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Bill to Establish Christian Court Passes Second Reading in House of Reps

BellaNaija.com

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house-of-repsThe House of Representatives on Tuesday in Abuja passed the second reading, a bill to provide for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal in the country.

The bill is sponsored by Hon. Gyang Dung (PDP-Plateau) and eight others.

Presenting the bill during plenary, Dung said that the Ecclesiastical courts when established would complement the regular courts in adjudicating in matters relating to the tenets of the Christian faith.

According to him, this shall be between individuals and groups that yield and submit to its jurisdiction.

Dung explained that the Ecclesiastical court shall exercise such appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of Ecclesiastical law and Christian personal law.

The lawmaker said that the amendment bill was seeking 14 alterations in sections 6, 84, 185, 240, 246, 247, 288, 289, 292 and 318 of the principal Act.

“It alters the second, third, sixth, and seventh schedule of the principal act. It has four insertions in Part 1G, section 270A-E, Part 2D, Section 285A-E and a citation,’’ Dung said.

According to him, the amendments will no doubt widen the scope of jurisprudence, adjudication and legal practice in our nation.

“It will bring to reality the administration of Ecclesiastical Christian tenets and law in adjudicating matters of personal Christian law and civil matters. These shall be prescribed in the rule of practice and procedure of the Ecclesiastical courts,’’ he added.

Dung emphasised that the amendment would activate section 37 (1) of the 1999 constitution which guaranteed the right of every citizen to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“It will also entails freedom to propagate one’s religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance,’’ Dung said.

He said that Cardinal who will serve as judges of the Ecclesiastical court shall be drawn from those learned in law.

They shall be required to administer justice in accordance with the Christian faith and the law of the nation.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara referred the bill to the Special ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 constitution.

41 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    December 6, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    So the law of the nation is not enough again? Have we even practiced the law of the Nation fully before trying to adopt this one?

    There is no conscience in this country… so called children of God have no true fear of God so whatever this is, expect it to be adulterated to fit the motives of whoever is overseeing it. Also, what exactly is its jurisdiction and how exactly will those boundaries be drawn? By the time Sharia sees this one and says oya we want to showcase ourself too and in this country where there is usually no clearly defined boundary etc… make we dey see.

    The only good thing is by the time the people pushing this thing have made the money they intend to from this ecclesiastical court, they’ll move on to the next one. So another idea to push for some money then let it hang somewhere.

    I’m sure wherever Fela is he’s truly just looking and laughing as he prophesied.

    • Prince Charming

      December 6, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      As a christian, I am expected to be elated at this development, but I am not. Personally, I don’t think christians need a christian court, but I’ll support its establishment because the country is becoming increasingly islamized. Muslims established Sharia court( I lost a couple of friends in the crisis that ensued). They started islamic banking and then, halal restaurants sprang up. Muslims are establishing one thing or another and this is giving the country an islamic feel. We need a counterbalance to that. There is a covert agenda to islamize Nigeria. One must be very stupid to think that it’s a conspiracy theory.

    • Darius

      December 6, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      @Prince Charming, I had to repost your comment because it made so much sense. God bless you.

    • Stephanie-feld

      December 8, 2016 at 9:39 am

      Darius alias Prince Charming — You ain’t deceiving anyone. Keep agreeing with yourself.

    • Darius

      December 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      As a christian, I am expected to be elated at this development, but I am not. Personally, I don’t think christians need a christian court, but I’ll support its establishment because the country is becoming increasingly islamized. Muslims established Sharia court( I lost a couple of friends in the crisis that ensued). They started islamic banking and then, halal restaurants sprang up. Muslims are establishing one thing or another and this is giving the country an islamic feel. We need a counterbalance to that. There is a covert agenda to islamize Nigeria. One must be very stupid to think that it’s a conspiracy theory.

    • God don catch you!

