Lawyer seeks repeal of Christian pilgrimage, Hajj commissions’ laws

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A lawyer, Malcom Omirhobo, has filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja, praying for an order to repeal the laws establishing the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission and the National Hajj Commission for being inconsistent with the constitutional status of Nigeria as a secular state.

In the suit filed on January 15, 2020, the plaintiff prayed for an order disbanding both bodies which are saddled with the statutory responsibilities of supervising, coordinating, licensing and regulating Christian and Islamic pilgrimages from Nigerians to the holy lands.

The Federal Government, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Assembly, the NCPC and NAHCON were sued as defendants in the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/37/2020.

Omirhobo, who said he is a tax-paying Nigerian and hails from Otor-Iwhreko, Ughelli, Ughelli North Local Area of Delta State, contended that Nigeria “is a multi-religious state” with citizens practising “several religions like Christianity, Islam, African tradition, Buddhism, Judaism, Eckist, Armocs, Grail message, Hinduism, Voodism and some atheists etc”.

The plaintiff, who indicated that he instituted the suit for himself and “on behalf of the Nigerian public”, said with the establishment of the two bodies, the Federal Government “has given preference to Christians and Moslems over and above other religions in Nigeria”.

He said the Federal Government “is committing and wasting Nigerians’ commonwealth for religious purposes through the establishment, running and sustenance” of the bodies, with “trillions of naira” already wasted on “religious matters” by the government since Independence.

Omirhobo added that he and members of the Nigerian public were “apprehensive that taxes paid by Nigerians are used for a religious purpose”, amid rising Nigeria’s debt profile with stiffer, tougher tax regime imposed on Nigerians “because of the need for funds to run the government of Nigeria”.

He sought an order “compelling the 3rd defendant (the AGF) to in line with the provisions of Sections 1(1)(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended), repeal the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim  Commission Act, 2007 and the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria Act, 2006 in their entirety for being inconsistent with the provisions of section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended)”.

He also sought “an order of court disbanding the 4th and 5th defendants (NCPC and NAHCON), as well as “a perpetual injunction of court restraining the 1st defendant (the Federal Government) from establishing, funding, sustaining, maintaining and running religious bodies in Nigeria”.

Source: Punch

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