By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos —Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, has condemned the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Bill recently signed into law by Governor Nasir el-Rufai, saying the manner in which the bill was hurriedly passed by the state Assembly and hastily signed into law by the governor despite a subsisting court order raises suspicion and called for questioning.
ECWA President, Rev. Stephen Baba, while speaking with journalists, yesterday, in Jos at the ECWA headquarters in Jos, maintained that the law was “ill-motivated, obnoxious and unnecessary because of its negative implications for the effective practice of the Christian faith and preaching of the gospel of salvation.
“It negates the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and in gross violation of the fundamental human right of Christians to practice their religion as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.”
“ECWA opposes the Kaduna State government idea of censorship of religious publications and issuing license to preachers, in the 1999 constitution (as amended), Section 38 subsections (1) and (3) guarantee the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion while Section 39 subsection (1) guarantees the right to freedom of expression and press.
“Evangelism, prayer, and fasting are important injunctions in the Christian faith. It is a well-known fact that evangelism is preponderantly an outdoor activity requiring the use of a public address system to communicate messages.
“Christians also have a biblical mandate to pray always, including all-night prayer. The law clearly portends danger and does not augur well for religious freedom, peace, and harmony; and must be rejected by all well-meaning Nigerians.”
He argued that the unnecessary ethno religious crises in Kaduna State, which had hampered the “development of the state cannot be curtailed by the law but by putting in place policies and actions that will ensure and deepen justice, fairness, and equity to all, religious tolerance, mutual respect, good governance and delivery of democracy dividends to the people irrespective of religion, ethnicity or political persuasions.”
He commanded the maturity so far exhibited by religious leaders in Kaduna state, not resorting to self help, but seeking legal redress on the matter and stressed that “the universal principle that says ‘there cannot be peace without justice’ should be taken seriously and upheld at all levels of governance in our country.”