      December 6, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Prince charming = Darius

  2. EagleEye

    December 6, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    What the hell is the need to a christian church in a nation that is sooo tense and on the brink of breakup due to several religious tensions? Mind you I am a tongue talking, healing believing born again christian, so all you moronic religious bigots can take a seat and swallow your bile (comments). Thanks.
    Are our leaders so blind? What precedent do we have for this? Is this the Vatican? Its like the country is consciously and constantly setting up avenues for us to
    1) Not progress
    2) Continually flirt with break up
    3) Always create avenues for division
    So the laws of the land and our judiciary, and law makers, and courts…they arent enough? what the hell? All the unemployed law school graduates and qualified lawyers nko? You see the need to add to that ballooning statistic?
    Its quite disgusting that the leaders will leave the matters for which they were elected to, and tend to irrelevant and unnecessary matters.
    Children of law makers, speak to your parents. They will listen to you. speak to the spouse of the law maker in your home, they will listen to them. If you come on here and comment, and you think its okay to keep quiet, you are part of the problem.
    What is it? Are the cries and tears of Nigerians not enough to tug on the conscience of the nation? I dont even live in Nigeria but ya’ll that stay quiet and watch while your future is literally being destroyed; and your present sef… by your leaders, I feel sorry for you.

    • Lailatu

      December 6, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      If you are the Christian you claim to be then you will not be calling people who have a different view from you ‘moronic’. I totally agree with Darius & co, if Muslims are killing to have state funded shariah courts,then by all means let’s have Christian courts. After all there Christians pay taxes too. You guys opposing this bill need to come to the north and see how Islam is a state funded religion.

  3. Deb

    December 6, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    If you go to international gatherings, Nigeria is regarded as an islamic state. We have sharia courts governed by the tennets of Islam through quaran. Customary court by costmary beliefs so this is a welcome development. More Christan judges will be able to get to the supreme courts.

    • CovertNigerian

      December 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Which international gatherings are you referring to? Please substantiate that claim.

    • A Real Nigerian

      December 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      “If you go to international gatherings, Nigeria is regarded as an islamic state.”
      The way people fabricate false pieces of information in this comments section is becoming too much.

    • MumuRealNigerian

      December 7, 2016 at 8:48 am

      This real Nigerian na mumu pelzin. Is it the same Nigeria that is home to so many world wide pentecostal churches headquarters??? Stupid comment. I too sabi na im go end your career (if you even have one). You no longer like your comments several times because you have been exposed and you had say that you don’t do it at all. Ntooor jobless pelzin. Mtcheew

    • Sleeky

      December 6, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      Shallow comment. Please mention the gathering? Religion will continue to divide this country if we have people like you in power!

    • Darius

      December 6, 2016 at 5:27 pm

      Muslims would never openly criticize any decision taken on their behalf by their elites. They wanted sharia law so badly in 2001 that they killed just to have their way. When the government decided to build a film village in Kano, some muslim clerics kicked against it, and they had the unflinching support of other muslims. Why do we always criticize our leaders when they try to fight for our rights? Why are we so blind and stupid? Christians in this country are not united. Nigeria is a secular country country. Our constitution spells this out in very clear terms. Why is our country still a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (IOC). A body that is made up of muslim majority countries. When John Kerry came to Nigeria last year, he shunned the president of CAN, but paid a courtesy call to the Sultan of Sokoto. He also met other northern leaders. Nigerian christians were too educated to see any wrong in that visit. Check the CIA facts book. Muslims are said to make up about 60 percent of Nigeria’s population. That means the US considers Nigeria a muslim country. Other countries tow this line too. The problem with Nigerian christians is that we claim to be too educated and this clouds our sense of reasoning. How can you claim to be educated when you know so little about the happenings in your country. What’s all the fuss sef? Before a case is taken to a christian court, both parties must agree. No be by force!

    • Deb

      December 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Thanksso much Darius. Help me lecture sleep, covert Nigerian & real Nigeria. Give more ears to international law& research about Nigeria from other counties & u will realise that Nigeria is predominantly regarded as an Islamic state. Before you also criticise someone’s comments do your research.

