agriculture to its former glory.

The Ikeduru-born technocrat and farmer per-excellence said that the 3R Mantra of this administration namely: Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery is a base for making the dream of Imo State as the food basket of the nation come true.

Noting that government is a continuum, the deputy governor promised that his committee will build upon what is already on ground by rehabilitating the ones that could be rehabilitated and bringing in new facilities where necessary to ensure that the passion of the governor towards agricultural revival is achieved.

Meanwhile, in most of the establishments visited by the committee, it was discovered that indigenes of the communities had badly encroached into the lands and converted them to personal use. Investigations by the committee revealed that agents of some past governments in the state connived with the communities to make it possible, for their personal aggrandizement.

The deputy governor, whose humility has become legendary pledged his total support to the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma whom he described as God sent to right all that were done wrong by the previous administrations in the state. He called on all to give this administration the needed support to rewrite the history of Imo State in gold, especially the agricultural sector.

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Child Abuse: A case of betrayal of reciprocal trust

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Child Abuse: A case of betrayal of reciprocal trust
By Christian Uzoukwu

Some years ago, while as a kid, I fell out with my father due to an occasion of sheer disobedience and on that very day, I was given no food and was ultimately battered by hunger. Child abuse includes both acts of commission and omission on the part of parents, guardians as well as care-givers.

These acts have led to a lot of actual and threatened harm meted out on countless number of children. In 2014, the WHO made an estimate of 41,000 children (under the age of 15) that are victims of homicide and other related offences. This estimate, as expounded by this world body is grossly below the real figures due to the views of the society in relation to corporal punishment experienced by children. Girls are always most vulnerable to different forms of child abuse during unrests and in war-thorn territories.

Cases of child abuse can be established in some deadly human vices such as child trafficking, child labour, forced adoption as seen in the one-child policy prevalent in China. In the Asian country, women, by law are only allowed to have one child. Local governments would sometimes allow the woman to give birth and then they would take the baby away stating the mother violated the one child policy. Child traffickers, often paid by the government, would sell the children to orphanages that would arrange international adoptions worth tens of thousands of dollars, turning a profit for the government.

Other striking examples of child abuse are the various forms of violence against the girl-child which involves infanticide, sex-selective abortions, female genital mutilations (FGM), sexual initiation of virgins in some African cultures, breast ironing in some parts of Cameroon – involving the vicious use of hot stones and other tools to flatten the breast tissue of girls who have attained the age of puberty. As if those were not enough, female students are also subject to maltreatments in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is not to talk of recurring kidnapp of female students in some parts of Nigeria, as we saw in the case of Dapchi and Chibok schoolgirls.

Based on simple analysis, child abuse can be defined as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power”.

This definition by WHO also falls in line with the definition propounded by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that child abuse are acts of commission. This commission includes “words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child”, and acts of omission (neglect), meaning “the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm.

In Nigeria, most cases of child abuse have become cumbersome due to the fact that these acts of abuses are regarded as mere punishments to unruly young ones and by so doing, should be justified and doesn’t call for any further discussion and/or scrutiny. According to various statistical studies and researches, child abuse is a vast societal cankerworm and has four profound tentacles viz:

Physical Abuse: this involves undue hitting, beating, kicking, shaking, biting, burning, strangling, insertion of pepper into the eyes and pubic regions of children, maltreatments from house-help(s) and seniors at boarding/day schools, suffocating and forcing children to live in unwholesome conditions.

Sexual Abuse also includes persuading a minor into acts of sexual intercourse, exposure of the child’s private parts, production of child-related pornographic contents and actual sexual contacts with children.

Psychological Abuse of children can be seen in cases of excessive scolding, lack of proper attention that children should be receiving from their parents and guardians, destructive criticisms and destruction of a child’s personality.

Neglect of children can also lead to children dropping out of schools, begging/stealing for food and money, lack of proper medical care for minors and realities of children looking like ragamuffins.

Consequently, the causes of child abuse can be judiciously related to sex, age, personal history, societal norms, economic challenges, lack of Rights’ Protection Agencies, parents battling with traits of alcoholism and family size. These causative agents of child abuse can bring untold effects upon the society at large and these effects can be emotional, physical and psychological as the case may be, giving rise to individuals with dissociative lifestyles.

Furthermore, the treatment of individuals who have been malformed with respect to the abuses they experienced abinitio, can be a long process because it involves behavioral therapy and other forms of neoteric therapies. Treatments of psyche-related problems are not just a one-day process due to the long-lasting effects of abuses on various conscious mental activities. It is also noteworthy to point out that, prevention is always better than cure and holding fast to this true reality, entails that agencies who have the responsibility of protecting the rights of children must continue to do the needful which requires proper oversights of parent-child relationships.

To conclude this piece therefore, we must agree that untold hardships have been a great challenge for children especially in Africa and some parts of Asia. Children with long histories of abuses turn out to become societal misfits. To this end we encourage that: Children should be given a free platform to express themselves on many topical issues and issues relating to their existence.

Children should also be allowed to freely ask questions on any issue, no matter, how weird it seems to be.

Governments should make regulations outlawing societal norms and values that might amount to child abuses.

Corporal punishments by parents, guardians and care-givers should be discouraged at all levels, thereby making parents/guardians/care-givers who seem to be incorrigible, to face the full weight of justice enshrined in the law of the land.

Education system (both conventional and unconventional) in Nigeria should be able to train up young ones into becoming critical, analytical and evaluative individuals with a view of defending the vulnerable.

And again, since children are said to be leaders of tomorrow, it is pertinent to note that to secure their future, their present existence must be cherished and protected.

Christian Chimemerem Uzoukwu
08100029867 / 09025760804
Admin Critical Thinkers’ Forum.

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