The Sharî`a debate

The preparation for the Constitutive Assembly of 1979 was the occasion for the debate between Muslims and Christians over the place of Sharî`a. The majority of Muslim commentators and leaders demanded the establishment of Sharî`a in toto. This was the stand taken by the National Seminar on Islam and the Draft Constitution held at the beginning of August 1977, and the National Conference on Freedom of the Press and the Sharî`a held in Minna at the end of the same month. (1) Their demand for Sharî`a in toto as an inalienable religious right may have been a strategy to be sure of getting at least what was provided in the Draft Constitution, especially the Federal Sharî`a Court of Appeal. But they repeatedly said that Sharî`a in toto was their real goal, and anything else could only be a temporary compromise. They argued that a Muslim is subject to no other law than Sharî`a, while any other law (imported English law, based on pagan Roman law) is alien and has no binding force for a Muslim. Accordingly, at the Minna seminar Malam Ma'aji Shani suggested that Sharî`a should be made the law of the land, while others suggested that the Constitution should make Islam the state religion, with Sharî`a applied in toto to any citizen who believes in God and the Qur'ân. (2)

At the same time these Muslims said that Christians should not worry, because Sharî`a applies only to Muslims. They expected Christians to be ignorant of the status of non-Muslims according to the classical treatises on an Islamic state.

While Christians were pushing for a secular state, the word "secular", for Muslims, became synonymous with "godless". In an excellent article entitled "The right to freedom from discrimination", (3) Dr. Ahmed Beita Yusuf made the following points: The Constitution must recognize the existence of different social segments and guarantee equal treatment to them so as to assure their fundamental rights. Included in these rights are freedom of worship and freedom to provide religious education for the young, as stated in Section 31 of the Draft Constitution. Yet Section 35, subsections 4 and 5 contradict Section 31 and limit freedom of religious education. To cut off public funds for religious instruction now would be giving preferential treatment to secularism and atheism. Even in the U.S. the "wall between church and state" allows considerable indirect support to religion. Many cases point to the conclusion that, in contradiction to the secular stand of Section 17, the Nigerian government in one form or another does and must entangle itself with religious matters. In its proper business of guaranteeing its citizens freedom of worship, the government must provide support which in fact advances the teachings and observances of different religious groups. Dr. Yusuf does not show how equality to the different groups can be concretely assured, but his main argument points to the conclusion that, rather than being a secular state, Nigeria is a pluralistic confessional state, with two partly established religions and due provision for those who follow neither religion.

The next question was whether the provisions for Islamic interests in the Constitution are discriminatory. Two Muslims, Yusufu Bala Usman (4) and A.B. Ahmed (5) opposed establishing a Federal Sharî`a court of appeal on grounds that it would be giving a special preferential position to Islam, placing it above other religions in the country. Most Christian commentators argued the same way. A few moderate Muslims, such as the Etsu Nupe Umaru Sanda Ndayako, (6) argued to the contrary, saying that the Sharî`a courts do not place Islam in a privileged position. He added that Nigeria, as a secular state, should respect the needs of all groups and care should be taken that Muslims do not infringe on the rights of non-Muslims.

As a matter of fact, the proposed Federal Sharî`a Court of Appeal was struck out by the Constitutive Assembly. The Muslim minority staged a walk-out, but were persuaded to return under a compromise formula that the single Federal Court of Appeal would have a chamber to handle Islamic cases.

The debate continued in preparation for the next Constitutive Assembly of 1989. In a debate conducted by the New Nigerian in a campaign to introduce Sharî`a into Nigeria's law system, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the ten northern states issued its views in the New Nigerian on 16 January 1986. It first protested against the Sharî`a courts of the North, which "are religious courts sponsored and financed completely by each government of the ten northern states and the Federal Government out of public funds". These courts, moreover, control all matters relating to land, even when applicable to Christians. CAN then notes that mosques can be built freely anywhere, whereas every sort of harassment is put in the way of Christians building churches, and they are often attacked or torn down. To redress this discrimination, CAN demand: 1) that the Federal Government restore relations with Israel, 2) set up pilgrim welfare boards for Christians with an equal number for Christians and Muslims every year, 3) that church leaders who settle matters between and concerning Christians be paid monthly remunerations from public coffers, as applicable to the grand khadis, khadis and alkalis, 4) that Christians, like Muslims, be allowed to build churches at convenient places without hindrance, 5) that ecclesiastical courts be set up in the states of the Federation at government expense, 6) that both in our laws and political administration we be separated from the Muslims who consider it a violation of their religion for a Christian to exercise any political authority over any Muslim.

Confusing the issue by dragging in the question of relations with Israel, CAN left itself open to a strong rebuttal by the Islamic Education Trust of Minna: (7)

Israel has gone so far as to drive most of the indigenous Palestinian inhabitants out of their won land by force and terror. Millions now live and die as refugees, while those who stayed suffer the oppression and indignity of residents of occupied lands again because of a racialist concept. These Palestinians are both Muslims and Christians, but strangely enough, the latter get little sympathy from their fellow-Christians in Nigeria, who follow American pro-Israeli propaganda quite blindly.

Equally to the point the was the comment of the same group on CAN's demand for government sponsored ecclesiastical courts with salaries to bishops etc.:

There is nothing wrong with this suggestion if Christians would prefer it to the Common Law. However, in view of the numerous Christian sects, each worshipping in a separate church, Christians would need to make clear which Ecclesiastical law they would follow. Moreover, Ecclesiastical courts flourished in medieval Europe, and to the best of our knowledge Christian countries have long since abandoned them. Do Nigerian Christians really want them, or they just talk of having them because Muslims have courts?

The Constitutive Assembly of 1989 took the bold step of taking the government altogether out of the business of Sharî`a courts, leaving them as private Muslim religious courts. Because of extreme Muslim reaction, (8) the military government of President Babangida removed the Assembly's jurisdiction to handle the issue of Sharî`a, and decreed the maintenance of the status quo. After that the Sharî`a debate quieted down, only to give way to the debate about O.I.C.

The O.I.C. debate

The arrival of Nigeria's delegation in the presidential jet, after a 72 hour delay, sent the anxiously awaiting assembly of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) at Fez into a delirious enthusiasm. The hall shook with a roaring standing ovation when Nigeria was formally admitted to full membership the next day, 9 January 1986. (9) Before then Nigeria had only observer status.

