OrderPaperToday – The prospect of having a court to adjudicate on matters of Christian jurisprudence gained ground as the House of Representatives passed for second reading, a bill to provide for the establishment of the Ecclesiastical Court of Appeal in the country.
The bill sponsored by Mr. Gyang Dung (PDP, Plateau) and eight others, sailed through on Tuesday at plenary.
It is a constitutional amendment bill which Speaker Yakubu Dogara swiftly referred to the Special ad hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution.
In his lead debate, Mr. Dung argued that the Ecclesiastical courts when established would focus on matters relating to the tenets of the Christian faith and would serve as complement to the regular courts.
He stressed that submission to its jurisdiction of the court would be voluntary and that the proposed court shall exercise such appellate and supervisory jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving questions of Ecclesiastical law and Christian personal law.
According to him, the bill would widen the scope of jurisprudence, adjudication and legal practice in our nation.
He said: “It will bring to reality the administration of Ecclesiastical Christian tenets and law in adjudicating matters of personal Christian law and civil matters. These shall be prescribed in the rule of practice and procedure of the Ecclesiastical courts.’’
Dung noted that the bill would activate section 37 (1) of the 1999 constitution which guarantees the right of every citizen to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and “it will also entails freedom to propagate one’s religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”