Leaders of all churches from the 23 local councils of Kaduna State, under the banner of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), have pledged their support with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in prosecuting the legal matters that may arise over any appeal against the judgment preventing the state government from implementing the religious bill.
The Christian leaders, who met yesterday at the CAN secretariat, advised the governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, to withdraw any attempt to appeal the judgment of the state High Court, which last week said the state government had no power to issue licences to religious clerics before embarking on preaching.
The court said doing so would be against the constitution and also infringe on the fundamental rights of the clerics.
The state CAN Chairman, Revd. Joseph Hayab, who urged the governor to pay more attention on how to put an end to the security challenges in the state instead of exacerbating religious tension through the implementation of religious bill, stated: “We wish to state that the judgment of the court is a welcome development and a huge relief to all peace-loving people in the state, both Christians and lovers of peace from other faiths.
“For the Christians, we suspect that the bill, in the first instance, could be an attempt to bully the different faiths we profess and illegally aimed at obstructing religious preaching, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ. Given the ominous purpose of the bill, we stand with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Kaduna State Chapter to legally pursue the matter to the apex court of the land.”
“We interpret the motive behind the bill as a gross violation of the rights of Christians and all people of faith to practice their faiths as enshrined in Nigeria’s constitution, which gives Nigerians the right to practice the religion of their choice.
“If the government refuses to listen to wise counsel to obey the court’s ruling on the bill to regulate religious preaching in the state, CAN will seek for alternative means to bring further to the observing eyes of the world the hostile approach of the government of the day in Kaduna State as opposed to the tenets of religious freedom and choice.”
Meanwhile, CAN has advised the state government to introduce an alternative bill that would promote peace in the state, saying: “We wish to advise the governor that rather than a bill to regulate preaching, the Kaduna State government will be best served by enacting laws to address hate-speeches and incitement, hate-crimes, noise pollution and the proper use of public spaces.
“We are equally calling on the governor, in the interest of justice and fair-play, to pay compensation to all victims of herdsmen attacks, kidnappers and armed robbers.
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