    • A Real Nigerian

      December 6, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      “Check the CIA facts book. Muslims are said to make up about 60 percent of Nigeria’s population. That means the US considers Nigeria a muslim country.”
      Nowhere in the CIA World Factbook does it say 60%.
      Here you are, lying again. When will you finally abandon the chains of Ignorance and falsehood?
      You are always dropping lies and deliberately misinforming people to promote whatever silly, nonsensical ideas you hold on to.
      Grow up.

    • Darius

      December 6, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      @A Real Nigerian, the CIA publishes the World Factbook annually. Find the recent copy free and read it.

    • CovertNigerian

      December 6, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      @Deb – I didn’t criticize your comment, I simply challenged you to cite specific examples, something you’ve still failed to do. Vague generalizations are a lot easier to make than to justify. I am an extremely well informed person, so you don’t have to school me on “giving an ear” but if you insist, I’ll give you my ear and ask again, please substantiate your claim.

      @Darius – Slightly better job on being specific, but your numbers are slightly off. The CIA Factbook says 50% muslims, 40% Christians and 10% indigenous beliefs. Those numbers were not manufactured from thin air and I don’t think they justify Deb’s statement. Beyond that, I disagree with the premise of much of the rest of what you had to say but respectful disagreement has its value.

    • A Real Nigerian

      December 6, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      “the CIA publishes the World Factbook annually. Find the recent copy free and read it.”
      Thank you for the suggestion but I already have the 2016 epub copy and nowhere in it does it say Muslims make up 60% of the Nigerian population.

  4. Confuzzled

    December 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Where are my Amadioha worshipers? Where are my Ifa and Osun adherents? Come out now and demand your own legal system!! I forgot about the Baha’i, the Hari Krishna, the Agnostics, the “I’m spiritual but not religious”, the Eckists, and whatever else I missed. Why don’t we have a legislation backed court system for each one?

    • The Real Oma

      December 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      While i do not really see why we need a Christian court, i am taken aback at our vehemently you guys are opposing this idea. If i did not know better i would assume this is the first religious court to take root in the country. Where were you all and your opinions when an Islamic law was being established? When Nigeria was made a member of the OIC, when the Islamic bank that people kicked against was finally established.
      As Darius said, the problem with us Christians, not just in Nigeria, is that we feel we know too much. This country as we know it is gradually being islamized and we are helpless in the face of it. Not that a Christian court is the answer…

  5. bruno

    December 6, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    so we are going to start stoning adulterers and non virgins to death? nigeria is finished. I cant wait to get out from here and never return.

    I dont know why nigerians always believe more religion is the answer to the problems we are facing.

    christain leaders will now start accepting bribes if they are put in power to pass judgement on issues. smh

  6. Sleeky

    December 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    There are so many bills that they can legislate on. One of which is corruption. For God’s sake what is the essence of a Christian court? Will it put food on the table of an average Nigerian? These politicians will not stop using religion to divide us. They are just too shallow! By the way how much does a member of parliament earn in Nigeria? We still dont know. This is just distasteful , irritating and annoying!

    • Anon Today

      December 6, 2016 at 11:36 pm

      @Sleeky,
      If you’re a Muslim, I’m not shocked by your bias. If you’re a Christian, I’m not surprised either. Christians in Nigeria are always quick to brandish their ‘objective’ know-how and suicidal education while the extreme muslims quietly and strategically enslave them.
      If you know the number of times the words ‘Muslim’, ‘islam’ or ‘shariah’ were used in our Constitution vis-a-viz ‘Christian’, ‘christianity’ or ‘church’, you’ll weep for Christians in this country. The delegates at the last national confab deliberated and made resolutions on the subject but Buhari came to power and dumped everything in the waste bin.
      You want the lawmakers to legislate on corruption? Interesting. So my brother, what do you call corruption? Do you know how corrupt it is for a president to declare on international tv that the regions (predominantly Christians) that gave him 5% of their votes should not expect to be treated fairly or equally with others in his government? Do you know how corrupt it is for a president to appoint mainly people of his religion to nearly all key positions of his cabinet in a diverse, ‘secular’ country like Nigeria? I used the word ‘secular’ advisedly because in practical political terms it’s a farce, muslims rule and continually work to perpetuate their reign. Do you know how corrupt it is that all the service chiefs are muslims? That if they hold an important meeting (as they always do) with the president that nobody will speak for the Christians? That if the order was ‘go and clear everyone’ in reference to a Christian community that there may not be a voice to give a different advice? Do you know how corrupt and hypocritical it is to ban alcohol in the north on religious, Islamic grounds, allow it to be sold and taxed in the south, get the proceeds to the national revenue and subsequently allocate to all, both muslims and Christians?
      Besides, every issue doesn’t have to be burdened with the corruption narrative just because a visionless government wants to channel everyone’s attention to corruption. This issue affects our foundation, it touches on the essence of our existence as one people of a country. Boko Haram was not driven by corruption as we know it but by a desire to islamise Nigeria. They made it clear to all and commenced their onslaught by killing Christians. Apart from those that were forcefully converted to Islam, there are many Christians who stopped going to church because of the fear of Boko Haram. Many churches in the North ceased to exist. Chibok is (was) a Christian community.
      If you know what this bill symbolises you’ll ask whomever or whatever you worship to forgive you for describing the lawmakers as shallow. But you should be more penitent if you’re a Christian. If you know how the bill, if passed into law, will help your children (if you’re a Christian and Nigeria remains one), you’ll retract the comment you just made.
      You asked how it will put food on the table. Do you know how many people that are employed by the shariah courts littered all over Nigeria? Sharia court as an institution, without the judicial angle, is a standing lifeline. Did you bother to imagine how many Christians the proposed ecclesiastical courts will employ?
      ‘These politicians will not stop using religion to divide us’. What does that mean ma sef? You have to admit that sometimes these lawmakers act with the best of intentions. Every action they take does not necessarily have political undertone. My comment is getting long but I feel like I’ve not scratched the surface because there’s a lot to say. And there are details that will actually be divisive if I type them here; not the fact that a lawmaker introduced a bill for Christian courts in a so-called secular country that enshrined the establishment and workings of shariah courts and Islamic personal law in its constitution. This bill does not divide, it attempts to balance.
      I am for a secular society where laws do not emanate from religious books but Nigeria is an exception. The imbalance and injustice in Nigeria makes a nonsense of secularism. Yes, the ecclesiastical courts seem strange in modern civilisation. It will pass through many hurdles to be half as developed as the shariah courts in Nigeria. But , as some others noted above, it’s a step in the right direction in this country. I support it 100%.

    • Darius

      December 7, 2016 at 6:27 am

      @Anon Today, God bless you.

    • Anon Today

      December 6, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Corrupt undertone**

  7. LostInSpace

    December 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    How about passing a Bill for Obatala and Sango court…

  8. A

    December 6, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Nigeria has the Islamic courts in the north , that give rulings based on Islamic principles, we also have the customary courts, it is only just that we should have a Christian court.

  9. freeman

    December 6, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    This law must be established

  10. Moniker

    December 6, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    First things first… We as Christians are hard to please. We are never united. Too much education has cost us our unity. Most of us complain because we sit on our asses in the east, west and south not knowing how hard it is to be a Christian in the north. The honourable who is pushing for this is from the plateau, he knows what his people have suffered in the hands of these islamic-related people.
    Even if not every Muslim accepts, they don’t criticise moves that propagates their spread.
    If not because Nigeria is tilted towards Islam, would they have been any need for shariah in the first place? I’m not in support of religious courts but if you can do it for Islam, Christianity why not for sango, IFA, amadiaoha and co? The existing courts are more or less dead or in the pockets of the rich… While we are lions behind our keyboards, outside this social media, what have we done? Let the fatcows in the hallowed chamber act like they are working for once.

  11. a young Muslim Nigerian ppl

    December 6, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Please know your Nigerian History, it’s very important because it would help explain Alot that is happening Today, do not make the singular mistake of thinking the history of Nigeria started when the British began writing their own version. In the words of odumegwu ojukwu Whenever we look at Nigeria, everything bears a frightful dichotomy, the North /South, east /wesT, majority/minority, muslim/christian, military /politician, socialist/capitalist, urban/rural, traditional/modern. Nigeria today is like a very bad marriage where both parties just keep staying on for the children, we pray that our parents steering the ship of this nation guide it towards the right path. And hopefully we would learn to move on together as one people in unity and diversity. Let in our zeal and desire to satisfy diff parties today Not be the rooT of causE of greater destruction and Division tomorrow, hence everything should be done with great care and utmost respect for the soul of those who have paid the ultimate price to c that Nigeria stands as one, from the days of our founding fathers.. Thank you.

