Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai Tuesday told stakeholders that the preaching bill he sent to State Assembly has no intention of banning evangelism in the state but only to curb emerging religious extremism.
Speaking on the intention of government at a religious bill roundtable organised by a nongovernmental organisation, Carefronting Nigeria in Kaduna, Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s who was represented by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, posited that, security of lives and property formed the basis of government’s intention.
According to him, the government appreciates the reservations and contributions of religious leaders and other critical stakeholders who have made their genuine positions, adding that some people have started politicizing the good intention of government to restore peace in Kaduna.
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He said, in the bill Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI) if passed will have a framework where some strange ideological beliefs that are not in tandem with both faiths will be checked, stressing that the bill is not a law and everybody should make contribution.
The Governor equally pointed out that, just before the present government came on board there were Killings in Southern Kaduna and Birnin Gwari axis of the state but now under firm control.
“Government wants to curb extremism associated with religious beliefs and not to stop evangelism in the state or stop people from practicing their faith.
“Kaduna State Government means well for the people and wants to secure the lives and property of the residents of the state. There are emerging threats and we need to take drastic measures now. We should all support this bill,” El-Rufai stressed.
On his part, Carefronting Nigeria, Coordinator Maji Peters said, they were moved to call stakeholders for discussion because of the issues the bill has generated.
Peters said the roundtable forum tagged Kaduna State Religious preaching regulations Bill: Intention and perception was aimed at getting the views of the critical stakeholders and finding the way forward for peace and development of the state.
On his part, Director General Interfaith Mediation, Engineer Namadi Musa, noted that they have gone round the three Senatorial Zones in the state to sensitize the people, calling on the State House of Assembly to make use of the public hearing so that people can make inputs.
Among the stakeholders present at the preaching bill roundtable included, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ja’amatu Nasir Islam (JNI), Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and other religions and Non Governmental Organizations.