The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on lawmakers in Southwestern Nigeria to replicate the Ogun bill that would allow traditional rulers to be installed or buried according to their faiths.
The group’s Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, in a statement issued in Lagos on Friday, said that lawmakers must rescue Yoruba kings from shackles of tyranny.
“The bill will allow them to be installed or buried after death, according to their faiths, instead of imposing traditional burial rites on Christian and Muslim rulers,’’ MURIC stated.
It noted that a bill on this matter was sponsored by Akeem Balogun, a member of the Ogun State House of Assembly, 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.
“Ogun lawmakers have belled the cat and lawmakers in other Yoruba states have no other choice than to take the cue,’’ Akintola said.
He said that kings in Yoruba land are suffering in silence, adding that the Christians among them prefer Christian rites during their installation and burial, 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 recognise the personal faith of whoever is made the king.
“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.”
He said such curfews made life difficult for people, adding that it was traditional impunity.
According to him, there is the need for lawmakers in Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti states to take the cue from Ogun lawmakers by replicating the bill.
“We, therefore, charge lawmakers in Yoruba land to stand up to be counted in the struggle to set Yoruba kings and their subjects free.’’
He said that Lagos as the centre of excellence and a cosmopolitan community could not 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 the 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 stat
es 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,’’ he stated.