The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for the removal of Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as the Chief Justice of Nigeria over his comment on amending the Constitution to add more Sharia contents.
Justice Muhammed reportedly made the call while declaring open the 20th Annual Judges Conference at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria Faculty of Law’s Moot Court.
CAN in a statement signed by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant Media and Communications to the CAN President, wondered why the CJN would make such comment in a secular country like Nigeria.
“Our attention has been drawn to the advocacy of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed for the amendment of the Constitution with a view to adding more Sharia contents.
“We have not seen the full text of the paper presented and we learnt the Chief Justice was represented at the event. So, it is difficult to know if the speech was that of the Chief Justice or his representative.
“We don’t believe that such a reckless and provocative statement could be made by the Number one Judicial officer in the country”, the statement said.
“How could the CJN say “We as Muslims have the numbers to amend the constitution…”? It is not possible”, CAN wondered.
“It is either he was misquoted outright or quoted out of context. Otherwise, what is the fate of Christians in his court if he could be so openly partisan and parochial? Do we take it that what he said is the official position of this regime on inter-faith relations? Why has no one in leadership, either, the Executive or Legislative arm of government taken him up on it?”, the Christian Apex body queried.
Furthermore, the statement said “Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is eagerly awaiting the rebuttal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria on the unfortunate and unguarded utterances that can provoke a religious crisis in the country.
“Be that as it may, asking for the constitutional amendment with a view to adding more to the Sharia contents is ill-timed, provocative and unacceptable.
“Was the Chief Justice of Nigeria put there deliberately for the promotion of Islamic matters or to be unbiased and fair judge for all irrespective of religion? It appears from this statement (if he made it) that he was put there for Islamization agenda”.
CAN recall “in our previous meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari, we have made it abundantly clear to him that the lopsided appointments of his government in favour of a religion and a section of the country is unacceptable.
“Although he promised to look into the observation with a view to addressing it but what we are seeing and hearing show that not much has been done to correct the imbalance. The above statement credited to the Chief Justice appears to confirm our fears that appointments are done towards a religious end of Islamization”.
“Those in government are warned not to use the cheap popularity or acceptance they seek to set two religious practitioners against each other.
“This type of statement, if true, is enough for the President of the country to initiate the removal of this Chief Justice from office. He is religiously biased and partisan. We have no more confidence in him. And we once again reiterate our advocacy for religious balanced in the appointments that are being made by the President.
“Lopsided appointments are direct contradictions to some portions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). These include but not limited to Sections 10, 13 (3-4), 15 (2) (d) and (4).
“It is widely believed that no country survives two civil wars. Our leaders should be mindful of the complexities of the people they are leading. There have been Presidents who are Christians, during their time, there was never a time they promoted their religion at the expense of others.
“Our leaders should stop paying lip service to the unity and peace of the country.
These are not the best of times for the country and the citizenry and both the government and the governed must rise up to the challenges.
“Like it was said during the unfortunate civil war, “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.” This is why some are calling for a return to the old National Anthem. The CAN leadership at all levels are praying for the protection and healing of our country but let those in the position of leadership help our prayers to be answered by their actions and utterances”, the statement added.