Four months later talk began that Nigeria had pulled out. The whole episode seemed to end as it began, with a rumor, a foreign news report, and silence from the Nigerian government. As time went on, the government's ambiguity continued, and in 1992 the Nigerian public still does not know whether the country is still in OIC or not.

Before Nigeria joined the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) hardly a Nigerian had heard of it. Then it became another "right" for Muslims, like government institutionalization of Sharî`a. Reaction to the OIC has been largely confessional. Apart from the socialists mentioned below, I noted only one Muslim exception, Dr. Lateef Babatunde Hussain, who demanded immediate withdrawal and added: "How would posterity explain to the coming generation that 26 years after the country had attained independence from European imperialism, Nigeria slumped again into another domination of Arabian religious imperialism." (10)

The case against membership: Christian arguments

Nigerians were first made aware of the country's entry into the OIC by the protests of Archbishop Okogie of Lagos. A chorus of voices then joined him from every Christian denomination. Eventually, too, the Catholic Bishops' Conference issued a statement. Without quoting directly from any single Christian statement, I will summarize the central argument.

The Charter of the OIC, dated 4 March 1972, was carefully formulated to respect the U.N. Charter and fundamental human rights, so that it could be registered with the United Nations and accepted as an international legal document, as it was on 1 February 1974. The first objective of the OIC is "to promote Islamic solidarity among member states" (art. 2). This is the guiding aim of the other objectives, such as "to co-ordinate efforts for the safeguard of the Holy Places and support of the struggle of the people of Palestine, and help them to regain their rights and liberate their land" (n. 5) and "to strengthen the struggle of all Muslim peoples with a view to safeguarding their dignity, independence and national rights" (n. 6). Since Islam claims to be a comprehensive system embracing all aspects of life, the very designation of the organization as "Islamic" makes all its activities, however secular they may seem to outsiders, religious. This applies to economic aid, banking, struggling "to eliminate racial segregation, discrimination and to eradicate colonialism in all its forms" (art. 2,A,3) etc. All this is for the promotion of Islam.

The subsidiary organs of the OIC as of May 1984 show further the Islamic purpose of the organization (11) For instance, the Islamic Solidarity Fund, founded in 1974, is "to meet the needs of Islamic communities by providing emergency aid and the wherewithal to build mosques, Islamic centres, hospitals, schools and universities". It has established Islamic universities in Niger, Uganda and Malaysia. There is an Islamic States Broadcasting Organization, and an Islamic Court of Justice "to adjudicate in disputes between Muslim countries". In line with this purpose, there is an Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, founded in 1982.

The description of the OIC by its previous Secretary General, Habib Chatty of Tunisia, is more explicit: "The Organization seeks to propagate Islam and acquaint the rest of the world with Islam, its issues and aspirations". (12) He concludes by quoting from the Declaration issued by the Third Islamic Summit (1981):

Strict adherence to Islam and Islamic principles and values, as a way of life, constitutes the highest protection for Muslims against the dangers which confront them. Islam is the only path which can lead them to strength, dignity and prosperity and a better future. It is the pledge and guarantee of the authenticity of the Ummah, safeguarding it from the tyrannical onrush of materialism. It is the powerful stimulant for both leaders and peoples in the struggle to liberate their holy places and to regain their rightful place in this world, so that they may, in concert with other nations, strive for the establishment of equality, peace and prosperity for the whole of mankind. In this way we shall be true to the words of Almighty God: 'Ye are the best of peoples evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong and believing in God' (Q. 3:110).

Although its Charter professes that the OIC will not interfere in the domestic affairs of member states (art. 2,B,2), this Charter, nonetheless, has the binding force of a treaty, and its provisions are enforceable as law on all member countries, overriding even the Constitution in case of conflict. Moreover, by signing the Charter member countries commit themselves financially and politically to the aims and objectives of the OIC.

It is clear, then, that any country that joins the OIC, even though it may profess to be secular by its constitution, is actually committing itself directly to the advancement of Islam. If it is a pluralistic country, this is derogatory to the citizens who are members of other religious communities, since it is tantamount to making Islam the officially established religion of the state. This is the basic argument against membership in the OIC.

In addition to the central argument proffered above, Christian writers objected to the underhanded way that Nigeria was brought into the OIC. There was no public debate, as had just preceded about the proposed IMF loan, and not even open discussion among the chief men of the government. The Foreign Minister knew nothing of the matter, and its was he who should have represented the country at the Fez meeting, not the Minister of Mines and Power. Secrecy covered the matter right up to the arrival of the Nigerian representative at Fez. (13) Just as Nigeria as a whole, without being consulted, was told that it was now a member of the OIC, so the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) was told that it was now part of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Commodity Exchange, an organ of the OIC. The President of NACCIMA, John Akin-George, however, said that his association will not accept membership. (14)

On the Christian side, another important objection to membership in the OIC was raised by Professor Olajide Aluko, of the University of Ife: (15)

Although the Arab states are rich in oil revenues, most of their financial resources are invested in financial institutions and real estate n North America and Western Europe to yield heavy dividends and interest, and not in Africa. In a few Muslim countries in Africa where they have given some financial help, it goes for the promotion of Arabic language and Islam, such as the building of Islamic universities in Niger and uganda. Less than 1.05% of Arab aid has gone to Africa, not even to fellow African members of the Arab League such as Somalia and Sudan.

This statement provoked a strong protest from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Lagos (16), but the point was echoed by Elijah Mwangale, Kenya's foreign minister: "I made it abundantly clear that in spite of all this talk of Afro-Arab cooperation, little has in actual fact been achieved. There is little flow of Arab capital to Africa. I also stressed that Arabs should not seek to introduce religion as part of Afro-Arab cooperation." (17) These remarks were made at a time when the price of oil was plummeting, and the Arab states themselves were beginning to experience financial restriction. The strongest condemnation I have found of the OIC is by a Muslim, Musudul Alam Choudhury, who declares it a failure and castigates the wealthy Islamic countries for self-interest as opposed to taking any interest in other Islamic countries, and for short-sightedness by investing their money in off-shore banks of the Western world, making their own countries mere consumer societies without any real development. (18)

Muslim apologetic: The OIC is not primarily religious

The principle earliest Muslim defence of membership in the OIC is contained in the address of president Babangida on 3 February to the bi-religious panel set up to study the implications of membership. (19) His main point was that the OIC is only incidently religious, and primarily for the purpose of "economic, cultural, technical and diplomatic co-operation" along with the pursuit of peace and justice. Membership in the OIC is no different from membership in the U.N., the O.A.U. etc. "Its business is strictly international co-operation and the struggle for economic development and self-reliance". The second part of his address was to warn opponents of membership in the OIC not to make inflammatory statements.

