A professor of Law at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN, Abdulmumini Oba, has recommended traditional methods of settling ethnic and inter-communal disputes instead of the criminal and civil litigation frameworks in Nigeria. He added that just as in the traditional system, community and sectional leaders should be made to take part in resolving inter-sectional disputes and conflicts.
Oba, who is of the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, urged both government and security agencies to be more professional in the handling of religious, ethnic and other communal crises to avoid escalating them in the country. He spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, while delivering the 189th inaugural lecture of the institution.
The lecture was entitled: “Live and let live: Rethinking the legal responses to religious, ethnic and legal pluralisms.” He canvassed the teaching of both Christian and Islamic Religious Knowledge in secondary schools in all the states of the federation.
He said: “For the sake of national unity and inclusiveness, every state in the federation should provide facilities and arrangements for the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge and Islamic Religious Knowledge in secondary schools even where adherents of one of those religions constitute a minority. “We should avoid the pitfall of the seculiarisation of the state in a manner that is hostile to religion. I will support a de jure official recognition of the special status of Islam and Christianity in Nigera without impugning on the freedom of religion of adherents of other religions.We should avoid religious animosity and prejudice. We should respect the religious rights of all persons,” he said.
Oba also recommended the inclusion of representatives of both Christianity and Islam in the membership of the National Judicial Council (NJC). He continued: “Lawyers and judges should be alive to the task of eliminating tensions in the administration of tripartite laws. We need professionalism and not politicisation in our approach to our country’s legal pluralism. “We should accept diversity and pluralism as a reality of existence.
Rather than pursuing an elusive unity conceptualised as uniformity of values, we should reclaim the idea of unity in diversity, which simply means that we should learn to live and let live. We need to rethink the ideological foundations of our idea of national unity, understand, tolerate and accommodate religions and ethnic groups different from ours. We should not politicise matters affecting our national cohesion. “We should enforce human rights that do not negate our religions and the desirable aspects of our culture,” he added.