Church state relationship in nigeria nigerian

church state relationship in nigeria nigerian

Church and state— Nigeria— History. |. Islam and state— of Chris tian ity, Islam , indigenous religious beliefs, and the Nigerian state. A generous and .. With complicated relations between Christians and Muslims in the. Northern and. from the genius of the Nigerians, such as the Eternal Sacred. Order of Cherubim . close relationship of religion with the exercise of political power and the desire to . The interaction between Church and State has manifested various shades. Church and state relationship was not oblivion in the New Testament. The Nigerian Baptist: The Baptist church in Nigeria is registered with the cooperate.

There is unanimity among all oral traditions regarding the foundation of Yoruba social organization that Ife is the traditional home and centre of dispersal of the Yoruba people. In pre-colonial Yoruba land, the King Obaor in the case of Ife and Oyo specifically, the Ooni and Alaafin respectively, was the chief executive, in whom was reposed both religious and political authority. They were often credited with various kinds of supernatural powers, including that of clairvoyance.

Falola and others have aptly described this political complexity: In his spiritual capacity, the Alaafin was seen by his subjects as the companion of the gods. As far as temporal powers were concerned, he exercised political control over central administration; designated administrative officers reported to him as well as owed him allegiance in exercising powers over provincial matters. Religion was, therefore, a cornerstone of Yoruba politics. State—Religion Relations in Pre-Colonial Igbo Communities Politically and socially, the traditional Igbo society had no centralized form of government, 17 except in kingdoms such as those of the Nri, Arochukwu, Agbor, and Onitsha.

The elders at all the identified levels of government played a prominent role as the holders of authority, though they did not act alone. Whereas the people were highly religious, politics in Igboland was not completely dominated by religious bias, although religion played an important role in communal relations.

The Igbo are, and have always been, a profoundly religious people who believe in a supreme creator, known as Chukwu. According to oral traditions, Chukwu created the visible universe uwa 22 and everything in it, but dwells in the sky with a host of powerful divinities and primordial beings.

These gods or spirits are known as Alusi, alternatively known as Arusi or Arushi depending on dialect. The role of the diviners was to interpret the wishes of the Alusi, while the role of the priest was to placate them with sacrifices.

They were also in charge of oracles, whose declarations were final in certain disputes. Thus, in terms of the relationship between politics and religion, the Igbo society differed significantly from the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba societies, as religion and its personalities were merely accorded some privileges and respect in the decision-making process.

Though relevant to social organization in Igboland, religion was dominant at the family level due to the diversity in worship and subscription to diverse minor divinities.

There were three regions northern, eastern, and western and the Federal Capital Territory. The northern region particularly championed a policy of regionalism, which was essentially aimed at weakening the centre and strengthening the regions, the objective of which was to promote peculiar regional tendencies, particularly adherence to Islamic law.

In spite of the relative regional autonomy, the legal system was unified and cast in a constitutional framework which gave pre-eminence to the secular legal order, while subjecting all other laws to the unified control of the secular federal Supreme Court and, ultimately, the Crown. Accordingly, the judicial structure that was adopted during the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates in was retained with modification.

There was a Federal Supreme Court, which was presided over by a Chief Justice of the Federation, while each region then northern, eastern, and western regions had a high court presided over by a Chief Justice.

Appeals from each of the high courts of the regions went to the Federal Supreme Court, while appeals from Magistrate Courts, Customary or Native Courts Grade A went to the regional high courts. Although customary law was still applicable in secular courts, its legitimacy was contingent upon the validity test established by the Native Courts Proclamation of Similarly, although a Sharia Court of Appeal was established for the northern region, by Section of the Constitution, appeals from the Sharia Court of Appeal lay before the Federal Supreme Court—which was a secular court, established under Section of the Constitution.

Between The Church And The State - THISDAYLIVE

In terms of the sources of Nigerian law, the common law of England, the doctrines of equity, and the statutes of general application, applicable to Nigeria beforewere to be administered in the courts in so far as local circumstances permitted.

Thus three sources of law were applicable in Nigeria courts—English law, customary law, and sharia law—although sharia law was considered by the British as part of customary law. On the other hand, the contradictions inherent in the very nature of Islamic law and political theory 36 predictably generated serious resistance from northern Muslims, who saw secularity and secular institutions as atheistic and against the very foundation of Islam.

Although the conflict between Islamic legal and political values and the Western colonial principles was tolerated by the northern establishment under colonialism, these contradictions became relevant shortly after independence. The conflict between Islamic and secular law in northern Nigeria was in place before independence.

The colonial native courts in the region, which were in most cases presided over by Alkalis local judges who applied Islamic lawhad their decisions sometimes quashed on appeal to the regional high courts on the basis of repugnancy. Before the West Africa Court of Appeal, the conviction was quashed and the sentence set aside.

In the opinion of the court, whenever a native court tries any person for any offence defined in the Criminal Code, it is bound to follow the Code to the exclusion of Islamic law or native law and custom.