The President's attempt to play down the religious side of the OIC and stress its secular advantages was attacked in a notable article by Joseph Obemeata: (20)

The President would seem to have deliberately emphasized only those things which would make Nigerians believe that the OIC is beneficial to them... He was silent on the central objectives of the OIC as contained in the Charter of the organization which are to promote Islamic solidarity, to safeguard the holy places and strengthen the dignity of Muslim people. All the objectives mentioned by the President are intended to facilitate the achievement of the central objectives of the organization. The President in his address did not tell members of the OIC panel that member countries of the OIC are expected to make a substantial financial contribution which is used largely to promote Islam.

Obemeata then refuted a secondary point of the President:

The claim that Nigeria joined the OIC in the same way as it joined the United Nations Organization and its various agencies, the Commonwealth, the Organization of African Unity, OPEC and the World Olympic Committee was intended to mislead members of the panel into believing that the OIC is the same as these other organizations. The OIC, which is a purely religious movement, does not belong to the same class as the other organizations listed by the President in his address.

Regarding the President's veiled threat to Christians when he said that "those who take pleasure in reminding us of the tragedies of other countries where national issues have not been properly handled should also know that in any event they will not be allowed to take this country along those perilous paths", Obemeata replies: "The President in his speech did not make any reference to the many threats issued by self-styled Muslim leaders in many parts of the country, particularly Ibadan and Lagos."

Obemeata's final point is in reference to the well-known distinction between a "Muslim country", that is, one with a Muslim majority (although Babangida says "countries with Muslim populations no matter how small") and an "Islamic country", which has Sharî`a as its law. Of the upgrading from observer status to full membership in OIC, he says:

One of the implications of Nigeria's membership in the OIC is that Nigeria has become a recognized Muslim country. Another leader may emerge in the near future who will declare Nigeria an Islamic republic and in justification of his action may, like President Babangida, claim that he merely upgraded the status of Nigeria because Nigeria had been a Muslim country for many years by being a member of the OIC.

Muslim spokesmen, however, like to emphasize that membership in the OIC does not make Nigeria an Islamic country. For instance, Rilwanu Lukman, the Minister of Energy and Mines who led Nigeria's delegation to Fez, said "Joining the OIC does not make Nigeria an Islamic state, as it did not make other member states like Cameroon, Benin Republic, Sierra Leone, Gabon and a host of others." He added: "If there was any international Christian organization with the same objectives, aspirations and results as the OIC, Nigeria would not hesitate to join, if we believe it in our national interest to do so." Similarly, Z.T. Ayyuba says: (21)

No one knows Nigeria to be an Islamic state as many of the members of the OIC are well known to be... We are well aware of the fact that our Constitution has not been replaced with the Sharî`a law. Until Sharî`a law is attempted to be introduced we cannot conclude that Nigeria is on the path of Islamization... Not only Islamic states are members; those secular states like Sierra Leone and Senegal are also members. Only God knows how long they have been members of the organization but that did not make them Islamic states... Let me say categorically here that I am not advocating that Nigeria should be declared an Islamic state now, as I know that the time is yet to come. That might be when we are physically, mentally and spiritually ready to accommodate the idea and its shall be acceptable to even Christians and other non-Muslims willingly and without any hue and cry.

These and similar assurances did not put to rest the objections and concerns many Christians had. For example, Professor Aloko argued: (22)

It is nonsensical to say that the OIC's membership does not make Nigeria an Islamic state. First, the title of the organization made it clear that it was Islamic. Of the seven aims of the organization adopted in its Charter of 1972, three specifically dealt with Islamic matters... All the specialised committees of the OIC specifically contain the word "Islamic". I shall give some random examples: Islamic Commission for Economic, Cultural and social Affairs; International Commission for the Islamic Heritage; the Islamic Civil Aviation Council; Islamic Foundation for Science, Technology and Development, and the Research Centre for Islamic History, Arts and Culture etc. What can make a country more Islamic than this I don't know.

The debate hinges on the meaning of the term "Islamic state". Professor Aluko does not restrict the application of this term to a country where Sharî`a is the official law of the land. A country that commits itself politically and financially to the promotion of Islam at home and abroad, for him, is Islamic. Membership in the OIC, if it is taken seriously, is an implicit acceptance of Sharî`a, which may operate tacitly and be the guiding principle of government, even though the Constitution professes to have no established religion.

Muslim apologetic: OIC means parity with Christian privileges

The first argument, that the OIC is not primarily religious and is for the good of the nation as a whole, was unconvincing. Therefore, a second Muslim approach was to admit that membership in the OIC is to satisfy Muslim aspirations, but argue that this is only to keep even with what the Christians have. The prime example is Nigeria's diplomatic relations with the Vatican, which was said to be balanced by membership in the OIC; so argued Mahmud Abubakar Gummi, former Grand Qadi of the northern states (23) and A.F. Mash and R.A. Oyeka, respectively the president and secretary of the Nigeria Muslim Council. (24) In another article, Femi Abbas demanded "that Nigeria withdraw her diplomatic mission from the Vatican City where we have pumped millions of Naira since independence merely for religious reasons". (25)

This comparison fails to recognize the great difference between diplomatic relations and membership in an international organization. As argued in Tribune and Sketch editorials, (26) membership in an organization implies support and commitment to the aims of the organization, whereas diplomatic relations exist even between hostile countries, such as the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war. Diplomatic relations help to smooth necessary contacts and can lead to other forms of cooperation for the mutual benefit of the countries concerned. Yet Nigeria is not a "member" of the Vatican, and pays it no dues. The relationship is with the Vatican as an internationally recognized sovereign state, not with the Catholic Church. By having relations with the Vatican, Nigeria does not promote the Catholic Faith any more than it promotes Islam by its relations with Saudi Arabia, which is a similarly religiously orientated state.

