Those who are fighting against the controversial religious bill in the Governor Nasir El Rufai’s Northern State of Kaduna may be in for a long drawn battle as the bill may soon be replicated in other states of the nation in less than no time.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai has revealed that many other state governments have registered their interest in the proposed religious bill initiated by his administration and have also gone ahead to ask him for a copy of the bill to replicate in their states. The governor disclosed the information yesterday while speaking with a group of selected journalists at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House in Kaduna.
He also made it known that the proposed religious bill was sent to the Kaduna State House of Assembly since 15th October, 2015 and was not something new as being circulated. He further explained that:
“It was first enacted in 1984 during the term of Air Vice Marshal Usman Mua’zu (retd) after the Maitsine uprising in 1982. The then military junta saw the need to regulate preaching in some states in the North.
“Many states are ready to do similar thing now. They have asked for the copy of our bill. I will not name the states.”
Mr. El-Rufai went ahead to expose the falseness of the allegation that he walked out on the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, when he made an attempt to reach an understanding with him on a specific matter, emphasizing that the information was the handwork of his political enemies. The Governor insisted that he has an excellent relationship with the Vice-President, and that there was never a time he walked out on him, adding that those cooking-up such stories were mischief makers. According to him:
“I have never attended a meeting where the President and the Vice-President were all in the same room. I think the only time where the President and the Vice-president were around and I was in attendance was when the National Economic Council, NEC, was inaugurated by Mr. President. He (President) came and delivered his address and left.”
The proposed religious bill seeks to establish a joint multi-religious committee with representations equally drawn from the Jama’atul Nasir Islam and the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna state to put the regulation of all religious preaching in the state into effect.
The Kaduna State government said that the purpose of instituting the controversial bill on preaching is to curb religious extremism.