According to report Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has again stirred up a lot of dust with a bill seeking to restrict all forms of religious preaching in the state.
The bill stipulates that anyone caught preaching without a licence is guilty of an offence, if you hold any Christian gathering even in a church and use loud speaker (microphone) after 8.00 p.m, you are guilty of an offence punishable with two years imprisonment.
If you listen to a message in your car, you are guilty of an offence punishable by two years imprisonment. If you hold a crusade or any programme or any other kind of programme and use a loudspeaker at the said programme as long as it is not a church, you are guilty of an offence punishable by two years imprisonment.
Furthermore, it criminalizes the abuse of religious books and makes it punishable by two years imprisonment. (however, the bill did not define what ‘abuse of religious books’ mean. It criminalizes the use of derogatory terms in describing any religion and makes it punishable by two years imprisonment. It does not define what ‘use of derogatory terms in describing any religion’ means).
That means every preacher will have to obtain one year license (renewable every year) or risk two years imprisonment. If you invite any external preacher (i.e. preacher from outside Kaduna State), such a person must be licensed for the duration of his/her stay and the body issuing the license has the right to reject the external preacher if it feels he is not qualified to preach in the state.
It also stipulates that use of religious CDs, flash drive and other communication gadgets is a criminal act except in churches, mosques or other places of worship or personal houses.
That means you cannot listen to Christian tapes in your car or at any place except your house and in a church.
This new law which has gone viral has attracted bashing from different people who are obviously not in support of it.
However, it was learnt that no criteria was given as to what will qualify one to have a license issued to him or for one to be denied a license.
Further report said, the bill is designed to replace the Religious Regulation Edict of 1984. It is geared towards regulating Christianity and Islam as it seeks to create an inter-faith Ministerial Committee to be appointed by the governor and exercise control over Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.
It was learnt that JNI and CAN are expected to keep records of churches and mosques including data of preachers.