The argument of parity was pushed to its logical conclusion by the Council of Ulama, National Headquarters, Zaria. (27) After a vicious diatribe against Christian leaders, accusing them of blind insincerity for not believing in Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah and of not understanding the Gospel when they try to separate religion and state etc., they go on to demand, if Nigeria pulls out of the OIC: 1) withdrawal of diplomatic relations with the Vatican, but allowing the OIC membership to stand for an equal number of years, 2) dropping the Gregorian calendar for 25 years while the Muslim calendar alone is used, and thereafter using them both, 3) replacing Saturday and Sunday rest with Thursday and Friday for 25 years; then Friday and Sunday would be work-free, 4) replacing the red cross in hospitals and clinics with the crescent for 25 years, thereafter using them both, 5) replacing the 1st of January with the Muslim new year as a holiday for 25 years, 6) changing army salutations from their Christian form, 7) changing academic gowns from the form of "Christian choirs", 8) changing robes of judges and lawyers which originated from "monks and Christian choirs". Along with this, the "Christian oriented" Common Law should be replaced with Sharî`a for 25 years, after which both should exist side by side, 9) no more laying of wreaths at the grave of an unknown soldier, which is a "purely Christian" custom, 10) changing vacation holidays from coinciding with Christmas and Easter holiday, 11) withdrawing the "one-sided granting of radio stations to Church organizations", 12) withdrawing landing rights to Christian air services (as in Jos) "for their international flights without passing through our international airports for security checks".

A syndrome of these and many similar complaints is the viewing of what is not Islamic in origin as Christian, or assuming that what may have originate from Christians is intrinsically Christian, for instance, "Common Law", army salutes, academic and judicial gowns, wreath-laying, the Gregorian calendar, and New Year's day. The latter has no recognition in the Catholic liturgical calendar and a feast of Mary takes its place. Some demands assume wrong facts, such as granting radio stations to Churches, when Christian radio stations have long been banned in Nigeria because of Muslim pressure, or landing rights for Christian international flights, when it is known that these air services are strictly internal.

The problem so many Muslim statements express is the use of the word "secular", and none of them differentiate between secularism as an anti-religious movement and secularity as government neutrality. The same Zaria document continues:

It is the view of the council of Ulama that there is an urgent need for the Federal Government to set up a Committee to find the origin of "secularism". It is important to know the origin of "secularism" in view of the misuse of it by many Nigerians to speak about the Nigerian Constitution. Though there is nowhere in the Constitution where the word "secularism" is mentioned by name, yet many Nigerians, especially Church leaders, form the habit of interpreting Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution to give it a secular colour and meaning. The Muslims are aware, of course, it is the doctrine of the Church that the State is separate from religion and it is from it the Church got its "secularism". The Church quotes Matthew 22:21 and John 18:36 to justify the conception of the doctrine of "secularism". It is therefore necessary to find out the origin of this "secularism". This will help in running the affairs of the Nation which has multi-ethnic and religious groupings. It is the view of the Muslims that no government worth its salt will ignore the religions of its peoples. If a government agrees to leave the religious affairs of its subjects out of its domains while knowing fully well that religion, especially the spiritual aspect of it, is potent in the lives of the peoples, such a government will certainly be neglecting its responsibility and such an action can lead to its loss of control of the people entirely... It is the view of the Muslims that the Federal and State governments must create an avenue of involving itself with the religions of its people without discrimination.

The same idea of "secular" is expressed by Ibrahim Dasuki (later the Sultan of Sokoto), (28) A.F. Mash and R.A. Oyekan, (29) and Femi Abbas. (30) The latter quoting Sheikh Adam Abdullah, secretary general of the League of Imams of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos States,

called on the Federal Government to define "secularity" within the context of the Nigerian Constitution in order to bail the people of this country out of unwarranted confusion generated by constant misinterpretation of the word. He said for about a century, Nigerians, irrespective of their religions, were forced to operate under a colonial imperialist law which was Christian oriented, but that since our independence twenty-five years ago we have chosen to continue to live in a fool's paradise over what secularity of Nigeria is, against what it ought to be. He said in a multi-religious country where only one group of religionists sees itself as the legitimate owner of all national rights, where the apparatuses of the nation are used in favour of that group to the detriment of others, and the general orientation of the people and the constitutional system of governing are patterned after the belief of that particular religion, the idea of secularity is a sham.

Sheikh Abdullah traced the history of secularity as a political notion to 1529 A.D. when Martin Luther of Germany led an ecclesiastical rebellion against the Roman Catholic church under the umbrella of "Reformation" in what later came to be known as Protestantism. He said the political trend which followed that occurrence in Europe later adopted secularity (which meant that neither Catholicism nor Protestantism would be favoured by the state) as a new political ideology. And this, he said, did not remove Christianity as the overt or covert state religion of the European countries.

Sheikh Abdullah seems to ignore the fact that established religion continued in Europe long after the Reformation; it was disestablished only from the French Revolution onwards. He and many Muslims also appear unaware of the real "wall of separation" between religion and state which then emerged in many countries, such as the United States; the term "secularism" itself was coined only around 1850 by Holyoake.

Intransigence: What we have will not give up

Another trend in the Muslim argument was to make no apologies about whether membership in the OIC creates an ascendency of Muslims over Christians, and simply consider it as a Muslim possession by right of occupation, which they will defend at all costs. Dr. Layi Ogunbambi, senior researcher at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and executive secretary of the Nigeria-Arab Association, said: (31)

If we refer to a legal document such as the Constitution as the basis for the opposition of our membership in the OIC, then we must place legality in proper perspective. The question then is, are we dealing with a government representation without any constitutional backing or are we dealing with a known governmental representation outside the framework of the suspended 1979 Constitution? I believe we are dealing with the latter and the issue of a constitutional guarantee for Nigeria's membership does not arise.

Reacting to this, Adebanjo Edema argued: (32)

Dr. Ogunbambi's stance is not surprising, as he is the executive secretary of the Nigerian-Arab Association... Dr. Ogunbambi needs to be reminded that President Babangida publicly declared his support for the 1979 Constitution as amended to exclude only the election of public officers and partisan politics.

