by Ogunjobi Michael O
The ban placed on all religious activities in Obafemi Awolowo University raises concerns on the level of religious intolerance in our ivory towers in view of a similar display at the Federal University in Dutsin-ma in Katsina State over religious tension leading to the closure of the University. The tension in Federal University in Dutsin-ma was allegedly propelled by students of a different faith who accused the former Vice Chancellor, James Ayatse, of favoring Christians in filling academic and non-academic vacancies, culminating in their display of solidarity to their ousted Vice Chancellor, Professor Haruna Kaita who was recently reinstated upon a Court order to that effect.
Remarkably, constitutional provisions on religion in Nigeria are in Sections 10, 38, 17 (3) (b), and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 while the limitations are spelt out in Sections 38 and 45 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Section 10 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which provides that “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion”, have made some to opine that Nigeria is a secular State while another school of thought sees Nigeria as a multi-religious State.
Of note, section 40 of the 1999 Constitution recognizes the right of every person to assemble freely and associate with other persons. Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution accords legal cloak to legislations reasonably justifiable in democratic setting deviating from Section 38 of the 1999 Constitution in the interest of justice public safety, public order, public morality, public health or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.
In 2016, the ijab crisis diverted attention from the industrial disputes in various critical sectors of the economy in Osun State. Now we are having a repetition. Sadly, a sorrowful legacy of religion orchestrated hatred is being bequeathed on our offsprings as an addendum to tribal virtual war. We may have failed to achieve the dreams of our founding fathers or you may consider Nigeria as a marriage of convenience, but we cannot continue to plant the seed of ethnic and religious hate yet expect to develop even upon secession. We will only end up adding to the increasing number of Nigerians walking around waiting for an unfortunate fellow to blame for causing their untimely but fortunate death.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Ogunjobi Michael O. writes from Jireh & Greys Attorneys in Lagos