Similarly, in Maizabo v Sokoto Native Authority 41 it was held that though a native court had power to try a case under native law and custom—Islamic law then considered as native law, it could not impose a sentence higher than what the accused would have received had his case been tried under the provisions of the criminal code. Thus the British bequeathed to a unified Nigeria a seemingly secular system of government, albeit with deeply segmented religious cleavages, reflected in its institutional configuration.

Several factors underlie the resistance of northern Muslims to secularism after independence.

Can we have separation of church and state in Nigeria? - Religion -

As noted earlier, the British colonialists themselves sought to protect this political and legal order for reasons of imperial convenience, until it became obvious that an Islamic legal order would not serve the commercial interest of Western merchants, particularly after independence.

Unfortunately for Britain, its change of mind at the twilight of colonialism was too little too late, as the sudden introduction of Western secularism introduced a contradiction that would challenge the Islamic way of life and, therefore sow a seed of instability in the new state.

This is because Islam under sharia is conceived by Muslims as an amalgam of political, religious, social, and economic life of Muslims, and even more. An emergent secular regime that sought to separate religion from state affairs was therefore problematic to the northern oligarchs, who were accustomed to the fusion of political, economic, and spiritual roles under an Islamic regime.

As demonstrated below, this contradiction is clearly and consistently asserted by Nigerian Muslims in their quest for an Islamic political and legal order. Islam does not admit a narrow view of religion by restricting it within the limits of worship, specific rituals and spiritual beliefs.

In its precise meaning, Islam is not only a religion; it is also a way of life that regulates all the aspects of life on the scale of the individual and the nation. Islam is a social order, philosophy of life, a system of economic rules and government. A Christian for instance may be prepared, in the notion of giving to Caesar and God what respectively belong to them, to limit his right to religious freedom to matters of faith and worship only.

A person from the West may also be contented with the western compartmentalization of life into religious and temporal. This is because his spiritual and moral worth is tested against his daily interaction with others at the congregational prayers, in marital union, in the pursuit of his legitimate livelihood and in the holding of public responsibilities, amongst others.

How Nigerian churches became business centers - Don

Second, northern Muslims have had an obstinate adherence to the traditional philosophy of power and leadership that existed in pre-independence caliphate, a philosophy that associated governance with rulership in the traditional mould of the caliphatorial oligarchy.

Accordingly, the transition from an Anglo-Fulani colonial northern government to a modern democratic Nigeria based on egalitarianism came to the northern oligarchy as a rude shock. This political jolt was essentially based on a previous perception of power as an exclusive preserve of the emirs and the nobles, as well as the reality of a new nation that sought to create a distinction between political and religious authority.

Consequently, when the new class of northern oligarchs engaged in political activities, it did so within the limits of the concept of power in Hausa society, a concept guided by a hierarchically stratified society, with the emir at the top.

Given that the social organization of the caliphate recognized the fusion of political and religious authority, the post-colonial Hausa-Fulani political elite continued, albeit informally, to associate religion with politics in the new political order, thereby creating an unhealthy tradition of politicizing religion and instrumentalizing it for political mobilization. The word 'religion', which was first used in the 13th century, is Latin in its origin. From a sociologist perspective, the society creates religion as an instrument in moulding, controlling and directing societal thinking and behaviour Durkheim Durkheim's theory of religion further sees God as a personification of the society, where all the laws and commandments of God are demanded from all members of the society for societal self-preservation.

By this concept, a country ought to adopt a state religion to be in a position to demand good religious conduct from all members of her society. This latter view is the adopted meaning of religion in this paper. As Maykovich explains, interaction theory assumes interpretative approach where the individual interprets the situation and thus determines his or her behaviour accordingly.

Such behaviour does not appear to be a product of adherence to normative orientation to macro social structure functionalismhe argues. Secularism in the Constitution could have been borne out of previous experiences encountered for either non-inclusion, or viewed from the population's diversity in beliefs, culture and societal self-preservation.

church state relationship in nigeria nigerian

It could also have been included in the Constitution in fulfilment of human needs which generally arise out of the existence of concrete histories of each society, and to help colonial power subdue the people through religious conversion. Danbatta was alarmed by the inclusion of religion as a non-governmental affair.

Can we have separation of church and state in Nigeria?

However, as I grew up into adulthood the central government in practice changed its policy of non-interference in religious matters to that of regulating the number of people performing Islamic and Christian rites inside and outside Nigeria.

This check on religious freedom came out of trying to have political control of the citizens by using religion as a weapon; contrary to the constitutional provision of non-interference in the religious affairs of the people. In the southern parts of Nigeria, this situation changed the way that families and governments think.

They now also had to create institutions to control religious affairs, while the ruling class in the north of Nigeria had to be seriously subsumed into the mould of the Islamic faith as a way of protecting her Islamic and political interests Kukah In particular, they had and continue to have Arab money flowing into northern Nigeria.