The get-tough attitude of some Muslims is shown in the declaration of the Muslim Students Society, Ibadan branch, who said that "any attempt to withdraw Nigeria from the OIC would be met with the stiffest resistance and an acceptance of the challenge of Christians to a religious war". (33) Ibrahim Dasuki, then secretary general of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, called on Muslims throughout the country "to embark on a peaceful jihad to ensure that Christians and their leaders do not rape their right to association with the OIC". He said "it was imperative for all Muslims to resist the campaign by Christians calling on the Federal Government to withdraw from the OIC... All Muslims should therefore rise and demand our full rights not only to be entrenched in the Constitution but also to be respected". (34) The Council of Ulama issued their own "Dodan-Barracks-are ours" (35) threat at the end of their communique, saying:

Major-General Ibrahim B. Babangida is an executive president who enjoys the confidence of all the three councils of his Government in whatever action his Government might take in the interest of the nation. The Muslims at this juncture would like to warn the Church leaders that if, in their making such irresponsible statements of insinuation etc. they are banking on the overwhelming majority of Christians in the AFRC, the Council of Ministers and the Council of States to force the Federal Government to go back on its decision to upgrade Nigeria's membership of observer status to full membership status, then they have made a blunder of the first degree, as Christian members of these Councils are NOT Church missionaries who would be foolish to listen to such irresponsible distortion of facts without using their good conscience to be part and parcel of their Government in any action which it might have taken in the national interest. These blinded Church leaders should also remember that the members of these three Councils represent the Nation's interest as a whole and certainly not the interest of any group of the Nation.

In the same vein, Femi Abbas reacts to Christian protests against Nigeria's membership in the OIC: (36)

As for those Christian leaders, however, who thought the only sermon they could preach to their followers as a result of Nigeria's membership in the OIC was to go and fight war even though they knew nothing about that organisation, they have clearly shown the kind of leaders they are, the limit of their followership of Jesus and the extent of their love for this country. Posterity will take care of them.

Then, after giving conditions of a compromise based on the parities listed above, he warns:

The constant tolerance of the Muslims is not an act of cowardice. We are only being Islamically law-abiding and that has been the singular thing that has so far sustained the peace of this nation. If we are pushed to the wall, we shall have no alternative but to defend ourselves according to the tenets of our religion.

We also have the statement of Abubakar Umar, governor of Kaduna State, who said: (37)

I will not fold my arms and watch a few individuals manipulate sectional and religious sentiments to their selfish interest. Through the right orientation, we will convert these people towards positive contribution; where this fails, we will be left with no alternative but to engage in a jihad.

The term "jihad" in this context would seem to direct the warning exclusively at Christians.

The statements of these individuals were followed by action in the attack on the Palm Sunday procession in Ilorin, in which a church was burnt and property destroyed. Not long afterwards an arson in the Chapel of the Resurrection at the University of Ibadan caused serious damage to a famous Nigerian carving of the Resurrection.

On the other hand, there have been counter-threats by Christians, typified in the words of Fr. Onasanya of Ijebu-Ode: (38)

It is in this perspective that one asks those who have threatened stiff resistance to withdraw their threats. It will only lead to disaster. Of course in the event of their non-withdrawal and the eventual actualization of their threats, they should not expect the Christians to be hands akimbo. They too will stand against Nigeria's continued membership of OIC. Yes! with VERY STIFF RESISTANCE.
Secular reactions

A Sketch editorial of 27 January 1986 presents another Nigerian view of the whole questions:

President Babangida had a lot to say on religion when some Catholic bishops met with him in Lagos last Wednesday. He said, "Religion should be given the opportunity to assist in our development effort in all spheres since it is a potent weapon of social mobilization." The President said the government will continue to be involved with religion, adding: "We recognize the dominance of religion in every thought and action of every Nigerian." With due respect, we disagree with the President's assertions quoted above. Religion is not a weapon of social mobilization. On the contrary - and there are ample facts, ancient and contemporary, to support this - religion has been the undoing of many countries. Even in those countries where one religion is overwhelmingly dominant, all is not smooth sailing. The sects within that religion sometimes disagree violently... As for the assertion that religion dominates the every thought and action of every Nigerian, our reply is a well-known Nigerian who says he doesn't believe in the existence of a supreme being. We dare say there are thousands, if not millions, like him... It is our strongly held view that the state should have no business getting involved with religion. It is a personal thing, like choosing a conjugal partner.

In another article, a group of Muslims and non-Muslims known for their socialist leanings, joined to demand a government withdrawal from religious involvement. Abdullahi Mahdi, George Kwanashie, Yusuf Bala Usman, Eli Jiddere Bala, Musa Audu, Monday Mongvwat, Alkasum Abba and Wilberforce Hinjari surveyed the problem and then said: (39)

There is a world of difference between the fundamental moral and ethical principles of human equality, human dignity, democracy and social justice at the foundation of both Christianity and Islam and the way religious rhetoric, religious affiliation and religious symbolism are use to promote and protect the various systems of human oppression, human degradation and exploitation operating all over our country today... Since our experience has shown us that religion is one element which has been manipulated and is being manipulated today to undermine our unity, weaken and block our attempts at achieving our national independence, we have to establish as a major pillar of our foreign policy the principle that our country shall never join any international religious organisation as a nation-state...

The following actions and commitments should be made right now by the Federal Government: 1) the affirmation of the principle that a fundamental objective of Nigerian foreign policy is to promote the unity of Nigeria based on its African identity and destiny and in recognition of these and its history and role in the African continent and the world, she shall not join any international organization based on religious solidarity or have diplomatic relations with any international religious institution. 2) In keeping with this principle, the government should immediately and categorically terminate all diplomatic relations with any international religious organization, like the OIC, which have already been entered into or are in the process of being entered into. 3) [It should recognize that individual Nigerian citizens can in the exercise of their fundamental human rights of association belong to an organization which affiliates with international religious organisations and institutions, as long as this affiliation is not used to undermine the unity of the country.

The identity of these "international religious organizations" are indicated by an earlier reference to antagonism generated from "Nigeria's relationship with Israel, with the OIC and the Vatican".

A similar article by Dr. Kola Olagunju attacks census figures and says: (40)

There are more non-religious Nigerians than Christians and Muslims... These other two religions are foreign. Christianity, with all it stands for, came in the wake of the slave trade, when so-called missionaries with the Bible in one hand and the gun in the other conquered our people and imposed their religion on us... Islam, on the other hand, was born of and still thrives on violence. It is all about one man - Muhammad - an Arab with his grandiose delusions and fantasies. To the Muslim extremists, whoever is not a Muslim is an infidel to be liquidated at all cost... The most patriotic Nigerians today belong to another group... They just don't believe in any religion, be it Islam, Christianity, traditional religion or what have you.

