FEATURE ARTICLE

Sir Tony NammorTuesday, September 2, 2014
tnammor@aol.com


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STATE VS RELIGION:
RELIGION EXTREMISM, TERRORISM AND EXTORTION IN NIGERIA

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umans should 'STOP' hiding under religion to perpetrate crimes against humanity. "NO RELIGION" in the WORLD should be above the laws of the land or else the nation would know NO PEACE........."

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria categorically states the following;

  1. "Chapter IV; Section 38. (1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

  2. No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own, or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.

  3. No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or Denomination in any place of education maintained wholly by that community

    Or denomination.

  4. Nothing in this section shall entitle any person to form, take part in the activity or be a member of a secret society.

I am scandalized by the level of hypocrisy, mediocrity and sycophancy taking place in Nigeria but not surprised. A nation that puts MONEY before GOD but show-case religion with a twist of profligacy and outright arrogance is not only un-informed but has her priorities misplaced. "RELIGION" as practiced in Nigeria has only contributed more in negative than positive and alienated common sense from our people; replacing it with extremism, terrorism and extortionism to the chagrin of true believers. No one should be silent in the eye of tyranny and no one should use the name of religion either Christian or Muslim to perpetrate crime against the people. Religion should be seen and used for development in both physical and spiritual. Its values should be serene in healthy growth and development of those who join and not destructive. When such happens; it looses the rights and privileges accorded in free practice and the state must step in to make corrections. The key is for Nations to separate religion from state and more on separating religious values from criminality. Those who use religion for ills are not religious; they are criminals and until states define them in that context; they shall continue to hide and disguise under such terms. TRUE Christians and Muslims are well defined by their acts and actions which show the quality they are made of and the type of value they posses.

"Chapter IV; Section 33. (1) Fundamental Rights ; Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.

We must be careful not to allow RELIGION be used in deceit and twist to cajole our citizens to engage on unnecessary fighting. I have kept emphasizing and reiterating the need for Nigerians to come into a COLLECTIVE at resolving our national problems. Stop the blame game and focus on a collective resolution. Notice that statements which should be used in UNITING the masses are not coming from the right quarters, WHY? Nigerians must resist any attempt to perpetrate religion extremism in the country, the dangers are very clear and ALL religions preach PEACE and LOVE. If the practice of the religion is not exhibiting positives of this attributes of peace, love and harmony; then it must be queried. Religion extremism in most cases does not necessarily follow the dictates of the words but man's selfishness, greed and inordinate needs. No one has the right to take another innocent person's life and that's well stated in the nation's constitution.

"Chapter IV; Section 34. (1) Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly -

  1. No person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment;

  2. No person shall he held in slavery or servitude; and

  3. No person shall be required to perform forced of compulsory

"Religion has weakened our resolve to be out spoken & categorical about what we want as a people. We tend to leave all the fights for human rights groups and even give them a bad name, while we ourselves do nothing! Do you see any religious groups come out en-mass to protest or reject any wrong policies of government, or even protest against the evils of corruption, ritual killings, election rigging etc.? Alienating ourselves from political happenings does not take anyone to paradise, but the evil seen & publicly protested against can help curb the acts of wickedness that inundate our land. Martin Luther was a clergyman, yet spoke fearlessly against racism, and helped contribute to the battle against discrimination. Religious leaders and their followers must sometimes take preaching from the "holy" places of worship into the world and boldly speak out against the ills of our time, instead of practicing secret politics of laying hands on politicians and praying for them when they visit their churches, mosques or shrines". By Mary Moka

The key is to immediately criminalize the acts and separate such activities from the true aspect of religion preaching s. Nigeria as a nation must re-establish her laws to supersede all religions by legislation and enforcement. The need to have an amendment in legislation on "Separation of Religion from State" cannot be overemphasized at this juncture. The potential problems abound and the nation needs a proactive approach and not necessarily reactionary as we often observe with most intricate national issues...The government of the Federation must be awoken to the realities facing the nation to make amends as quickly as possible; separating RELIGION from STATE and re-establishing the criminal justice system to help inteprete the laws and dispense justice as appropriate.

The World is today faced with the menace of religion extremism and one can observe the devastating effect of such activities, hiding under assumed and misplaced values of religion to wreck havoc on nations and their citizens. God did not create religion; Man did and have kept twisting and turning it to sooth different inordinate purposes.

Why must religion dictates, supersede state constituted laws? This are some intricate questions the people must ask themselves to better understand their journey within a confined geographic region and entity. Co-habitation has never been a problem; neither has the practices of various religion exalted undue pressure on any group; so why now? The moment a nation allows any religion to dictate its course; she is asking for trouble, most especially secular nations. Nigeria is a secular nation; the citizens of this great nation have lived, worked and traveled peacefully in the past without fear or rancor; the people must resist vehemently any attempt to incite a religious theater from any group or individuals and come into a COLLECTIVE to help restore peace, love and harmony back to the Nigeria and her people. This is the time to unequivocally say to the government and people; let us "SEPARATE RELIGION FROM STATE "

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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