Christians To El-Rufai: Don't Cause Religious Crisis With Your Proposed Law

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The Guardian



The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) have rejected the bill passed by the Kaduna State House of Assembly to regulate religious activities in the state.

The bill seeks to ban any public religious activities in the state except a licence is given before any public religious event can be organized.

The controversial bill, which was passed on Friday, just before the State Assembly was dissolved, has been in the House since 2016 and was outrightly rejected by both Christians and Muslims in the state.

CAN urged Governor Nasir el-Rufai not to sign the bill stating that it has the potential to cause havoc in the state.

Joseph Hayab, Kaduna State Chairman of CAN said, “You don’t make laws with the intent of causing havoc, you make laws with the intent of helping people to unite. You don’t make laws and claiming that the purpose of the law is for peace but the law itself is used to cause a crisis.

“We are stakeholders in nation building, but when people choose to treat us as if we don’t understand what is happening, then we have to show them that we also have a right.”

Hayab also added that the bill would be tested in the court of law “because we are in a democracy, people should not just bring laws from the back door.”

Similarly, the PFN expressed displeasure at the assembly for disobeying a court order restraining it from passing the bill.

Sunny Akanni, counsel to PFN said, “We are surprised that despite the court order restraining the house from continuing with the hearing or anything on the controversial bill pending the determination of the matter, the lawmakers went ahead to pass it.

“We are going to serve forms 47 and 48 on the house for disobedience of a court order and if they don’t respond, we will charge the clerk and the speaker of the house for contempt of court.”

Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi Shagali, Speaker of the house of assembly, said a local government inter-faith committee shall consider and recommend to state Inter-faith Regulation Council all applications for the grant of licence to religious preachers as well as screen and recommend preachers for the grant of license among other functions.

He also said that any person who plays religious cassette or uses a loudspeaker for religious purposes between the hours of 11 pm to 4 am in a public place other than inside church or mosque shall be liable to pay a fine of less than N200,000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or both.

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