How will the Northerners and other Nigerians react to a political outcome like “The 17 Southern Governors Decide Fulani Herdsmen to Carry Biometric Licenses in Their States” or “The South-South Governors Decide Non-Indigenes Are Required To Renew Their Work Permits Every 2 Years?” The Constitution (1999) of Nigeria will come alive with fireworks! What a bifurcated country.
I did write the article about the realities and not fictions of the unconstitutional attempt of Nasir El-Rufai and 19 Northern Governors (see http://wp.me/p1bOKH-BE). No one is above the Constitution of Nigeria. I made some omissions for the article not to be too long and this has created room for misinterpretation and some complaints which I will address.
Firstly, I mentioned only Christians in my article out of sincere respect for the Quran; I sincerely respect the Bible too. Surah 109 (Kafiroon) of the Quran which reads; “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Say – Oh you who turn away, I do not worship what you worship, Nor do you worship what I worship. And I will not worship what you worship, Nor will you worship what I worship. Your way is yours, and my way is mine.” The Surah strictly implores Muslims in religious matters not to mix or join their practices with non-Muslim faiths. However, it appears Mallam El-Rufai is trying to be smart by using secular political powers, unconstitutionally, to regulate/mix all faiths under one umbrella. It is un-Islamic and many Muslim scholars can verify this fact.
Secondly, many accuse me of focusing on “worship” and not “preaching” as if they are truly separable. Every religion or new place of worship starts with and is sustained by preaching. Of the 313 Mursaleen (those sent as prophets to mankind by Allah (T.A.)) from Adam (A.S.) to Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.), Adam to Jesus of Nazareth (A.S.), and the numerous Walees / Saints / Apostles, which one of them had a preaching or ministry license? El-Rufai is practising “bid’ah” (innovations) by introducing the licensing of preachers which is haram (forbidden in Islam). Imagine the blatant Nifaq (hypocrisy)! Go check the Quran / Hadiths or ask Islamic scholars about licensing preachers.
Thirdly, it is common knowledge that not all Northern states in Nigeria are predominantly Muslim, particularly Plateau State. The question is why did the Christian Northern Governors agree to sign El-Rufai’s religious regulation proposals like the Muslim Northern Governors did? Was it due to duress and fear or free will and persuasion? I originally tried to avoid this speculation.
Fourthly, I spoke of the fears of Christians in reaction to El-Rufai’s attempt to regulate religion in the Northern States, which are very real among Christians living in Nigeria and diaspora. Do they see it as the attempted “Islamisation” of Nigeria? I concluded in the last paragraph of the article; “[Of Islamisation] It remains only a threat.” A threat and actuality are not the same things. I have heard “Nigeria Will Divide” from academic, religious, political and ethnic leaders since the 1980s; Nigeria is still together.
Fifthly, I find it expedient that noise pollution is now the “sensation” in Nigeria especially that is created by the preachers of at least two faiths. How about decades of ecocidal and genocidal oil pollution witnessed in Nigeria? That is substantive pollution that has become an agnology in the country.
Sixthly, I did mention Arewa Islam as a variant of Sunni Islam. That Arewa Islam is not courteous to “Kudu Islam”, “Shiite Islam”, ”Ahmadiyya Islam” or “Christianity” is well-observed. The evidence and history are both long and rich, especially in Kaduna and Kano. Why would Northern Muslims assault or burn down the hospitals, businesses or even mosques of people they know to be Southern Muslims yet leave those of Northern Muslims standing when their vengeance was against Christians? Show us any Islamic authority that specifies ethnicity is a measure of the acceptability of Muslims?
Finally, I stand for the freedom of religious practices in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world. The regulation or licensing of religion by government is a tragedy European discovered many centuries ago and have wisely avoided ever since.