The Bill for Ecclesiastical (Christian) Courts in Nigeria is a recipe for anarchy and should be stopped in the interest of the nation, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, has warned.
The organisation also threatened that it would demand that Wednesday should be declared a work-free day in Nigeria, if Christians continue to insist on ecclesiastical courts.
The Secretary-General of NSCIA and Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, sounded that warning in an interview with THE PUNCH in Abuja.
He said no informed Christian would agitate for Christian courts because Muslims had Shariah courts.
The proposed bill for a Christian Court sponsored by Hon. Gyang Dung (PDP) from Plateau State and eight other members of the House of Representatives had scaled the second reading.
According to Dung, while presenting the bill during plenary said the courts would complement the regular courts especially with matters relating to the tenets of the Christian faith, when established.
He, however, stated that it adjudicate in cases between individuals and groups that yield and submit to its jurisdiction.
But Oloyede said the demand for Christian courts amounted to the height of intolerance because Christians enjoyed Sunday as Sabbath Day while the cross was the sign of the hospital “and yet Muslims are not complaining.”
He said, “Why not? Let them (Christians) have it (Christian courts); I believe that Muslims will also have Wednesday as a work-free day. To me, the demand for Christian courts is not in the interest of the nation. I believe that if because somebody has something, then another person must have it, then Muslims can also ask for Wednesday and not Sunday as a public holiday. If you hate Muslims because they have Shariah courts, then they can also hate you because you have Sunday and there will be no end to it.
“People can also demand that they don’t want a Sabbath Day; Muslims don’t have Sabbath Day because they believe that it is Christianity that believes in Sabbath Day and that is why they conceded to Saturday and Sunday.”
If Christians say whatever Muslims want, they will be antagonistic to it, then what it means is that Muslims can stand up and say they don’t want Saturday and Sunday, they want Wednesday as work-free day.
“I think it is an act of intolerance, what has brought this country together is that our forefathers have been very considerate and sensitive. But we now have some hit-headed people who think that others are fools. But I think those people should be cautioned, not to create a situation that will lead to anarchy.
“If you say because they have Shariah court, you also want Christian courts, Muslims also have the right to say they don’t want Saturday and Sunday, they want Wednesday as Sabbath Day. So when you concede one thing to one group, the group will concede another.
“Our forefathers are not fools; the Christians among them were more Christians than modern-day Christians. The Muslims among them were more Muslims than the modern-day Muslims. Yet, they agree on the principle of give and take and that is why the nation is where it is today.
“If you start this intolerance, at the end of the day, every group will discover that it does not pay and is not in their own interest to create such a situation. I am a Muslim and I have no apology for being a Muslim. But I believe that any informed Christian will not go that way. But if they go that way, Muslims also have the right to demand for all the things which they also believe that are Christian vestiges. If you go to any government hospital, the cross is a sign of the hospital in Nigeria and we are not complaining.
“Even in Sokoto (the seat of the caliphate), the cross is the sign of the hospital and Muslims are not complaining because it is not give and take. But by the time we start to exhibit such intolerance, other people will have the right to make their own demands and that will take the country to nowhere.”