‘Nigeria is a secular state’ — lawyer sues FG over OIC membership

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Malcom Omirhobo, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, has sued the federal government over Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

 

Omirhobo asked the court to declare the membership illegal and terminate Nigeria’s association with the OIC.

He also prayed the court to restrain the federal government from funding Nigeria’s membership of the organisation from public purse.

The issue for determination raised in the suit is whether Sections 1(1), 10, and 42 (1) (a) (b) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) makes it constitutional for the government to use public funds and the commonwealth of Nigerians to fund the membership of the OIC.

The lawyer also prayed the court to declare that the FG, the 36 states, and the federal capital territory (FCT) shall not adopt any religion as state religion.

He sought for “a declaration of this honourable court that the OIC is not a secular global organisation like the United Nations, ECOWAS and the AU, but an Islamic body established to promote, protect and preserve Islamic interests and values for the benefit of Muslims worldwide.

“A declaration that Nigeria’s membership of the OIC, which is being funded, sustained, managed and ran with public funds and/or the commonwealth of Nigerians by the 1st defendant is the adoption of Islam as the official religion of Nigeria and therefore improper, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.


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“A declaration that Nigeria’s membership of the OIC with public funds is to the advantage, pride, prestige and privilege of Nigerian Muslims to the disadvantage, restriction and disabilities of Nigerians of other religions and therefore discriminatory, improper, illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.”

In his affidavits supporting the application, Omirhobo said Nigeria is a multi-religion state.

He argued that apart from Islam and Christianity, there are other religions practised in Nigeria such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Daoism, Atheism, Baha’i, Confucianism, Druze, Gnosticism, Jainism, Rastafarianism, Shinto, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Traditional African Religions, Eckist, Armocs, gray message, Voodism, etc.

Thus, he said Nigeria’s membership of the OIC will represent the country as an Islamic state in the international community, instead of a secular state.

A date is yet to be fixed for the suit filed before a federal high court in Abuja.


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