A group, Yoruba Commitment Leaders (YCL), has called Islamic clerics in Ilorin, Kwara State to shun religious intolerance, saying that no religious adherents should stand in the way of others.
The group also called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to wade into the religious crisis that is rearing its head in Ilorin, Kwara State, in the interest of peace and constitutional order in the country.
The group was reacting to what it termed as “open denial of some Yoruba people of their inalienable right to practise their religion by some Islamic cleric in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The group’s reaction was contained in a statement jointly signed by Otunba Tayo Onayemi, Chief Mrs Buky Tunde Oshunrinde, Mrs Sola Maja, Omooba Sina Odunmorayo, Barr Femi Mokikan and Omooba Eri Dada and made available to newsmen in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
While saying that it expected those saddled with the constitutional responsibility of protecting the rights of all persons in the state to take unbiased actions against the perpetrators, it noted that no religious adherents should stand in the way of another, just because they do not belong to the same religion.
The statement read, “The orchestrated and open denial of some Yoruba people of their inalienable right to practise their religion in Kwara State, in whatever guise, is causing tension in all Yoruba speaking states”.
The group noted that rather than public officials in that state to speak on the side of the nation’s Constitution, which guarantees the right to freedom of religion and worship to every Nigerian, their statements and actions have been most divisive and troubling, saying that it views the statements and actions with grave worries.
It noted that their actions smack of a bias for a religion and against traditional religions of our people.
“The Constitution has declared that Nigeria is a secular state by which it means that there is no state or region in any part of the country and all levels of government are expected to take a neutral position on religious matters”.
“The recent pronouncements from officials of Kwara State and the Kwara State Police Command have made YCL to question whether Nigeria is indeed a secular state”.
“We have witnessed an upsurge in acts of religious intolerance in some Yoruba communities, sponsored by a religious sect, springing from Ilorin in recent weeks. To our chagrin, what we are witnessing is akin to a declaration of a religious war by some members of an Islamic sect against practitioners of traditional Yoruba religions and it amounts to an attempt at religious conquest, occupation and domination of the Yoruba.
“The audacious and confrontational attitude of some members of an Islamic sect, showing utter disregard for the constitutional provisions guaranteeing freedoms of association, movement, religion and worship should be of serious concern to all discerning minds that there is a trouble brewing which is seemingly backed by the authorities in Ilorin.
“We are happy that there are some Islamic Clerics in Ilorin who have recognised the development in Ilorin as nothing short of religious intolerance which must not be allowed in a decent society.
“Traditional religion adherents, Christians and Muslims should be free to practise their respective religion in Ilorin without any fear of being attacked.
“While urging Yoruba people in all parts of the world and all Nigerians in general to hold the Governor of Kwara State and the agencies of State responsible should their actions and utterances lead to a breakdown of law and order in Yorubaland, we call on His Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, to please swiftly wade into this matter in the interest of peace and constitutional order in Nigeria.