    • sista

      December 7, 2016 at 1:47 am

      See how you’re struggling to act solidarily. In short, you’ve said nothing.

  12. EE

    December 6, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    This bill will prove highly popular, unfortunately in Nigeria, things are tic for tac. Our politicians are simply responding to political incentives, I don’t much blame them, we the people are the problem.

  13. Loki

    December 6, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Hmmm, Christian court. How will it work exactly? Will I be put in jail for coveting my neighbour’s wife with the large bossom…or will I be flogged publicly for chilling with Sir Jack Daniel? Is there a universal idea of what constitutes the Christian faith? Cos my own faith says “All things are lawful; even though their expediency remains to be determined.” 1 Cor 6:12, so AYE on the knockers and Jack.
    I’m convinced that the cummulative IQ of the members of our National Assembly is a single digit. How about they pass a bill prohibiting imbeciles from holding public office?

    • EE

      December 7, 2016 at 12:29 am

      It doesn’t work that way, I’m guessing it’ll be like current customary courts, both parties have to agree to subject themselves to “Christian law”.

      And the traditional worshipers already have the customary courts.

    • Loki

      December 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

      Customary courts have nothing to do with traditional worship. What on earth do you think goes on there?

  14. nnenne

    December 7, 2016 at 12:07 am

    No religious courts! !!!
    Otherwise,
    Sharia court = Christian court= traditional court ( traditional worshippers).
    Now that’s fair! !!

  15. princess charming

    December 7, 2016 at 8:38 am

    Make sense!!! Better persin ?

  16. Peter.

    December 7, 2016 at 10:35 am

    BN, do you have something against Nigerians knowing the facts of their collective history? Do you have something against THE TRUTH? I’ve posted my comment severally since hours ago but you have not posted it. This is not the first, second, third, fourth, etc time. Even on occasions when I have sent you reminders that you haven’t posted my comments, you still refuse to post them. A commenter makes an enquiry asking for facts, for evidence, and the evidence and facts are being supplied, for the good and forward movement and enlightenment of all, and you attempt to suppress them? TRUTH can never be suppressed. As journalists you ought to know that. Trying to suppress truth is like sitting on a keg of lit dynamite to keep it from doing what is in its inevitable nature to do. The way you keep back comments has no discernible rhyme or reason. You rush to post all manner of comments filled with swear words, vulgar, obscene words and language, comments overflowing with extreme hate and negativity for Nigeria and Nigerians, lies against Nigeria, Nigerians, comments that make no sense whatsoever because the ‘English’ of the commenter is so fractured and twisted out of all recognition that comprehension of whatever thought is meant to be communicated is impossible but you persistently keep back comments that seek to speak truth, share facts that can help Nigeria and Nigeria, or even just share a personal opinion or worldview yet you share others.

    It would greatly help if, if you have some sort of guidelines (and to be honest, that doesn’t seem to be the case) that you publish them, then, at least, when you keep back comments, hopefully, one would be able to go back to your guidelines and cross-check and find where one erred, and, you would come across as properly professional and one would not be left wondering about your professional (and personal) integrity (and beliefs and values)? You are a Nigerian brand and I truly wish you all the best; if you are having some sort of technological glitch, or whatever area you may be experiencing a glitch/glitches in, I trust you will very immediately correct them and overcome them, God helping you.,

  17. 105FOCZYJ

    December 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    All of us against this bill and those of you who have lost faith, all of una be AWU GAMBIA Which mean Gambia goat.

  18. 105FOCZYJ

    December 7, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    i mean All of una against this bill and those of you who have lost faith, all of una be AWU GAMBIA Which mean Gambia goat.

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