The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on lawmakers in Yoruba States of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti to replicate the bill that will allow traditional rulers to be installed or buried after death according to their faiths instead of imposing traditional burial rites on Christian and Muslim rulers.
The call was made by MURIC, in a press statement circulated to the media on Friday, 17th July, 2020 by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola.
It will be recalled that a similar bill was sponsored in the Ogun State House of Assembly by Hon Akeem Balogun from Ogun Waterside State Constituency. The bill which is known as HB No 36/OG/2020- A Bill for a law to provide for the Preservation, Protection and Exercise by the traditional rulers of their fundamental Rights to be installed and buried according to their Religions or Beliefs and for other related matters has gone through the second reading.
According to MURIC, Yoruba lawmakers must rescue Yoruba kings and their subjects from the shackles of religious tyranny and the intolerance of traditionalists.
The group added that “Ogun State lawmakers have belled the cat and lawmakers in other Yoruba states have no other choice than to take the cue. Obas in Yorubaland are suffering in silence. The Christians among them prefer Christian rites during their installation and burial after their death. Ditto for the Muslim Obas.
“It is the height of religious intolerance to force traditional religion alone on Christian and Muslim Obas. It smirks of religious extremism on the part of traditionalists to refuse to recognize the personal faith of whoever is made the Oba. This cannot be allowed to continue in a sane society. It stands in contradistinction to the letter and spirit of democracy.
“In the same vein, the imposition of curfews by traditionalists constitutes tyranny, dictatorship, selfishness and lawlessness. Such curfews make life difficult for people. It is traditional impunity. There must be consequences if people take the law into their hands by imposing illegal curfew. But more often than not, they are allowed to have their way. This must stop. Our understanding is that the phrase ‘and for other related matters’ is intended to take care of excesses like this.
“We therefore charge lawmakers in Yorubaland to stand up to be counted in the struggle to set Yoruba Obas and their subjects free. In particular, Lagos as the center of excellence and a cosmopolitan community cannot afford to lag behind in the quest for the emancipation of Obas from the totalitarian dictatorship of traditionalists. We therefore invite members of the Lagos State House of Assembly to be the first to embrace the Ogun initiative by initiating a similar bill.
“Lagos and Ogun must go a step further by adding severe punishment for unilateral, illegal and unlawful imposition of curfews by traditional worshippers of Oro. Most of the expatriates in Nigeria are known to reside in the two states and they must not be given the impression that the state governments condone lawlessness.
“This is where the law enforcement agents and the judiciary must play its own role effectively. Security agents who allow traditionalists to scare them have no business enrolling in the forces. They are square pegs in round holes. The principle of equality before the law presupposes that there must be no sacred cows. Our security agents must buckle up to make the proposed law effective.”
MURIC debunked the idea that some religions are foreign.
It said: “There is nothing like a foreign religion. How can God be foreign in His land? It is traditionalists with their so called radical sympathisers and atheists who view Christianity and Islam as foreign religions. But it should be noted that the Supreme Creator can never be foreign anywhere on earth because He created the whole earth ab initio and human beings reach oiut to Him via different religions.
“Apart from the scriptures, these religions flow from human thoughts and thoughts should be as free as the wind. The human mind navigates both horizontally and vertically. Horizontally, he interfaces with homo sapiens like him and other creatures, the sea, the mountains and valleys, etc and wonders how they come about. Vertically, he ponders over the forces of heaven above.
“Therefore, if traditionalists prefer to interact horizontally with earthly objects which they can see physically, Christians and Muslims in Yorubaland should not be crucified for their choice of vertical telepathy with the unseen in their reasoning.
“As we draw the curtain, we call on lawmakers in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti to take the cue from Ogun State lawmakers by replicating the Ogun State bill on the right of traditional rulers to be installed and buried according to their faiths. Yoruba lawmakers should also tighten the noose around Oro worshippers and their collaborators who impose illegal curfews. We charge security agents to crack down on traditionalists who restrict people’s movement. Finally, we urge traditionalists to simmer down, to open up their closed environment and to let some air into the choking chamber of tradition. Their attempt to impose an endogamous practice in Yoruba palaces is most likely to result in chaos.”