June 8, 2019

Bill: Pastors, other preachers must have license to preach in Kaduna


Ben Agande, Kaduna

The Kaduna state House of Assembly has passed the bill on the regulation of religious activities in Kaduna State, in a move that is likely to stoke further controversy in the state.

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The   Bill seek to ban open public preaching attracted opposition from both Christian and Muslim groups in the state.

It’s passage few minutes before the assembly was dissolved has raised further suspicion that members of the State House of Assembly may have been arm twisted into passing the bill

The bill seeks   to regulate religious preaching in Kaduna State with a view to promoting religious harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst the residents of the state.

It   was brought to the House since 2016 and was vehemently opposed to by both Christians and Muslims

But presiding over the plenary on Friday,   the Speaker of the state house, Alhaji Aminu Abdullahi Shagali  said a state inter-faith Regulatory council has been established with a chairman to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Secretary to the state.

He added that two members representing the Christian and Muslim faith respectively are to be appointed by the Governor among others.

According to the Speaker, the bill further has it that the above mentioned council shall hear and determine appeals brought before it arising from the decision of the local government inter-faith Committee and also has power to issue regulations considered necessary to guide the state inter-faith council and local government inter-faith committee in the performance of their functions under the bill if signed into law.

He further mentioned that the bill when signed into law, stipulates that in each of the 23 local Government areas of the state, a committee to be known as the Local Government Inter-faith Committee has to be established

According to him, the 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.

The supplementary provision explained that all cassettes, compact disks (CDs), flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers may be played inside a private dwelling unit or vehicle, entrance porch (zaure), Church, Mosque and any other designated place of worship.

It further stated that any person who plays religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious purposes between the hours of 11pm to 4am in a public place, and uses a loudspeaker for religious purposes other than inside Church or Mosque commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or pay a fine of less than N200,000.00 or both.

The bill added that any person who publicly insults or seeks to incite contempt , by making false statements in such a manner as to be likely to lead to a breach of peace, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years a fine of not less than N100,000.00 or both.