Hundreds of protesters under the aegis of the Coalition of Civil Society and Faith Based Organization (CCSFBO) on Tuesday, June 7, staged a protest at the National Assembly over the ongoing amendment of the Sharia laws, insisting that alteration of section 262 and 277 of the 1999 Constitution as amended is an attempt at the Islamization of Nigeria.
The protesters who were of both Christian and Muslim faiths warned that a bill which is seeking the increase in jurisdiction of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the FCT and Sharia Court of the states as it borders on the criminal justice system of the nation is an attempt to create disunity in Nigeria.
According to Vanguard, the group staged a peaceful protest from the Unity Fountain to NASS Complex, carrying placard with various inscriptions stating:“Christians and Muslims are one”, “Do not alter section 262 and 277”, “Don’t abuse our freedom”, “We love Nigeria, we love our unity”, etc.
The convener of the rally, Obande Gideon during his address to newsmen faulted the leadership of the House for encouraging the introduction of a religious doctrine into the constitution of the nation knowing fully well that Nigeria is a multi-religious nation.
He said: “With the clear picture that some of the suggestions of the Sharia law for example; amputation and stoning to death etc are dehumanization, we see this as a clear and deliberate attempt to heat up the polity of this country bearing in mind that we have suffered a lot of crisis on religious lines.
“We see this as a direct infringement on our fundamental human right as every citizen of this great nation is entitled to the freedom of worship, we thereby see the above move of engrafting the provisions of the sharia law into the sections 262 and 277 as a direct imposition of an Islamic doctrine on the Nigerian people and especially the Christian Community in Nigeria.
Gideon said it was surprising that those from other religious extraction in the house and those considered as noble people in the House of Representatives despite their religious affiliation have kept silent over the controversial bill.
“We are totally disappointed that the Speaker and his team of leaders in the 8th assembly will allow an amendment that will temper with the rights of Nigerians despite the support and solidarity he has enjoyed from Nigerians which is totally devoid of religious or ethnic sentiments, he said.
Similarly, a representative of Muslim community, Ibrahim Dallah described the ongoing amendment of the Sharia laws as a cog in the wheel of progress in the unity of Nigeria.