– While trekking (tafarki) to Zaria from Kano or from anywhere for that matter, Shi’a shouldn’t block one lane of the highway, occupy public school buildings without prior permission…
By Rt Hon Sadiq Ibrahim Dasin
Many may not be aware that human rights are inalienable freedoms given to us by God.
Others may not even be aware that these rights given to us by God are protected and guaranteed by the constitution of various countries.
But the rights are not given to us by government or any individual. Governments all over the world are bound to protect the rights and therefore guarantee them under the constitution as fundamental human rights.
The Shi’a, like every Nigerian have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion including freedom to change their religion (S. 38).
It is their right to assemble freely (S. 40). They also have right to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part of the country (S. 41). The Shi’a have the right not to be discriminated against (S. 42)
From the foregoing, it is very clear that every Nigerian has the right to be a Muslim or a Christian or not to adhere to any religion at all.
And even where one decides to be a Christian, he or she has the right to either be a member of a Catholic, Protestant or of any of the Pentecostal churches.
Similarly, if a person is a Muslim, he has the right to belong to any of the two Islamic sects of Sunni or Shi’a. Even if one was of the Sunni sect, one could decide to be Tariqa either of Qadiriya or Tijjaniya or to any group such as Ahlus Sunna (i.e the Izala) group whether the one of Kaduna or of Jos. This is the letter and spirit of our constitution. Therefore in the hereafter, one gives account.
However, no right is ABSOLUTE. Rights are QUALIFIED. That’s why our constitution has also made it abundantly clear in section 45 (1) that –
“45. (1) Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society –
(a) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or
(b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”
Therefore, in doing their ‘tattaki’ or trekking to Zaria from Kano or from anywhere for that matter, the Shi’a have the right to undertake that trip. But the Shi’a must ensure that while going from Kano to Zaria they must not block one lane of the Kano-Zaria highway (meant for cars/lorries) causing hardship to motorists in their 7 days trek between the two cities, as a result of which they block township roads within Zaria city, Kano city and the city of Kaduna.
They must not undertake such long journey occupy public school buildings on their way, without permission, thereby hindering children from attending school.
What section 42 of the constitution seems to be saying is that a person’s right to stretch his arms must not end on another person’s nose. In other words, in exercising their rights therefore, the Shi’a must make sure that they do not trample another person’s rights.
Thus in trekking to Zaria, which is the right of the Shi’a to undertake, they must not block one section of the Highway to prevent other road users from the peaceable enjoyment of a pleasurable ride on the road.
It has always been my right as an individual to follow the right hand lane when going from Zaria to Kano and it has always been my right to follow the left hand lane of the road when going from Kano to Zaria. Nobody will have another right to superintend his right over this right of mine for a 7 days trek from Kano to Zaria, block one lane of the road falsely in the name of Islam, sleep in public schools by the road side and dirty school environment and expect that he would go free.