“River State is not a Christian State!” – Islamic group to Wike

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Following Governor Nyesom Wike’s declaration at a Church crusade that Rivers State is a Christian State, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has argued in the opposite, calling on concerned Nigerians to call the Governor to order.

Speaking on Thursday, June 27, MURIC argued that Wike’s declaration was capable of inciting chaos “at a time when Nigeria is facing religious and ethnic crises”.

MURIC’s statement through its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, holds that it was not the first time the Governor was making such pronouncement.

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“We ignored him the first time because we did not want to dignify him with a response. But he has just exposed himself as an analogue governor with a triangular approach to all problems: religion, violence and impunity. Wike cannot think outside this triangular box” the statement reads.

“At a time when religious fanaticism is on the rise and the authorities are cautioning Nigerians to be moderate, a state governor is running loose with reckless statements like, ‘I repeat once again without apologies, Rivers is a Christian state. That is why nobody can touch us’.

“This is nothing but articulated demagoguery. It is audacious, preposterous and myopic. It is also a dangerous precedent. Nonetheless, Wike’s statement must also be seen as meaningless unless he can establish Canon law for his ‘Christian State’. That is the challenge we like to throw at Governor Wike. He should promulgate canon law without any hesitation, otherwise, all his boasts amount to nothing. They are empty”.

“Is Rivers the only state with Christian majority? Wike should learn from the moderate stance of the governors of Cross Rivers, Delta, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, etc on the issue of religion. Wike is perpetuating a culture of acrobatic religiousity. He is playing on the intelligence of the good people of Rivers State and lending credence to Karl Marx’s view of religion as opium of the people. He is brandishing state-sponsored religiousity to cover his gross ineptitude”.

“The spate of crime in Rivers State is an indictment on Wike. Cult-killing is on the rise. Kidnapping has become an obsession. Youth restiveness is everywhere in the state. But all these are by-products of mass unemployment. This is what Wike should face”.

“He should be thinking of empowering the youth. Where are the roads built by Wike? What is the state of Rivers’ schools? Are there drugs in the hospitals? What are the rates of infant and maternal mortality in Rivers State? Port Harcourt is one of the most expensive places to live in Nigeria. How can Wike bring relief to the residents? It is high time Wike focused on governance and stopped propagating motor-park doctrine, manifesting ‘agbero’ faculty and exhibiting ‘bolekaja’ mentality”.

“Where is Wike’s constitutional backing? Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly prohibits state religion. It says, ‘The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as a State Religion.’ Wike’s declaration is, therefore, ultra vires. It is null, void and of no consequence whatsoever”.

“It is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional for any governor to declare his state a Christian or an Islamic state. For the avoidance of doubt, a clear difference must be seen between Wike’s declaration and the introduction of Shariah in parts of the North. The state legislatures of states where Shariah was introduced followed due process. The governors did not just wake up one day and make arbitrary declarations”.

“Before we take a break, we remind Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that specialisation necessitates division of labour. He should, therefore, concentrate on governance which is the job for which he was elected and leave evangelization and fire-brand crusade to Christian clerics. Wike should improve the security situation in order to attract investors and tourists. We appeal to stakeholders in the Nigerian project to call Wike to order.”

Governor Wike declared River State a Christian State during a crusade organized by the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Church in Port Harcourt, days ago.