He goes on to attack both Muslim and Christian demands, and urges Nigeria to stay out of both the OIC and relations with the Vatican, since:

I do not buy the idea that the Vatican is a sovereign state, and even if it is, our relationship with Italy already covers Rome and the Vatican... If the relationship is purely religious, then let's make a clean break with the Vatican now, and let Okogie and Ganaka [bishops of Lagos and Jos] worry about the Catholic relationship with the Pope.

Compromise proposals

H.O. Davies surveyed the problem arising from "this sudden and stealthy move to convert Nigeria into and Islamic state" and proposes withdrawal from the OIC on a national level: (41)

There is nothing to stop Muslims as groups from joining similar organizations on an international level. Just as the Christian Council of Nigeria can become a member of the World Council of Churches, so can the Ahmadiyya Movement or any Islamic association in Nigeria become members of similar associations outside Nigeria... The argument which seeks to justify OIC membership by referring to our embassy abroad [to the Vatican] is quite untenable. Wherever Nigerians frequent for business, commercial, educational, cultural or religious purposes, it is only reasonable to have diplomatic ties so as to ensure their protection.

Professor Jide Oshuntokun, of the University of Lagos, elaborates on the same argument: (42)

The decision to join the OIC was taken during the Buhari administration and consummated during the present Babangida regime. The decision was taken in the climate of fear under which Buhari ruled this country and he was bent on dragging this country down with himself. Even though there were admirable achievements of the Buhari administration, it seemed the man completely forgot that this country was a plural federal entity, to the extent that appointments were not only lopsidedly in favour of one section of the country. It was flagrantly so, and the decision to join the OIC by Buhari was taken to assert the supremacy of one part of the country over all others. The result, of course, was the strident call for confederation in many important quarters.

Unfortunately the consummation of the OIC application by Babangida has led and is leading to the same fissiparous tendencies in the country, and if this country breaks apart the policy of Buhari must be held responsible. In short, the debate on the OIC, the call for a thorough secular state, is in fact a political debate hidden behind a religious veneer. It is the old bogey of North-South dichotomy. This is why effort must be made to scotch this serpent before it becomes too dangerous and deadly to the continued existence of Nigeria.

The OIC is not an unreasonable organisation, if it can harbour within it even largely Christian countries like Togo, Benin, Gabon, even though Nigeria does not belong to this category of puny states. Certainly the organisation should be flexible enough to allow Nigeria to enter, if she must enter, on their own terms. The terms must be that the Islamic Umma community] is the entity joining the OIC and not the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No one can deny that Muslims have the right to commune with co-religionists anywhere and everywhere in the world... Nigeria can remain within the OIC and our representatives there would not be representing Nigeria but the Muslim Umma of Nigeria and therefore it would not matter who represents us as long as the representative is a Muslim. If there is need for us to be represented in the World Council of Churches or any other similar Christian organisation, the same understanding shall prevail.

Communal confrontation between Christians and Muslims (43)

Apart from violence among Muslims, as outlined in my first paper, there have been many violent confrontations between Christians and Muslims, always in the North. The riots preceding the civil war of 1967-1970 targeted churches. In subsequent years again and again churches have been vandalized or bulldozed without the news reaching even the newspapers. In recent years the situation has worsened and several major confrontations have hit the press. I will review some them here before examining the social background to all the tension.

In Kano in November 1982 the Muslim Students Society burned eight churches and a bookshop. Their main target was the new Anglican church in Fagge, for which Archbishop Runcie of Canterbury had laid the cornerstone in April. The building was merely replacing an older structure which had been there since 1932, but the Muslims had built a mosque near it in the late 1970s. The State government's solution to the problem was to order the removal of the church.

The next major clash came at Kafanchan on 6 March 1987. The Federation of Christian Students held a revival at the College of Education with a convert from Islam, Rev. Abubakar Bako, as guest speaker. The Muslim Students Society was prepared. As he quoted from the Qur'ân to explain why he believed in Jesus as his Saviour, a Muslim girl grabbed the microphone and fighting started. A riot followed in the town, in which the Muslims and their mosques suffered most. Immediately Zaria, Kaduna, Funtua and Katsina erupted and Muslims burned up to 158 churches, and many died.

On 6 March 1988, the anniversary of the Kafanchan riot, Muslim students at Kaduna Polytechnic destroyed the walls of the Christian chapel under construction on the compound. This was in spite of the fact that there were three mosques already on the Polytechnic compound.

Then at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Muslim students attacked the place where counting was taking place of votes for the student presidency. It seemed that a Christian was winning and this the Muslim students could not accept. A general fracas ensued on 13 June 1988 which lasted about 10 hours, and a few students were killed.

The situation was compounded by the attempted coup led by Major Gideon Orkar on 22 April 1990. He announced that five heavily Muslim states of the North would be expelled from the Nigerian Federation unless they renounced their Islamic fanaticism. The failure of the coup made Christians afraid of reprisals, but Muslim self-confidence was also shaken.

Early in June 1990 trouble began in the Girls Science Secondary School in Bauchi town when the Muslim girls fought with their Christian school mates on the pretext that the Christian girls would not let the Muslim girls practice their religion. It seems preachers had come in and stirred up the Muslim girls. The riot spread to 10 schools in Bauchi state and resulted in the deaths of five students, while hundreds were injured.

In the town of Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi state trouble broke out on 20 April 1991 between Fulani Muslims and Sayawa Christians or traditionalists over the latter's use of the abattoir in contravention to Islamic law. On the 21st Sayawa from the surrounding villages attacked the Muslims. Many were killed, and 1,483 houses, churches and mosques were reported to have been burned. The next day, when a truck full of bodies for the mortuary arrived in Bauchi town, the Muslims gathered and attacked Christians. Thirty-seven churches were burnt in the town alone, while a total of 80 were burnt throughout the state. When Muslims tried to storm the army barracks to attack the Christians taking refuge inside, 69 were killed by the soldiers. According to unofficial estimates, 2,000 were killed in the whole episode, most of them Muslim. Many thousands of Christians from other parts of the country were made refugees.

