From Noah Ebije Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has inaugurated an Interfaith Preaching Regulatory Council to guide the conduct of religious preaching in the northwestern state.
The governor, who decried the weaponisation of religion, argued that religious faith should be a trigger for violent conflict in Kaduna.
He noted that some religious adherents question the right of others to exist, let alone practice their faith or live wherever they wish.
Governor El-Rufai recalled that Air Vice Marshall Usman Muazu enacted the Religious Preaching Edict in 1984 to address this matter.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Interfaith Preaching Regulatory Council, El-Rufai said that ‘subsequent military governors amended the edict to vary the penalty imposed for violations of its provisions.
‘This is a law that has always been in the statute book of Kaduna State but it has not been implemented faithfully. We decided in 2016 to review this edict and subject a revised law to the scrutiny of an elected legislature for the first time.
‘We have now a religious preaching law, and we are determined to do our best to help stamp out the poison from the negative practice of religion,’ he disclosed.
According to the governor, ‘religion is a relationship with God, not a bargaining tool for economic or political favours, and certainly not an excuse for murder, arson, destruction of property and other violent crimes against people who worship and pray differently.’
Governor El-Rufai pointed out that ‘the pioneer members of this Interfaith Preaching Regulatory Council have an arduous but most important task of ensuring that those that are the leaders of faith, those that preach do not set our people against each other and that faith is not practised in ways that deliberately and consistently inconvenience others.’
The Kaduna governor assured members of the council that the ‘State Government will do everything it can to support you to do your job and help our state, to determine those that are qualified by education and training to preach without causing any problems for our people and our communities.’