The Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship (NCGF) has called for sanctions against Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, should he fail to resign over his call that the scope of Sgaria Law be expanded in the Nigerian Constitutin.
In a statement, signed by its National President, Prof. Charles Adisa; and General Secretary, Mr Onyenachi Nwaegeruo, the Fellowship expressed sadness at the CJN’s call, which it said amounted to hate speech and setting one religious group against the other.
The statement reads further: “This call according to reports is contained in an address to a sectarian professional group of Islamic lawyers and judges at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
“We would not have any reason to join issues with Mr Mohammed had he spoken as an ordinary citizen with bias to a particular religion. That would have passed as his fundamental right to express his opinion on any matter of his interest. But for the fact that he spoke having been invited to the forum in his official capacity as the CJN and head of an important arm of the government saddled with the responsibility of adjudicating over matters arising from the Constitution and doing justice to all and sundry without fear or favour.
“Secondly, the fact that he boasted in his speech, “we have the number in the national assembly to cause the change” shows the highest act of irresponsibility to his high office.
“Perhaps, Mr Mohammed does not know that the office he occupies demands that his personal Religious interest should not be expressed in such a manner as to create doubt in the mind of ordinary citizens that should a matter with religious tinge comes to his court he is likely to exercise his discretion in favour of his faith. This is a clear violation of his sworn oaths of office and allegiance to the federal republic of Nigeria, a pluralistic State with multi ethnic and multi religious biases.
“To the extent of his indiscretion and impudence in promoting one religion above others, we believe that the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is right in her call to the CJN to resign. On our part we, not only agree with CAN, we also call on the National Judicial Council to apply appropriate sanctions against the CJN.
Mr Mohammed may perhaps go and head the national mosque or become the grand khadi. Those are the places he belongs and they are appropriate platforms he can use to further his ambition of islamization, but to use the reverred office of the CJN to promote his bigotry is unacceptable to us.
“Furthermore, if he has nothing useful to offer the Judiciary except drag her to sectarian terrain, Mr Mohammed may as well metamorphose into a full time politician and go into national assembly and employ his bigotic prowess in convincing his likes on his life ambition of using the Constitution to accomplish Islamic conquest of the nation. But to hide under the Judiciary and use it as a platform to accomplish his nefarious ambition we consider as a desecration of the hallowed office that should be resisted.
“We note that Mr Mohammed has confirmed the information in the public domain that he has nothing to do with civil law and jurisprudence upon which our constitution is framed, but that he has been in all his career and training an Islamic law and jurisprudence. It is therefore an aberration that a personality such as Mr Mohammed should be heading the nation’s judiciary that is anchored in civil law.
“It is pertinent at this juncture for us to remind the CJN that he lacks the candour with which his predecessors carried this hallowed office. They all had their religious inclinations, but non allowed it to affect their sense of judgment. We recall an incident in the time of the immediate past CJN, Mr Walter Onnoghen, when a faith based organization applied for a courtesy visit, the CJN declined assent on ground that his office cannot be seen to be hobnobbing with sectarian groups. But Mr Mohammed has carried on without any restraint demanded by his office.
“In the light of the above and in consideration of grave implications of the CJN call which include:
1 likely bias should any matter arise out of this his indiscretion and such comes to the Apex court the litigant may not get justice
2 the CJN by his indiscretion has fanned the embers of religious war in a society that is prone to sectarian crisis
3 Technically speaking, the CJN call qualifies as a hate speech as it is capable of inciting one religious group against another.
“In the light of the above, the Nigeria Christian Graduate fellowship call on the national judicial Council to apply appropriate sanctions , including the removal as demanded by Christian Association of Nigeria to discipline Mr Mohammed for his indiscretion and abuse of his position.
“The Nigerian Judiciary must be protected from religious bigots if it must fulfil it’s constitutional mandate.”