The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has said that it was illegal for President Muhammadu Buhari to attend the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit because it offends sections 10 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution.
The Nigerian leader travelled to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday to attend the summit.
“According to the OIC secretariat, the summit to be convened under the theme, ‘Makkah al-Mukarramah Summit: Hand in Hand toward the Future,’ seeks to develop a unified stance on events in the Islamic world,” Buhari’s media aide Garba Shehu said in a statement on Wednesday.
But HURIWA says Nigeria is a secular or at least a multi-religious nation and as such should not a member of OIC.
HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Co-ordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said, “We condemn the continuous patronage, attendance and participation of Nigeria in OIC when Nigeria is neither an Arab state nor is it a Muslim nation. Nigeria is made up of Muslims, Christians, Atheists and adherents of African traditional religions.”
According to HURIWA, whilst it may be the right thing for the organised body of Muslims in Nigeria like the Islamic Council of Nigeria to join such a religious body to protect the religious affairs of their members but at the same time abide by the Nigerian constitution, it remains illegal and unconstitutional for Nigeria as a secular and multi-religious geo-political entity to maintain such a membership relationship with a religious body.
“It is like Nigeria becoming a member of the Roman Curia in the Vatican City,” it said.
HURIWA said it is good enough that the country maintains diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia as well as all other Islamic nations but it is illegal to identify Nigeria as either an Arab nation or an Islamic nation.