By Ben Agande
Kaduna- The chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State, Rev. John Hayab has called on Christians in the state to offer special prayers in churches in order for God to touch the heart of the state governor, Nasir El Rufai to abandon the state religious bill awaiting his assent.
Addressing a meeting of CAN leaders from the 23 LGAs of the state, the CAN leader called on the governor to obey the court ruling which declared some aspects of the Bill as illegal and concentrate of addressing the security challenges in the state.
It will be recalled that the State government introduced a bill which sought to regulate the activities of religious bodies, promoting protests from some Christian and muslim groups.
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria in the state dragged the state government to the state High Court, challenging the legality of the Bill.
The State High Court last Week declared that the state had no rights to screen and issue licences to religious preachers in the state, while affirming that the government had the rights to regulate religious activities in the state.
But addressing a press conference Monday, the State CAN Chairman, Rev. John Hayab appealed to the governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to obey the Court ruling on the religious preaching bill.
According to him, CAN was ready to pursue the case to the Supreme Court in the unlikely event that the governor decided to go against the ruling of the court.
He called on Christians in the state to offer special prayers in their against the bill, noting that “if God can turn the hand of Pharaoh of Egypt, we believe that God can touch the heart of the governor.”
“Given the ominous purpose of the bill, we stand with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Kaduna State Chapter to legally pursue the matter to the apex court of the land.
“CAN wishes to advise the Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s administration that rather than dissipate valuable time and energy on a matter with a propensity to create further misunderstanding in the state, the government should focus its attention on the security challenges be devilling the state.
“So, CAN is calling on the government to retrace its steps and focus on people-oriented programmes and stop exploiting religious differences to further polarize the citizenry.
“Meanwhile, if the government refuses to listen to wise counsel to obey the court’s ruling on the bill to regulate religious preaching in the state, CAN will seek for alternative means to bring further to the observing eyes of the world the hostile approach of the government of the day in Kaduna State as opposed to the tenets of religious freedom and choice.
“For a start, CAN has called for special prayers in all churches for Sunday 30th June 2019 for divine intervention and for the leadership and people of Kaduna State and the country at large for God to grant leaders the wisdom to tackle the insecurity we are faced as a state and as a nation” he said.