In October 1991 the Christian Association of Nigeria organized a revival led by the German evangelist Reinard Bonke. Announcements purporting to "claim Kano for Christ" were distributed even in Arabic in the Muslim quarters; this was not long after the government had refused Sheikh Ahmad Dedat a visa to come to Kano because it was feared he would stir up trouble. Recognizing Muslim resentment, the State government withdrew permission for CAN to use the Race Course; they then took over the Catholic St. Thomas school compound, in spite of the protests of the priest-principal to the government. On the 14th a large group of Muslims went to the emir's palace to complain. Getting only vague assurances from a spokesman for the emir, they went on to Sabon Gari, where the Christians lived, and began killing, looting and burning, including 13 churches. The next day the Christians, particularly the Igbos, organized their defense and retaliated, burning many Muslim businesses and mosques. According to unofficial estimates, 2,000 died and 12,000 took refuge in the Bukavu army barracks and 10,000 in the Bompai police station.

On 6 February 1992 at Zangon Kataf in southern Kaduna State, after a quarrel a quarrel developed between the local Kataf people and the Hausa Muslims who did not accept a change of the market site. Accounts differ as to who initiated hostilities, but in the end, while the majority of patients in the hospitals with gunshop wounds were Christians, the Hausa were for the most part burnt out of their houses. On the evening of the 17th in Kaduna Muslim mobs, directed by certain people in Mercedes Benz cars, began a round of revenge that continued the next two days. On Tuesday the riot spread to Zaria. Many churches were burned and four pastors killed, but the Christians more or less successfully defended themselves. The Muslims also suffered loss of lives and and property, including the headquarters of the Jama'atu Nasril Islam. (44)

The riots in Kaduna were quelled by police and army action, but subsequently there has been a rash of night attacks on the dwellings of Southern Zaria Christians and murders of the occupants.

The social background to Muslim-Christian tension

Social tension and confrontation between regions and tribes have for long been part of the Nigerian scene. What is new is religious confrontation. Many serious commentators are convinced that religion is just a cloak for economic and political grievances, since tribes long held down by Muslim rulers are now coming into their own and asserting their rights. But the Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Northern Zone, Peter Jatau, said that the root cause of the May 1992 riots in Kaduna state was not only ethnic, but political and religious; his reason is that the Church was clearly targeted when churches were burned and some pastors killed, and that the government called on religious, and not ethnic or tribal, leaders to appeal for calm. (45) Nevertheless, one cannot ignore some significant social factors underlying the Sharî`a and OIC debates and the violent confrontations in recent years.

One factor is that Northern Muslims have dominated national politics since Independence. This was true of the First and Second Republics. The army at first was preponderantly Christian; yet even under Gowon and Obasanjo Muslims (the Kaduna Mafia) had a strong voice. Since the assassination of Murtala Muhammad in 1975 the upper ranks of the army have been kept mostly Muslim. Christians well nigh universally perceive these rulers as promoting Islam and hindering Christianity.

Secondly, most Nigerian Muslim spokesmen and foreign commentators have claimed that Muslims are the majority in Nigeria, or at least more numerous than Christians. The 1963 census gave them 45%, although no party accepts the figures of this or any the following censuses. The 1991 census did not even ask about religion. A National Seminar on Islamic Law in 1977 claimed 75%. (46) Other claims went as high as 85% or 90%.

Yet in the Constitutive Assembly of 1979 Muslims were a minority. The same was true of the Constitutive Assembly of 1988-89 and of the first local elections of 1989 in preparation for the Third Republic. One could be confused by the conflicting claims of the war of statistics, but these political facts point to a fact that more and more are becoming convinced of: that Muslims are not the majority, and their political hegemony is in danger. This explains the panic of some Muslims and the tension in the country.

Another fact is the coming into their own of many northern tribes which had long been held down by Hausa-Fulani emirs. The local people in southern Kaduna State and Bauchi State have inherited an animosity to Muslims, dating from the days when they were "slave-fodder" for the emirs who had established themselves in their lands during the 19th century Fulani jihads. Now educated Christians, they have organized themselves politically to end their subjection to these rulers. The local people had gained control of the local government in Zangon Kataf. Agitation for "indigenous" control of the local government led to the Kafanchan and Bauchi riots. (47)

A further factor is the use of religion by politicians. (48) There is little popular desire among Muslims to live under the restrictions of strict Sharî`a. Yet they are inclined to support a politician who waves the flag of Sharî`a, because it is a symbol of Islam, and a politician who promotes Islam will be expected to give a generous share of the national cake to the Muslims.

The political manipulation of religion is made easier by the economic depression of the country, beginning with the fall in oil prices in the early 1980s. This has left masses of unemployed youth who are mobilized by extremist leaders (the Kaduna Mafia) to riot; some youth caught in the Kaduna riot of 1987 admitted being paid to join the riot.

Another factor is disunity among the Muslims, as explained in my first paper.

An update on opposing views

The turn-over from military to political rule has raised again the spectrum of religion in politics. In response to an appeal for Sharî`a courts in all the southern states made by a group led by Lateef Adegbite on NTA television, Archbishop Anthony Okogie, as president of CAN (the Christian Association of Nigeria), expressed the wish in a press conference on 27 October 1992 "that religious fanatics will not exert unwholesome influence."

He added: "Despite the advice of an overwhelming majority of Nigerians, including some top well-meaning Muslim leaders, the Federal Government has, as far as we know, not withdrawn Nigeria from the Organisation of Islamic Conference".

On Sharî`a law he said: "We are uncompromisingly convinced that since the Sharî`a is a purely sectional, religious law, it ought not to feature in our national constitution or be part of the legal system of any state in the federation." According to him, the removal of the word "personal" from the phrase "personal Islamic law" by Decree 26 of 1987 which amended the constitution, is a ploy to impose the Sharî`a law on all Nigerians. (49)

Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria the past four years have been dominated by the political situation. First there was the formation of political parties and the campaign for local, state and national positions. The religious dimension of the presidential campaign was interesting, highlighted by the TV debate between the two presidential and vice-presidential candidates days before the election. Both parties had Muslim candidates for the presidency: NRC had Tofa, a Hausa man from Kano, and SDP Abiola, a Yoruba man from Abeokuta (still in detention).

The religious issue was openly discussed in the vice-presidential debate. The NRC candidate, Sylvester Ogwu, an Igbo Christian. He argued that the NRC was "balanced", and that he as a Christian was there to look after Christian interests; so Christian voters could be at ease (there was a great deal of fear and anxiety) under an NRC government.

