The Center for Cultural and Religious Rights (CECURR) has called for the dictates of the Nigerian constitution to be adhered to every time in the country particularly when the rights to life, association, expression and assembly are concerned.
CECURR is a child of necessity borne of the need to bring succor for victims of religious and cultural persecution in any part of Nigeria. It is a non-religious organization of men and women of different religious background including atheists; it is non-sectarian, non-gender bias, gender- sensitive, non-profit making and non-governmental organization. Its activities cover all parts of the country; its work strategy centres on study, research, education, advocacy and enlightenment.
The group was reacting to the violence witnessed recently in Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano and some other states in the northern part of the country during the celebration of the birthday of grandson of Prophet Mohammed, PBUH by the Shiite Islamic group.
CECURR through its National Coordinator, Mr. Debo Adeniran said, “It is a prerequisite in good governance practice to apply circumspection, wisdom in making decisions and executing plans in ways that will avoid committing mistakes of the past. That is the way to avoid doing things in the same old ways while expecting different results. It is significant for the government not regularly rely on ‘use of force’ while handling issues concerning ideological groups or movements such as the Shites’ and Boko Haram. Circumspection should always be applied as the ‘use of force’ has not successfully quelled the agitations of most ‘extremist’ groups in history. The ‘stick’ only approaches used in similar situations in the past only further conflagrated the crises like in the Boko Haram experience.”
“It is imperative to state that the Constitution of the country is supreme and guarantees the fundamental human rights of all and it defines confines within which the government must operate in handling scenarios that are violent or potentially so. In the same vein, groups and individuals must abide by the constitution and while enjoying their fundamental rights, people must not infringe on what constitute the rights of other persons.”
“The secularity of the Nigerian constitution needs to be asserted and enforced to reduce drastically religiously inspired crises which are often violent with attendant loss of lives and property. History had more or less provided chances to do things differently for better outcomes, but unfortunately current experiences have shown that we have learnt nothing from it.”
Adeniran continuing, said “last year, the reported clash between the military and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) which aggravated into the detention of their leader Sheikh El-Zakzaky, and the death of more than 300 Shiite Muslims by the military appear to be directed link recent clashes. The government must apply circumspection on this issue because of the international dimension to it given that the Shiite group is directly linked with their mother movement in Iran. That the Iranian government has publicly declared its solidarity the IMN is explicit enough and it makes the issues both complex and delicate.”
“We condemn the jungle justice meted out to the members of Shiite movement in the last episode of violence in the North as this will only worsen a situation that is terribly bad already. We call for a probe of the episode with a view of identifying the perpetrators of such dastardly act and bringing them to book. The government must deploy tact to avoid a possible situation where the country will be turned to a battle ground for proxy religious wars, and its actions must be within the ambit of the constitution of the country, international conventions and Statues.”
“We urge Nigerians regardless of religious, cultural or social inclinations to shun religious and cultural intolerance. We should also eschew violence and respect each others’ fundamental rights.” Adeniran concluded