The President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev Dr. Samson Ayokunle, has called for the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Tanko Muhammed due to his alleged religious bias.
Ayokunle made the call in reaction to Muhammed’s call for constitutional amendment to allow for the integration of Sharia law.
CJN, who was represented by the Grand Khadi of Niger State spoke during a two-day conference organized by the Centre for Islamic Legal Studies, CILS, ABU in collaboration with National Judicial Institute, NJI, Abuja.
The event was tagged: “Documentation of Contracts in Islamic Law: Procedure, Sample Precedents and Practice.”
However, Ayokunle described the alleged comment by the CJN as provocative and unacceptable.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the CAN President stated that it was eagerly awaiting the rebuttal of the CJN on “the unfortunate and unguarded utterances that can provoke a religious crisis in the country”.
The statement read in part: “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.
“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.
“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. How could the CJN say ‘We as Muslims have the numbers to amend the constitution’? It is not possible. It is either he was misquoted outright or quoted out of context.
“Asking for 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 Islamisation agenda.
“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.”
The association wondered what would be the fate of Christians at the “CJN court if he could be so openly partisan and parochial.”
CAN expressed lamented over the apparent silence by both the leadership of the presidency and the National Assembly on the CJN outburst.
“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 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.”
CAN further said the statement credited to the Chief Justice appeared to confirm fears that “appointments are done towards a religious end of Islamisation.”