Religion Bill: Kad govt meeting with CAN, PFN ends inconclusive
By Godwin Ekosin, Kaduna
Meeting conveyed by state government on bill to substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law (first enacted in 1984, 1992 and 1996), Wednesday ended inconclusive.
The state government had invited leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Penticostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and that of Bureau of Religious Affairs, all Kaduna chapter, to discuss the bill with them ahead the public hearing at the state Assembly.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor, Arc. Barnabas Bala Bantex, who presided over the meeting debunked the widely claims that the bill is trying to stop people resident in the state from practicing their religion faith, saying the state government is only trying to amend the already existing law to check security and religion extremists.
“No plan, no agenda to stop people from worshiping, the essence is to bring adequate security to save lives and property of people living in the state. Some people have been reacting out of track.
“We have sent it to the state assembly and we believe that the legislators are expected to invite CAN, Jama’tu Nasril Islam (JNI) and other religion leaders to make input. By then, all grey areas that have generated controversies will have been thoroughly ironed out for the sake of peace in the state,” he clarified.
Meanwhile, briefing the newsmen in an interview shortly after the meeting, the Chairman of CAN in Kaduna, Bishop Jonathan Dodo, said the position of CAN is to study the bill thoroughly after which a memo will be sent to state assembly for public hearing, quickly clarified that the body is not maintaining any position apart from having time to study the bill.
He clarified that CAN is not against government activities.
According to him, “some of the grey area are still been studied and I may not be able to give you that detail for now. The study continues.
“I don’t think government has the power to enact laws that will supersede what is in the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The people do pray for them so how will they enact the law that will ban them from worshiping? he asked.”
Also speaking, Chairman, PFN, Kaduna State, Reverend (Prof) Femi Ehinmidu, expressed worry over some part of the bill.
He said the bill represents personal opinion of Governor El-Rufai, noting that government has not done enough to sensitize the people of the state on what the bill is all about.
He said the law has to be completely transformed to suit the body of Christ.
“The great commission is to go and preach the Word and we don’t know that a governor will be given us license to do that.”
It was however not clear why JNI was not jointly invited by the state government for the meeting as nobody from the Islamic body was present at the meeting.
Posted from GoBroadsheet