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Government & Politics

Why Kaduna Is Seeking To Regulate Preaching – Deputy Governor

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The Kaduna State government has explained why it sponsored the bill on religious preaching to protect the state from religious extremism and hate speech. Deputy Governor Barnabas, Yusuf Bala, yesterday told a delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that the bill was not aimed at clamping down on any religion but to ensure that religious violence no longer threatened the state. “There is nothing in the bill that suggests any effort to abolish, stop or derogate on the freedom of religion and religious beliefs. “It merely seeks to ensure that religious preaching and activities in the state are conducted in ways that do not threaten public order, public safety, and to protect the rights and freedom of other persons,” he said. Kaduna State CAN chairman, Bishop George Dodo, expressed appreciation for the meeting and assured the government that CAN was preparing its position for submission to the House of Assembly and the state executive. He told newsmen after the meeting that some of the grey areas were being sorted. The bill seeks a law to substitute the Kaduna State religious preaching law which directed that pastors and churches must be licenced to preach. The bill titled: “A bill for a law to substitute the Kaduna State religious preaching law, is also aimed at banning the usage of loudspeaker for religious purposes, other than inside a Mosques or Church and the surrounding areas outside the stipulated prayer times (8:00pm).” Government also wants the Assembly to enact the law that will stop the playing or circulating of “all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers other than inside one’s house, porch, Church, Mosques and other designated place of worship.” The bill, if passed into law, will prohibit sales of religious books, usage of abusive and derogatory terms in describing any religion. The bill proposes that any person found guilty of preaching without a valid licence and other offences under the law “shall be liable to two years in prison or pay a fine of N200, 000.”

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