June 11, 2009

Northern elders caution over constitution review

By Emeka Mamah

Kaduna — Traditional rulers and Muslim leaders in the 19 northern states yesterday advised lawmakers in the country to be cautious in their efforts to amend the 1999 Constitution as well as make laws for the country, saying divine (Islamic) laws were superior to man-made laws. They spoke under the auspices of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI).

The JNI also expressed concern over the increasing incidences of poverty in the country and urged the three tiers of government to take practical steps to address the situation.

A communiqué made available to newsmen at the end of the Annual General Council Meeting (AGM) of the group stated: “The JNI, therefore, advises the National and State Assemblies to always recognise the sensitivity and superiority of divine laws against man-made laws in legislative duties.

“The council reaffirmed its commitment to constructive engagement with all stakeholders to promote mutual understanding, mutual respect and peaceful co-existence amongst all Nigerians.”

The JNI, in the communiqué which was signed by the  Emirs of Argungu and Kazaure, Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammad Mera and Alhaji Najib Hussaini Adamu respectively further expressed concern over recent campaign by “some misguided people” that Muslims should avoid western education and denounce conventional government services.

The association then urged Muslims in the country not to succumb to such erroneous call, but rather make efforts to ensure that they are properly educated in both Islamic and western education.

It also noted the efforts of the government to revamp the national healthcare delivery system and the national immunisation programme and resolved to support the government as well as other stakeholders towards achieving the objectives.

The JNI stressed that the leaders believed in the unity of the Muslim Ummah as “one indivisible entity, in accordance with the Qur’an and urged members to work together for the progress of Islam.