Islamic Council Opposes UN Convention Bill

by Agaju Madugba

The Supreme Council of Islam in Nigeria has warned the National Assembly not to pass into law a bill currently before the House of Representatives seeking to adopt as part of Nigeria's laws, certain aspects of the United Nations (UN) convention which the council said constituted an attack on Islam.

The council said President Olusegun Obasanjo was the sponsor of the bill which among other things, seeks to review the death penalty as well as other forms of judicial punishment said to constitute cruel and inhuman treatment.

Speaking at a press conference in Kaduna on Saturday, the council's president, Dr. Dati Ahmed, alleged that Obasanjo decided to introduce the bill as a way of attacking the Islamic code in force in parts of the North.

He said no Muslim in Nigeria would obey or enforce the law if passed by the National Assembly.

As part of efforts to stop the bill, Ahmed said the council had already visited the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Ghali Umar Na'Abba, to alert him on the inherent dangers.

"The UN wants every country in the world to ratify and adopt the UN Convention. After scrutinising provisions of the convention, we feel they are against Islam.

"Most European countries have abolished the death penalty as punishment for murder and they want the rest of the world to do the same.

"(But) Islam is clear on this; life for life, if you kill, somebody then you have to die.

"Also under Islamic law, a Muslim can marry as many as four wives but they are saying it is discrimination against women.

"These are the laws our President sent to the National Assembly for adoption; every Nigerian should stand up and fight this."

Ahmed said the disobedience of the law would begin from the Presidency, as Vice President Atiku Abubakar and National Security Adviser, General Aliyu Gusua "cannot allow themselves to become non-Muslims in order to serve Obasanjo for four years."

"Their laws are dangerous," Ahmed noted, adding "we will never obey them and we have alerted all Muslims and all enlightened Nigerians to fight it."

He described as unfair, the non-establishment of Sharia courts in the South-east and the South-west.

He argued that states in the North with predominant Muslim population, have high courts and magistrate's courts, to serve the interest of non-Muslims saying that courts should be established in the Christian South for the minority Muslim population.

Ahmed said the council had reached what he described as an advanced stage for the adoption of the law in the South-western states of Lagos, Oyo, Osun and Ogun. Present at the press conference were representatives of the council from various parts of the country among them its first vice-president, Sheikh Abdulra-sheed Hadiyyatullah and Sheikh Adam Idoko, who is the Chief Imam of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Central Mosque.