The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State has kicked against the Religious Preaching Regulation Bill being proposed by the state government.
Chairman of CAN in Kaduna State, Reverend Joseph Hayab said that the proposed religious preaching regulation bill is designed to bully Christian faith.
He also commended the recent State High Court judgment which declared the issuance and licensing of religious leaders as unconstitutional. He then appealed to Governor Nasir El-Rufai to obey the judgment by not signing the bill.
“The judgment is a huge relieve to all peace-loving people in the state, both Christians and lovers of peace from other faith.
“For we the Christians suspect that the bill could have been an attempt to bully the different faith we profess and illegally aimed at obstructing religious preaching, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Hayab said on Monday while addressing a news conference in the state capital.
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Hayab stressed that CAN is behind the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) that dragged the state government to court over the matter, and is also ready to pursue the case even to the Supreme Court should the governor decides to go against the ruling of the state high court.
In a swift reaction, the state government through its spokesman, Samuel Arwuan maintained that the bill is not in any way designed to muzzle any religious group, but is aimed at creating religious harmony in the state.
The Kaduna Religious Regulation Bill which has been passed by the immediate past House of Assembly on June 8, is yet to be signed into law by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
PFN had in 2016 approached a Kaduna State high court to challenge the constitutionality of the proposed religious preaching regulation bill, describing it is an infringement on fundamental human right.
PFN among other prayers asked the court for a declaration that setting up a committee for the screening and licensing preachers, as provided in the bill, is a violation of their rights.
Three years after, the court presided over by Justice Hajaratu Gwadah in a ruling, last week, maintained that the state government has the rights to regulate religious activities in the state. She, however, ruled that screening and issuing licenses to religious preachers as unconstitutional.