The SDP candidate, Kingibe, a Muslim from Borno State, declared that he was not running as a Muslim or to defend Muslim interests, but as a Nigerian to defend the interests of all, Muslims and Christians. He went on to explain his convictions on religious freedom in very positive terms. The crowd of Christians who were watching the debate with me all cheered this man and were convinced that the NRC Christian candidate was just a stooge in the hands of his master.

The stage was set for a massive victory for Abiola and SDP. He won practically everywhere, including Kano, the home of his opponent. Then came the annulment. June 12th 1993, the date of the election, has haunted Nigeria ever since. The Muslim-Christian divide has been replaced by the divide between those who opposed the military dictatorship and those who would go along with it. Christians and others are particularly piqued by the fact that Kinigbe abandoned Abiola and accepted the job of Minister of Internal Affairs in the miliatry government.

In this situation nothing is heard of Muslim-Christian confrontation.

Another side of the story

What I have said thus far in this paper could give the impression that there is an ever increasing general tension between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. This is far from the case. Ordinary Muslim and Christians who have families, jobs or businesses live in peace with one another and are opposed to violent confrontation.

Another fact is that during the riots countless cases have been related of Muslims sheltering Christians and Christians sheltering Muslims against the rioters.

In some places positive cooperation between Muslims and Christians can be pointed out. For instance, in Ilorin, at the ordination of the new bishop, Ayo-Maria Atoyebi, O.P., on 17 May 1992, the out-going bishop, John Onaiyekan, boasted of the good relations that prevail between Christians and Muslims there; this should be made known to the world, he said. The Muslim governor of the State attended the ceremony and came up to felicitate the new bishop. In Yelwa, in Sokoto State, the emirs have long been personal friends of the parish priests. I could also refer to the publication of my translation of the Risâla of Ibn-abî-Zayd al-Qayrawânî by a Muslim organization, with a forward by Justice Sheikh Ahmed Lemu. (50)

The two symbols of Muslim-Christian polarity in Nigeria are Abubakar Gummi in Kaduna, who just died in London, and Archbishop Anthony Okojie of Lagos. It is significant that before he died Gummi made several appeals for religious peace. And, instead of protesting Government partiality in sending the Presidential jet to bring the body back to Nigeria, Archbishop Okojie issued an encomium praising the deceased Muslim leader.

Personal recommendations

Government pursuit of equity among tribal and religious groups is the first requisite to lessen the existing tension. But more is needed.

In going over all that has been written about Sharî`a and the OIC we see on every side ignorance about the facts or about the ideological or philosophical suppositions of the positions taken. Sharing of information is needed or, in other words, dialogue. Both Muslim and Christian speakers in this debate, moreover, seem unfamiliar with the considerable theological thought about this question in our generation and before; they would do well at least to study carefully the Vatican II Declaration on Religious Liberty, which summarized the chief ideas and distinctions which must be made regarding relations between religion and state.

Religious leaders, moreover, could be bolder in entering into dialogue with their counterparts. While they must protest violations of their own rights, they should as far as possible try not to alarm the other side. They should also speak for the clear rights of others when these are violated, in order to demonstrate concern for the welfare of all.


1. Cf. New Nigerian, 7 April, 15 & 22 July, 2,3,5,6,30 August, 13 & 28 September 1977.

2. New Nigerian, 30 August 1977.

3. New Nigerian, 23 September 1977.

4. New Nigerian, 29 March 1977.

5. New Nigerian, 15 September 1977.

6. New Nigerian, 1 August 1977.

7. New Nigerian, 24 January 1986.

8. Cf. Musa Ali Ajetunmobi, "The place of Islamic Law in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1989", Hamdard Islamicus, 14:1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 67-82.

9. See the detailed description by Liad Tella and Femi Abbas in National Concord (henceforth "Concord"), 24 January 1986.

10. Nigerian Tribute (henceforth "Tribune"), 31 January 1986.

11. See "Focus: What is the Organisation of the Islamic Conference?", The Guardian (henceforth "Guardian"), 27 January 1986.

12. Tribune, 7 March 1986.

13. See Liad Tella and Femi Abbas, loc. cit.

14. Guardian, 16 March 1986.

15. Sunday Sketch, 9 February 1986.

16. Press release, 10 February 1986.

17. West Africa, 11 March 1986, p. 454.

18. Op. cit., pp. 6-8.

19. New Nigerian, 13 February 1986.

20. Independent, 23 February 1986.

21. Sunday Sketch, 9 February 1986.

22. Sunday Sketch, 9 February 1986.

23. New Nigerian, 26 January 1986.

24. Concord, 14 February 1986; the same in Guardian, 11 February 1986.

25. Concord, 21 March 1986.

26. "Pertinent questions", Tribune, 31 January 1986, and Sketch, 27 January 1986.

27. New Nigerian, 17 March 1986. A similar list of parities is given by Abdul Azeez Arisekola, the Aare Musulmi of Yorbaland, in Tribune, 1 February 1986. In the same issue is another one by the Muslim Students Society, while Femi Abbas has another in Concord, 21 March 1986.

28. New Nigerian, 17 March 1986.

29. Guardian, 11 February 1986.

30. Concord, 14 February 1986.

31. Guardian, 19 January 1986.

32. Tribune, 31 January 1986.

33. Tribune, 1 February 1986.

34. Tribune, 17 March 1986.

35. Dodan Barracks is the headquarters of the Nigerian army and the residence of President Babangida.

36. Concord, 21 March 1986.

37. Tribune, 25 March 1986.

38. Independent, 23 February 1986.

39. New Nigerian, 3 February, and Guardian, 14 February 1986.

40. Tribune, 7 March 1986.

41. Guardian, 12 February 1986.

42. Sunday Concord, 9 March 1986.

43. This section is based on a number of unpublished reports and oral information, as well as Nigerian newspapers and magazines.

44. Cf. Citizen, 25 May 1992, and oral information.

45. Independent (Ibadan Catholic newspaper), 31 May 1992.

46. The New Nigerian, 12 April 1977.

47. For a detailed study of Middle Belt feeling and relations with the Muslim emirs and government, see Dean S. Gilliland, African religion meets Islam. Religous change in Northern Nigeria (New York: University Press of America, 1986).

48. Cf. Yusufu Bala Usman, The manipulation of religon in Nigeria, 1977-1987 (Kaduna: Vanguard, 1987).

49. The Guardian, 28 October 1992.

50. The Risâla of Ibn-abî-Zayd al-Qayrawânî, an annotated translation (Minna: The Islamic Education Trust, 1992).