The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Friday, mandated the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to earmark the amount of N30million each for the construction of a church and a shrine.
This was in response to a memo signed by the Minister, Mohammed Nanono which revealed that the Ministry budgeted N30 million for the construction of a mosque in Borno State.
Nanono, in his response, explained that the mosque was to shelter displaced herders due to insurgency in the region.
But HURIWA described the action as “provocative, sectional and unconstitutional”.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement on Friday, titled, ‘HURIWA To Agric Minister: Build A Church And African Shrine Or Be Sued’ wrote to the Ministry to construct a church and a shrine.
The group asked the ministry to approve a sum of N30m each to build a church and a shrine just as it approved the same amount to build a mosque for displaced Muslim herders.
The group also rejected the explanation of the ministry, saying it was unacceptable to deploy public funds to promote private religious pursuit in a multi-religious country like Nigeria.
HURIWA said, “This provocative decision apart from being discriminatory and offensive to section 42 (1) of the Constitution is a gross breach of section 10 of the Constitution which prohibits the elevation of ant religion as the State religion.
“Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution says: ‘The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion, of the Nigerian Constitution.”
“We are by this public notice, demanding from the minister of Agriculture, that he approves about N30 million each into two places for the building of a Church to be used by displaced farmers in Benue State and a befitting Shrine for use by African traditionalists who are farmers in any part of Southern Nigeria deemed appropriate by the farmers.
“We are giving the minister a week to approve the funds to build a Church and a Shrine or we will mobilise Christian farmers and farmers who are African traditionalists to file a suit against this obviously unconstitutional and discriminatory policy,” the group added.
By Mayowa Oladeji…
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