Religious regulation; Cleric cautions Gov El- Rufai

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By; Raymond Tedunjaye, Lagos

A Lagos base cleric, Dr. Chris Okafor has taken a swipe at the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai over his proposed anti public preaching bill in the state, describing it as a planned direct attack on the christian community in the state.

Okafor, the Senior Pastor of Liberation City, Ojodu Berger, Lagos, affirmed that the bill was a calculated move by the governor to Islamise the state.

The bill, tagged “Ban on Public Preaching Without A License”, which has already passed through the first and second reading in the Kaduna State House of Assembly, the pentecostal Pastor said is now at the committee level anchored by the chairman House on Christian and Islamic affairs, adding that the committee will soon call for public hearing for people’s inputs on it.

The law seeks to punish people preaching in the state without license with two years imprisonment or fine of N200, 000 or any among all other unconstitutional stipulations.

In a chat Sunday in Lagos, Okafor said the bill is a planned direct attack on the Christian community in the state and by extension an intention to lslamize the nation.

Dr Okafor said Kaduna state was only a test run of  what he called the Islamic extremism to frustrate other religious belief, saying if the bill was allowed to be passed into law in Kaduna, other Northern states of the federation will adopt the law.

The clergyman called on Christian leaders in the nation to speak up now on the matter and stop protecting ‘their Empire’, just as he noted that  most public office holders in the country, no longer accord regard to men of God and their counsels because of the way some of them conducted themselves during the 2015 general elections.

Dr Okafor said some of them declared false prophecies, some used their sacred altar to canvass for votes for politicians, some were seen following political party to their campaign ground, announcing that such candidate have been divinely ordained by God for the position. Some went to the extent of compelling their members to vote for a particular candidate, this was disheartening and ungodly.

“I stand to be corrected, no other religious association conduct public preaching anywhere in the world other than Christians.

Nobody conduct night vigils where thousands of worshippers gather together at a particular location between 8pm and 5am other than Christians.

“How can Governor Nasir El-rufai conceive Christians in the country and the international community that the bill is not a well planned agenda to lslamise Kaduna State”, Dr Okafor said.

“The Nigerian Constitution 1999 as amended respects the freedom of association and worship of every Nigerian without any impediments, the federal government should intervene in the matter and call governor Nasir El-rufai to order on the proposed law” saying “the nation might be sitting on a keg of gun powder that could explode anytime from now, if treated with levity”.

He noted that many nations of the world which experienced religious crisis had the opportunity to deal with the issue when it was still minimal but treated it with laxity until it grew into a full blown war, adding that matters of this magnitude must be treated urgently.

Okafor said that he has been mandated by God Almighty to declare to Governor Nasir El-Rufai to retrieve the bill from the state Assembly within 14 days or face the wrath of God.

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