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5 things to know about the proposed Kaduna state Religious Preaching Bill

 

Since it was announced that the Kaduna State government, led by
Governor Nasir El-Rufai, had proposed an executive bill seeking to make
illegal and regulate certain religious activities in the state, citizens
across the country have condemned the bill, with many describing it as
anti-religious.
The bill, currently before the Kaduna state House of Assembly, has
also drawn the ire of religious bodies and religious leaders within the
state.
Here are somethings you need to know about the bill, which is titled
‘A Bill For A Law To Substitute The Kaduna State Religious Preaching
Law, 1984.’

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 crisis, which has led to the death of several individuals.
Such crises include: Kafanchan crisis in 1987, the 1988 religious
conflict at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Sharia riots in 2000, among
others.
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 raised alarm over 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 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 same punishment for individuals who violates the law -regardless
of religious affiliation.
3) Religious preachers in the state must be licence before they can preach in the state:
All religious preachers, including visiting preachers, in the state
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.”
4) Playing of cassette in public place 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:
(a) inside one’s house
(b) Inside entrance porch (Zaure)
(c) Inside the church
(d) Inside the mosque, and
(e) Any other designated place of worship
“Any cassette containing religious recording in which abusive
language is used against any person or religious organization or
religious leaders (past or present) is hereby prohibited in the state.”
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.”
Other offences mentioned by the proposed bill include:
“(a) preaches without a valid licence
“(b) Plays religious cassette or uses a for religious purposes after 8pm in a public place
“(c) Uses a loudspeaker for religious purposes other than inside a
mosque or a church and the surrounding areas outside the stipulated
prayer times
“(d) Uses a loudspeaker in vehicles plying the streets with religious recording
“(e) Abuses religious books
“(f) Incites disturbance of the public peace
“(g) Abuses or uses any derogatory term in describing any religion
or, (h) Carries weapons of any description whether concealed or not in
places of worship or to any other place with a view to causing religious
disturbance shall be guilty of an offence.”

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