- Governor Nasir el-Rufai has sent a bill to the Kaduna state House of Assembly to regulate religious preaching in the state
- The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, (PFN) has protested against the bill, describing it as anti-Christian
- The bill aims to protect the state from religious extremism and hate speech
Ever since the announcement of a proposed bill by the Kaduna state government to make illegal and regulate certain religious activities in the state, citizens across the nation have condemned the bill, with many describing it as obnoxious.
The bill, currently before the Kaduna state House of Assembly, has also drawn the anger of religious bodies and religious leaders within the state.
Barnabas Bala, the deputy governor of Kaduna state, said the bill aims to protect the state from religious extremism and hate speech.
According to him, the Kaduna state government is always committed to ensuring that religion can be practiced in a safe and secure climate.
Here are five you need to know about the bill, which is titled ‘A Bill For A Law To Substitute The Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law, 1984.’
READ ALSO: Kaduna govt explains reasons for preaching bill
1) The bill was first passed in 1984
The Kaduna state religious bill was first passed into law in 1984 and was then known as the “Kaduna State Regulation of Religious Preaching Edict No 7 of 1984.” It was however, amended in 1987.
To some extent, the law has remained irrelevant as it wasn’t enforced. The bill proposed by El-Rufai is seeking to repeal the 1984 law and replace it with an updated version.
It is important to note that Kaduna has been rocked by several religious crises, which have led to several deaths. The introduction of the bill in the 1980s was intended to stop the scourge of violence stemming from religion in the state.
2) The bill isn’t targeted at any group or religious body
Both the Islamic and Christian bodies in Kaduna state have protested against the bill, which has been described as unfair.
According to the bill: “The two major religions in the state shall be regulated by the following bodies:
(a) a committee of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam with equal representation of Izala and Darika religious groups in the case of Muslims, and
(b) A committee set up by the Christian Association of Nigeria, in the case of Christians
(c) An inter-faith Ministerial Committee to be appointed by the Governor.”
Not only does the bill make provision for equal representation, it states the same punishment for individuals who violate the law, regardless of religious affiliation.
3) Religious preachers in the state must be licenced before they can preach in the state:
All religious preachers, including visiting preachers, must obtain a licence before they can preach in the state. Furthermore, the licence must be renewed each year.
The proposed law reads: “The religious bodies established under Section 4 (a) & (b) of this Law shall issue licences approved by the Ministerial Committee
(i) The licence shall be issued for a period not exceeding one year.
(ii) A sponsored external preacher shall be issued a permit for the period of the event.”
READ ALSO: Churches warn against Kaduna religious bill
4) Playing of cassettes in public places was barred by the bill, while playing of inciting media messages was also prohibited in the state.
All cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers may be played in the following places only: inside one’s house, entrance porch (Zaure), church, mosque, and any other designated place of worship.
5) Any individual who violates the proposed bill shall be:
“Liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine of N200,000 or both and have his licence revoked.”