A coalition of religious organisations in Nigeria has recommended the setting up of religious equity commission to manage issues affecting religion in Nigeria.
The group made the demand after a conference on religious freedom organised in Lagos to commemorate this year’s international day to observe the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, Belief, or Faith, declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The event was jointly organised by the National Christian Elders Forum, Christian Socialist Movement of Nigeria, Voice of Christian Martyrs and International Christian Foundation for Democracy (United States).
Others were lecturers from the Obafemi Awolowo University representing traditional religion practitioners and the Chief Imam of the Yoruba in Ilorin, Kwara State, Sheikh Abdulraheem Aduanigba.
Speakers at the programme, according to the communiqué signed by the Secretary of the coalition, Bosun Emmanuel, condemned the arrest of the Publisher ofSahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and expressed concern over “the dangerous drift of Nigeria to a totalitarian state”.
The coalition demanded the release of Leah Sharibu, who is being held by Boko Haram.
Emmanuel said, “The conference recommended the setting up of Religious Equity Commission to manage issues that affect religion in the country. It was noted that this recommendation is part of the report of the 2014 national conference.
“We call on the government to cease persecution of Nigerians on the basis of religion. The secularity of Nigeria was re-emphasised and government was admonished to stop violating Section 10 of the constitution which states that the government of the federation or of a state shall not adopt any religion as state religion.
“Further to the above, the conference condemned the dual conflicting ideologies in the 1999 Constitution. In view of the foregoing, the conference on religious freedom advocated a new constitution for Nigeria.”
According to the communiqué, Aduanigba, represented by Alhaji Alowonle Mohammed, “protested that religion was being used as tool to enslave Yoruba people in Kwara State who constitute over 75 per cent of the population of the state and 85 per cent of the population in Ilorin.