Saturday, June 8, 2019

Kaduna State government passes bill to regulate preaching in the state

Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State
The Kaduna State Assembly has passed the Religious Preaching Regulation bill into law. This law substitutes a similar law of 1984 in the state.

According to a report from The News Agency of Nigeria, the Executive Bill, brought to the Assembly in 2016, was passed hours before the eighth Assembly was dissolved on Friday.

The purpose of the bill is to regulate religious preaching in Kaduna State with a view of promoting religious harmony and peaceful co-existence amongst the residents of the state.

The bill provides for the establishment of an Interfaith Regulatory Council at the state level and committees at local government levels responsible for screening and issuing licence to preachers.
The councils will have two representatives each of Christian and Islamic bodies among other members.

According to the speaker, the new law mandates the council to hear and determine appeals to be brought before it arising from the decision of the local government interfaith committees.

The Council also has power to issue regulations considered necessary to guide the local government interfaith committees in the performance of their functions as provided under the bill, if signed into law.

“The bill when signed into law, stipulates that in each of the 23 local Government areas of the state, a committee to be known as the Local Government Interfaith Committee has to be established.

“The Local Government Interfaith Committee shall consider and recommend to state Interfaith Regulation Council all applications for the grant of licence to religious preachers as well as screen and recommend preachers for the grant of license among other functions.

“The supplementary provision provides that all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers may be played inside a private dwelling unit or vehicle, entrance porch (zaure), church, mosque and any other designated place of worship.

“It further stated that any person who plays religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious purposes between the hours of 11pm to 4am in a public place, and uses a loudspeaker for religious purposes other than inside church or mosque commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or pay a fine of not less than N200,000 or both.”

The bill added that any person who publicly insults or seeks to incite contempt any religion, by making false statements in such a manner as to be likely to lead to a breach of peace, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years a fine of not less than N100,000 or both.

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