Declare Nigeria’s membership of Islamic body illegal, lawyer tells court

July 21, 2021
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Human rights advocate and lawyer, Malcom Omirhobo, has dragged the Federal Government to the Federal High Court, Abuja, asking the court to declare Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as illegal.

Omirhobo sued the Federal Government, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of the Interior as the first to third defendants, respectively.

The lawyer also prayed the court to terminate Nigeria’s membership of the OIC, delist her from being a member and restrain the government from using public funds to fund her membership of the organisation.

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

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Omirhobo prayed the court to declare that the Federal Government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory shall not adopt any religion as state religion.

He also prayed the court 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.

“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.”

Omirhobo stated that Nigeria was a multi-ethnic and religious state inhabited by over 200 million people with diverse ethnic groups, languages and cultures.

He argued that apart from Islam and Christianity, there were other religions practised in Nigeria such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Daoism, Rastafarianism, Shinto, Skihism, Zoroastrianism, traditional African religions and many others.

No date has been assigned for the case.

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