KADUNA STATE RELIGIOUS REGULATION BILL 2019, AN INFRINGEMENT ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM…..ATTENTION FOR AN IMPENDING DOOM
The Kaduna State House of Assembly on 7th June, 2019 passed the Religious Regulation Bill into law; though yet to be accented by the Governor of the state.
The bill was hurriedly passed hours before the dissolution of the eight assembly on Friday, 7th June, 2019, haven been with the Kaduna State Assembly for three years and had been opposed by #Christian and #Muslim bodies as well as individuals in the state. It is quite unfortunate that despite a Court order restraining the Assembly from further hearing and passing of the controversial bill pending the determination of the court, they still proceeded to pass the bill; a clear breach of court order. It is of essence to clarify that various clauses and provisions in this controversial and damnable bill contravenes freedom of worship, which is a fundamental human right, with direct impact on the mode of Christian worship in #Kaduna State.
(1) A section of the bill criminalizes any individual who plays a religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious reasons between the hours of 11pm and 4am. This absolutely targets the Christian community as it implies #Christians can no longer hold night vigils, especially large gatherings that must make use of loud speaker. It also signifies that Christians cannot effectively celebrate key events such as #Christmas, #Easter, New Year's Eve etc, which usually fall within those hours.
It is a known fact that Muslims hold their prayers by 5am and hence, not affected. Invariably, this leaves only Christians to bear the wrath of this wicked law. This is totally unacceptable.
(2) Another provision of the bill established an Interfaith Regulatory Council at the state level and committees at Local Government levels, responsible for screening and issuing licence to preachers. This is an interference of the state into the space of religious liberty and freedom of worship. How does it sound, that the activities of one religion is being assessed and determined by members of another religion, who definitely will be members of the board. There are various glaring challenges facing Kaduna state such as insecurity, job losses, poor economic policies, lack of primary health care, poor quality of education etc. The Governor and the State House of Assembly should channel their efforts in solving these critical problems than working hard to enact this religious infringement bill.
(3) The Bill also defines a designated place of worship as a building constructed with permission sought for and obtained from the Kaduna State Urban Development and Planning Agency for the purpose of religious worship. It has been established that Christians are not allowed to buy lands and build Churches in many parts of northern Nigeria. This bill if passed into law will surely make it difficult for Christians in Kaduna State to obtain permits to build #Churches. This bill has continuously attracted total condemnation from both Christians and Muslims both in the state and the nation at large.
The Governor Nasir El-Rufai is hereby called upon not to sign the bill into law as it has the potential to cause havoc in the state. We hereby call on the Vice President of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and the International Community to intervene, call the Governor to order and ensure the security of Christians in Kaduna State.