The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the National Assembly to ensure the removal of sections of the constitution that are in conflict with the status of Nigeria as a truly secular state.
It also proposed the removal of the immunity clause from the constitution, saying that it will make every Nigerian equal before the law.
CAN also demanded the creation of new states to ensure administrative impartment and governmental dividends.
These positions and others were presented by the association at the National Assembly, Abuja, during a public hearing on constitution review.
CAN General Secretary, Mr. Joseph Daramola, told reporters that the National Assembly should remove all religious provisions in the constitution or insert provisions for ecclesiastical courts.
“We demand removal of any religion provisions or if need be, insert also constitutional provisions for ecclesiastical courts,” he said.
CAN also demanded devolution and decentralisation of power and governance system through the formal introduction of geo-political zones/regions with clearly assigned roles.
Daramola who was accompanied by the Director, Legal and Public Affairs of CAN, Mr. Comfort Chigbue, said other recommendations included “gender equality, women employment through education and inheritance, equal opportunities in all sociopolitical affairs, 18 years as the age of maturity and for consent for marriage.
“Federal structure and power devolution, a confederation of independent regions or federation of states or regions.
“Devolution and decentralisation of power and governance system through formal introduction of geopolitical zones /regions with clearly assigned roles.
“Constitutional recognition for traditional rulers and religious leaders by strengthening their cultural and social-religious leadership responsibilities.”
CAN sought constitutional backing for the decentralisation and recognition for law enforcement agencies, and to expunge sections 214 and 215 (4) in the 1999 Constitution.
Other proposals include: “redefinition of courts of superior jurisdiction to accommodate the purpose regional /zonal system with respective appellate structures; removal of religious provisions or if need be, insert also constitutional provisions for ecclesiastical courts.”
CAN said revenue allocation and sharing formula should be guided by the principles of sustenance and benefits to sources of derivation on the ratio of 70 per cent retained by regions and 30 per cent for the central level.
It added that the constitution should maintain the financial autonomy /independence of the judiciary, separation of the office of the Attorney-General from the office of the Minister of Justice; proper constitutional definition of indigene and residency rights.
“Creation of new states for administrative impartment and governmental dividends vis-a-vis – Southern Kaduna/Kataf/Gurara State, Adada State from present Enugu State, Cross River North State, Okun State, Okigwe State, Oke Ogun State etc.
“Amend Section 3 (2) and delete sections 3 (6) of 1999 Constitution to allow for the creation of local government areas of such autonomous administrative units to be created by the respective regions/confederating units.”
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja