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Published On: Thu, May 15th, 2014

C’ttee on religion recommends commission to tackle religious discrimination, harassment

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By Hassan Haruna Ginsau

The committee on religion at the National conference has proposed a religious equity commission as its main recommendation as it concluded its committee work yesterday.

The committee proposed that the commission be set up to look into issues of religion, religious discrimination, and religious harassment where religious minorities are denied access to their rights, or their rights are violated or infringed upon as provided to them in the constitution.

Speaking to fellow committee members after the committee’s final session, all of which were conducted behind closed doors, the co-chairman of the committee, Nurudeen Lemu who is representing the Supreme council of Islamic affairs said not everybody was satisfied, but they had to compromise for the greater good of the country.

Hajiya Shattu Alfa, one of the few delegates willing to talk to press expressed happiness that the committee was able to reach an agreement. She said the commission which they recommended is supposed to look into issues like that of religious minorities who had had their rights infringed upon, and to see that the commission enforces the rights of such individuals.

If the commission is approved, its composition will be from the various religious bodies in the country.

She noted that “there is no way we can’t have problems but Thank God most of us came here with open minds, putting Nigeria first. We’re doing this for our children and for a better Nigeria. We all came here with open hearts to see where people have problems or are been marginalised which was the essence of the dialogue.

“Everything was put on the table, we had our ups and downs but Thank God at the end we were able to come to an agreement. The time wasn’t enough but we were able to manage the little time that we had even though our agenda was not really much, it was tasking.

The committee’s sessions were conducted behind closed doors due to the sensitive nature of the issues at hand. It has also seen its share of controversy. As it may be recalled that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) accused the chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi of religious bias, criticising the chairman’s choice of composition of the committee, arguing that he should have made a member of the association co-chairman

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