Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai yesterday told stakeholders that the Preaching Bill he sent to the House of Assembly was not to ban evangelism.
He said it was meant to curb religious extremism.
Speaking at a religious bill roundtable organised by a non-government organisation, Carefronting Nigeria, in Kaduna, El-Rufai, represented by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, said the government was concerned about the security of life and property.
He said the government appreciated the reservations and contributions of religious leaders and other stakeholders, who made their positions known, adding that some people had started politicising the good intention of the government to restore peace to Kaduna.
The governor said in the bill, if passed, the Christian Association ofNigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI) would have a framework to check strange ideological beliefs, stressing that the bill is not a law and everybody should make contributions.
He noted that before the government came on board, there were killings in Southern Kaduna and Birnin Gwari axis of the state, “but now the situation is under control.”
His words: “Government wants to curb extremism associated with religious beliefs. We are not stopping evangelism. We will not prevent people from practising their faith.
“Kaduna State government means well for the people and wants to secure the life and property of residents. There are emerging threats and we need to take measures. We should support this bill.”
Carefronting Nigeria Coordinator Maji Peters said they were moved to call stakeholders for discussion because of the controversies the bill had generated.
He said the forum, tagged: ‘Kaduna State Religious Preaching Regulation Bill: Intention and Perception’, was aimed at getting the views of stakeholders and charting a course for peace and development.
Director-General, Interfaith Mediation Namadi Musa said they had gone round the three senatorial zones to sensitise the people.
He urged the lawmakers to make use of the public hearing so that people can make input.
Among stakeholders at the forum were CAN, JNI, Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and other religious and non-government organisations.
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