Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Friday, asked Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, to approve a sum of N30m each to build a church and a shrine just as he approved the same amount to build a mosque for displaced Muslim herders.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, made this known in a statement titled, ‘HURIWA To Agric Minister: Build A Church And African Shrine Or Be Sued’.
Newsmen had earlier reported that Nanono came under fire on social media following a leaked memo conveying the approval of N30m for the construction of a ‘Friday’ mosque with taxpayers’ funds.
Following the outrage, the Kano-born minister through his ministry confirmed the leaked memo as being authentic and stressed that it built the mosque for livestock farmers.
Reacting, however, on Friday, HURIWA described the action as “provocative, sectional and unconstitutional”.
The group also rejected the explanation of the ministry, saying it was unacceptable to deploy public fund to promote private religious pursuit in a multi-religious country like Nigeria.
HURIWA said, “This provocative decision apart from being discriminatory and offensive to section 42 (1) of the Constitution is a gross breach of section 10 of the Constitution which prohibits the elevation of any religion as the State religion.
“Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution says: ‘The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion, of the Nigerian Constitution’.”
“We are by this public notice, demanding from the minister of Agriculture, that he approves about N30 million each into two places for the building of a Church to be used by displaced farmers in Benue State and a befitting Shrine for use by African traditionalists who are farmers in any part of Southern Nigeria deemed appropriate by the farmers.
“We are giving the minister a week to approve the funds to build a Church and a Shrine or we will mobilise Christian farmers and farmers who are African traditionalists to file a suit against this obviously unconstitutional and discriminatory policy,” the group added.