Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Friday, asked Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, to approve a sum of N30m each to build a church and a shrine just as he approved the same amount to build a mosque for displaced Muslim herders.
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Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, stated this in a statement titled, “HURIWA To Agric Minister: Build A Church And African Shrine Or Be Sued.”
Nano no had previously come under fire on social media after a leaked memo expressing clearance of N30 million in taxpayer cash for the construction of a “Friday” mosque.
Following the uproar, the Kano-born minister acknowledged the authenticity of the leaked memo through his ministry, emphasising that the mosque was built for livestock farmers.
HURIWA, on the other hand, reacted on Friday, calling the conduct “provocative, sectional, and unconstitutional.”
The group also criticised the ministry’s response, claiming that using public funds to encourage private religious pursuits in a multi-religious country like Nigeria was wrong.
“Apart from being discriminatory and disrespectful to section 42 (1) of the Constitution, this provocative decision is a severe breach of clause 10 of the Constitution, which bans the elevation of ant religion as the State religion,” HURIWA added.
“The Government of the Federation or a State shall not adopt any faith as State Religion, of the Nigerian Constitution,” reads Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“We are asking from the Minister of Agriculture, through this public notice, that he approves around N30 million each for the construction of a Church for displaced farmers in Benue State and a befitting Shrine for African traditionalists who are farmers in any portion of Southern Nigeria deemed acceptable by the farmers.
“We’re giving the minister a week to authorise the money for the Church and Shrine, or we’ll mobilise Christian farmers and African traditionalists to file a lawsuit against this unlawful and discriminatory policy,” the organisation added.
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