Ahmed Sani (BBC)
A few days ago I posted a story about Nigeria’s Zamfara State, saying that “unauthorized” houses of worship would be demolished. I wondered if churches would be considered “unauthorized.” Well, it turns out that they are.
It seems as if a case can be made from Islamic law that the churches should be allowed to remain, but since they only do at the sufferance of the authorities, Sani has a case of his own. From PM News, with thanks to nevermindlv:
Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State, has ordered the demolition of all churches in the state, as he launched the second phase of his Sharia project yesterday.
Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran.
He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found.
The governor also disclosed that a law to compel employers of labor in the state to give their employees “prayer breaks” five times daily would soon be enacted by the state House of Assembly.
The governor’s stance on the demolition of all non-Islamic worship centres, however, runs contrary to the provisions of the country’s constitution, which states in Chapter 4, Section 38(1) that “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
Commenting on Governor Sani’s decision, a lawyer and Chairman of Somolu Local Government, Barrister Ademorin Kuye, described the move as unconstitutional.
“The governor has no constitutional power to demolish churches in his state. The constitution guarantees the right of worship of every Nigerian. Nigeria is a secular state and a serving governor should not be seen as promoting one religion over the other ,” Barrister Kuye declared.
He warned the Zamfara governor not to embark on destruction of churches, as it would have grave repercussion in other parts of the country.
It would be recalled that Governor Sani introduced the Sharia Legal Code in the state in the year 2000, despite opposition from the federal government and religious groups.
The implementation of the system led to the amputation of the wrist of a cow thief, Malam Jangedi.
Governor Sani also made the retention of a long beard a condition for securing juicy contracts from the state government.