98% in Nigerian State Reportedly Oppose Government´s Move

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GOMBE, Nigeria, DEC. 10, 2000 (
People in the state of Gombe overwhelmingly oppose its plan to impose Islamic law, a state-appointed panel says.

Mela Audu Nunghe, chairman of the Shariah Implementation Committee, said that more than 98% of the people surveyed were opposed to the introduction of Shariah, the Islamic legal code, because of its divisiveness.

Nunghe said the committee, which included both Muslims and Christians, took into consideration the need to maintain peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic and religious groups in the northern state, according to the Christian news agency Compass Direct.

«While most respondents recognize and accept the right of individuals and groups to practice and propagate their religion as provided for under Section 38 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, virtually all detest the use of state apparatus, machinery, resources and … discriminations to project the interest of Islam over that of other faiths, especially Christianity,» Nunghe said.

The introduction of Shariah led to recent violent clashes between Christians and Muslims and the destruction of property worth millions of dollars. Twenty-five people were killed in Bambam.

The violence apparently forced Governor Alhaji Abubakar Habiu Hashidu to set up the committee to further consider the implications of implementing Islamic law.

After receiving the committee´s report, Hashidu, a Muslim, said: «The almighty Allah will guide us to do the right thing.» He said his government would work to ensure that «nobody is cheated or discriminated against.»

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