Muslim delegates to the ongoing National Conference on Wednesday faulted claims by representatives of Christian Association of Nigeria that the 1999 Constitution was skewed in favour of Islam.
Two CAN representatives, Bishop of Kafanchan Diocese of Catholic Church, Joseph Bagobiri, and Pastor Emmanuel Bosun (Ogun State), had on Tuesday raised the issue which they described as unfair treatment of Christians and Christianity in the country.
They had both submitted that the constitution of Nigeria was skewed in favour of Islam and Muslims with a call on delegates to ensure that the imbalance was corrected.
Bagobiri said the Nigerian constitution did not have any mention of Christianity or the church, but Islam was mentioned several times.
He also argued that the adoption of a particular religion by states must be done away with, adding that in a country like Nigeria, neutrality was needed.
Countering this position, Muslim delegates claimed that the Nigerian constitution was a Christian document, contrary to the submission by the two church leaders.
A retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Argungu Mohammed, who recalled his days on the bench said all courts in Nigeria, except Sharia courts and customary courts applied Christian laws.
Mohammed said, “I want to correct one misleading statement. Yesterday, two members of CAN, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri and Pastor Emmanuel Bosun, made statements concerning the constitution of Nigeria. They said it was an Islamic constitution. I am sorry to hear this from people who are educated like them.
“When the British conquered northern Nigeria, they met two religions in that part of the country. Islamic and the customary religions in place. They introduced their own common law. Common law is of Christian origin. They also introduced statute of general application which is also Christian law. They made these three laws to work together.
“They brought some provisions of the Islamic and Customary laws which they said were contrary to principle of natural justice, equity and good conscience. The laws have continued to exist together.
“I became a magistrate in 1966 and rose up to Supreme Court. I am an Islamic scholar. As a magistrate, I worked with the common law. As a High Court Judge, I worked with the common law.
“I was at the Court of Appeal as a Justice of the common law and a justice of the Shariah.
“A misleading report was given yesterday. To say that Nigerian constitution is an Islamic law is absolutely wrong. Nigerian Constitution is Christian.”