This made it easy for the ruling class to set up Jamaatu Nasril Islam JNI for the propagation of Islam in northern Nigeria, and to embark on an aggressive conversion of non-Muslims to Islam. To counter such action, led to another reaction; this time from those within the Christian faith who formed the Northern Christian Association NCA to shield the Christians who were in the minority in the north from the impact of an Islamic conversion campaign.

The NCA also had the purpose to address grievances against the excesses of the state in using JNI to negotiate its way to retain political power and to propagate Islam. Kukahrightly observes that to the ruling classes 'some Muslims are more Muslims than others' and for survival generally some Christians may want to become Muslims or adopt the Hausa culture, thereby gaining access into certain social relations or have the ability to understand northern interests and know how to help build them.

With all these threats, the NCA was not automatically going to get the sympathy of the Christians in the south.

church state relationship in nigeria nigerian

So inthe NCA had to strengthen its position by changing its name to Christian Association of Nigeria CANcovering all Christians in Nigeria as a way of providing a platform for a national association capable of providing avenues for common interest, enlistment of strong bargaining power, generating more resources, and establishing a uniting bloc. The imposition of State religion first existed before the advent of the British colonialists, who invariably institutionalised religion practice in government business using chiefs and Emirs to achieve their political interests.

The chiefs and Emirs who stood as religious leaders, also operated as political leaders. Any disobedience from anybody outside the ruling classes was seen as economic, religious, and political threat. This is perhaps how the patterns of demographic distribution of Christian and Muslim populations became products of Christian missionaries and the Arabs Jihadists. The Jihadists were the first to colonise the respective regions that made up Nigeria.

When the British came, they capitalised on the same religious divide to rule the entire territory. Such colonial method of governance was called indirect rule in which, even though every religion comes with its symbols, belief, practices, institutions, policies and organisations, certain situations were bent to accommodate economic and political ambitions of the few Nigerians and British actors. Getting used to such modified practices, symbols and beliefs changed the orientation of individuals and families.

This had a huge impact on the individuals and their families. These two associations have over the years welded powers to protect and defend their members and reduce divisions within various groups. Consequently, the generality of the people started re-ordering their direction of cultural realm as well as fixing their social relations and securing their political spheres. The details of the religious intrigues of this era are outside of our scope.

This paper can only recap that the colonialists merely saw adherents to Christianity and Islamic religion as products of the processes of modernisation, social mobility and constant orientation which contributed to the achievement of their objectives. CAN and JNI as religious tools have grown into such strong associations over the years that they are able to defend their religions, which the Nigerian Constitution, Section 10 clearly guarantees through freedom of association.

The Constitution exemplifies the section as follows: For instance, the Holy Qur 'an affirms that religious worship should be left for the individual, since the right path is distinct from the wrong path. There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in 'Taghut' [false leaders and false deities] and believes in Allah, then, he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. Allah is the 'Wali' [Protector or Guardian] of those who believe.

He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their "Auliya"' [supporters and helpers] are 'Taghut' [false deities and false leaders], they bring them out from light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of Fire, and they will abide therein forever.

church state relationship in nigeria nigerian

Qur 'an, Surah 2, The Holy Bible also states: Let us not therefore judge one another anymore These two verses from the Holy Qur 'an and the Holy Bible tend to come out clearly that the principles of obeying 'onto you your religion and onto me my religion' can help to make the world a better place for the human race. Another example is the mode of dress that is similar across the religions. Hijab as a mode of dressing is influenced by a religious culture which provides symbolic interaction.

Muslim women and Christian Nuns wear Hijabs to symbolise their faith and religion practice. Symbolic interaction is a process where an individual tries to anticipate an opponent's move so as to adjust his own behaviour accordingly Mead The theory also contends that interactions among people are most likely to occur if all participants feel they are profiting from the relationship Schaefer and Lamm For instance, it can be rightly stated that the understanding and bonding amongst the CAN members in Nigeria have somehow assisted them to checkmate the JNI Islamic conversion campaign and the differences within their various denominations.

Freedom does not come cheap and it cannot be taken for granted. Maturity of any nation can be seen from the people's interest in learning the fundamentals of the Constitution, her democratic practice and her ability to convert such learning experiences into 'not merely agreements but Therefore, having registered their constitutions, the leaders of religious bodies are required to comply with the provisions therein.

That also means that they must be accountable and comply with the code of corporate governance. But the government has no power to interfere in the internal affairs and management of voluntary societies by limiting the terms of office of any of their leaders. That was where Obazee erred. In the larger context, Section 10 of the Constitution provides that the state shall not adopt any religion. But without regard for that provision, the Nigerian state has adopted Islam and Christianity as official religions.

Osun State has taken this farther by recognising traditional religions in all official programmes! We believe that the Nigerian state must keep its hands off religion while recognising the fundamental right of citizens to religion, conscience and thought.

church state relationship in nigeria nigerian

We must put an end to building of churches and mosques in government offices and quarters and payment of official imams and chaplains from public funds. We must also stop official sponsorship of pilgrimages to Mecca and Jerusalem.

Until we can make a complete break between the church and the state, we will continue to wallow in needless crises.