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Eso faults FG handling of Sharia problem

By Sina Babasola, Vanguard, 23 June 2000

IBADAN—RETIRED Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kayode Eso faulted yesterday in Ibadan, federal government's handling of the adoption of Sharia by some Northern states, saying the politics option is aggravating the problem.

Justice Eso who spoke at the public presentation of two books, Nigerian legal system and topical issues in Nigerian Law, written in honour of retiring Chief Judge of Oyo state, Justice Nurudeen Adekola, stated emphatically that to avert another round of violence on the issue, the federal government should consider the legal option.

The legal luminary said that section 10 of the 1999 constitution forbids any state of the federation from declaring any religion as its official religion.

According to him, Section 42 of the 1999 constitution also frowns at the adoption of Sharia as official religion of any state because Sharia discriminate against Muslims and Christians alike.

His words: there is nothing wrong with Sharia, Sharia has been in the nation's jurispondence before the common law came in but it is forbidding for any state to adopt it as a state religion.

Continuing, Justice Eso, said Sharia is a matter which must be looked into constitutionally, but the present federal government is pursuing the political option, politics option is aggravating the problem.

Justice Eso, while justifying why no state of the federation should adopt any religion as its official religion said that there are about 80 religions and 51 nations in the geographical entity called Nigeria.

Said he, How can you adopt one religion in a country with 81 different religions and 51 nations, the adoption of Sharia is unconstitutional and illegal.

Also speaking at a different forum in Ibadan, leader of the Yoruba, Chief Abraham Adesanya reiterated the need for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference to tackle the Sharia issue.

Chief Adesanya at the award ceremony for some prominent Yoruba sons and daughters said that the Yoruba race had made known its position on the issue stressing, we need the Sovereign Conference to address the various multi-facetted problems confronting the nation.

Pa Adesanya who stressed that the secular nature of the country should be maintained, said that what was paramount in the mind of an average Yoruba now is unity among our people because united we stand, divided we fall, Yoruba is more united now and we are working towards further cementing the unity, we should watch boot licking and back. . .among us.

Prominent among those honoured at the occasion organised by the Yoruba Unity Agenda forum, includes, Mrs. G. A. Vanghan, Chief Akintola Abidoye, Hon. Niyi Owolade, Chief Akanmi Aluko, Professor Akin Fadahunsi, Chief (Mrs.) Titi Fawole, Chief (Mrs.) Iyabo Anisulowo and others.

Among those who graced the occasion, are Professor Bolanle Awe, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Chief (Mrs.) Fola Ighadalo, Chief Ayo Opadokun, Chief Bayo Oyedeji, Chief Adisa Akinloye and Mrs. Kehinde Ola-Oni wife of late Comrade Ola Oni.