“Governor Nasiru El-rufai is with his Kaduna State Religious Preaching Regulation Law effectively banning night vigil, Christmas Eve, Easter and New year eve celebration for Christians.”
Istifanus Daniel of the Coalition of Christians with Conscience (CCC), Kaduna, stated this in a press release on Monday.
In a statement signed by Daniel and the Secretary of the coalition, Paul Musa, the group said that the law, which is termed, The Kaduna State Religious Preaching Regulation Law, 2019, contains several areas that will directly affect the worship mode of Christians in Kaduna State.
A part of its provisions criminalizes any person who plays a religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious purposes between the hours of 11pm and 4am.
“This is very disturbing as it means that Christians cannot hold night vigils, celebrate Christmas, Easter and New Year’s Eve in the evenings which fall typically within those hours. The provision is also divisive as our Muslim brothers are allowed to say their prayers at 5am after the ban for Christians,” the group said.
It added that this law seeks to ‘accredit preachers’ and appoint regulators of faith means that it is the state government that will determine what is preached or not.
“Has the state purged itself of its own political woes as to move into the sphere of faith? Surely, we are not in a theocracy but a democracy. The state and faith must be well separated.
“It is surprising that politicians who use thugs and take over the streets with loudspeakers do not have laws that will regulate them yet think that worshippers are the people to be regulated.
The law 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 (KASUPDA) for the purpose of religious worship.
“In many states of northern Nigeria, Christians are not allowed to buy land and build churches, imagine how difficult it will be for Christians in Kaduna state to obtain permit to build churches if this law is passed,” the group insisted.
“We the CCC wish to draw the attention of the Kaduna State Government of the violation of our faith which this law will bring. We urge the Governor to reconsider its position and not pass this into law.”
Although the Kaduna House of Assembly passed the bill last week, Gov el-Rufai has yet to give his assent.
The National Daily gathered that the Speaker, Aminu Abdullahi Shagali, was trying to impress the governor (for re-election) by hastening the bill passage before the eighth state assembly expiration.
“As it stands, the document is yet to be prepared by the clerk, and therefore yet to be signed by the governor,” a source close to the assembly said.