The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has raised the alarm over the emergence of a deadly Islamic group, “Gausiyya” in Markafi Local Government Area of the state.
Mr. El-Rufai made this known in a radio interview on Saturday, while justifying the need to regulate religious activities in the state.
The governor had weeks ago forwarded the Religious Regulation Bill, 2016, to the state House of Assembly, a situation that pitched him against religious leaders and rights activists across the country.
The proposed law seeks to regulate religious activities, especially preaching, and to provide sanctions for its violation.
The leader of the Omega Fire Ministry, with headquarters in Auchi, Johnson Suleman, is one of those accusing Mr. El-Rufai of trying to use the law to intimidate the Christian faithful in the state.
In a sermon in Auchi, Apostle Suleman had directed the governor to do away with the proposed law or die.
“Revoke this law or die,” the clergyman said while preaching to his congregation.
By initiating the bill, he said the governor had drawn a battleline with God and would pay dearly unless he backed down.
But as part of measures to educate Kaduna people on the intent of the bill, Mr. El-Rufai, in a radio interview on Friday, said there was a security report of an emergence of a dangerous Islamic group in the state.
“We had a security report that a new Islamic organization called GAUSIYYA is springing up in one of our local government areas, precisely Makarfi,” the governor said.
“After studying the group’s activities, we understand that it is not a sect that we should allow to stay in our state. They preach contrary to the teachings of Islam and are gradually recruiting youth in the name of religion.
“We have decided to stop the group and their activities before they grew and become a problem for the state. Negligence is what brought about the Maitatsine in the 80’s and the Boko Haram insurgents we are now fighting.”
To curtail the excesses of the growing sect, Mr. El-Rufai said his government came up with the proposed law to regulate religious activities in the state.
“The state government will not be responsible for issuing any license to preaching bodies or a new preacher who just surfaces,” he said.
“A committee that will consist of clerics nominated by the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, will issue religious bodies permits depending on their faith.
The governor said the government would welcome further suggestions on the bill, currently before the state assembly.
Read the Bill here:
A BILL FOR A LAW TO SUBSTITUTE THE KADUNA STATE RELIGIOUS PREACHING LAW, 1984
BE IT ENACTED by the Kaduna state house of assembly as follows:
1. The law may be cited as the religious preaching law no………………………………………… of 2016
2. This law shall come into operation on the ……………day of ………………2016.
3. In this law unless the context otherwise requires :- “Authority” means express permission consent or knowledge of the preacher given by the relevant authority; “Governor “means the Governor of Kaduna state; “preacher” means a person duly licenced by Jama’atu Nasil-Islam or Christian association of Nigeria , to preach. “Public place “means public resorts and includes markets, public institutions or centre and other facilities accessible to the public; “Relevant Authority means the Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI) or the Christian association of Nigeria (CAN); “State” means the Kaduna state of Nigeria.
4. (1) The two major religions in the state shall be regulated by the following (a) a committee of Jama’atu Nasir –Islam with equal representation of Izala and Darika religious group in the case of Muslims ‘and (b) a committee set up by Christian Association of Nigeria in the case of Christians. (c) An inter – faith ministerial committee to be appointed by the governor. (2) The inter-faith ministerial committee shall inter-face between the Jamaátu Nasir Islam (JNI) and the Christian association of Nigeria (CAN) committee and exercise supervisory control over them. The committee shall comprise of the following (i) A chairman to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the secretary to the state Government; (ii) The special adviser to the Governor on internal security; (iii) the most senior official of the Government advising the Governor on inter-faith matters (iv) A member representing Jamaátu Nasir Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); (V) Representative of ministry of justice; and (vi) One Representative each from the Nigeria police, the Department of state security and the Nigeria security and civil Defence Corp not below the rank of Superintendent of Police or its equivalent;
5. (1) The religious bodies establish under section 4 (a) & (b) of this Law shall issue licences approved by the ministerial committee (2) The licence shall be issued for a period not exceeding one year, (3) A sponsored external preacher shall be issued a permit for the period of the event.
6. (1) There is hereby established in each Local Government Area of the state, a committee to screen applications for licences and recommend same to the ministerial for approval. (2) The committee shall consist of the following members:- (a) the Chairman and Co-Chairman each representing; the two major religions to be appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Local Government Chairman of the Area (b) a representative of the Police not below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police; (c) two Muslim, one representing the Izala and Darika religious groups respectively (d) two representative of Christian Association of Nigeria; and (e) a representative of the Traditional Institute. (f) The proceedings of this committee shall only be valid if there is a quorum of not less than five members with the Chairman and Co- Chairman jointly sitting with at least one member each representing the two major religions in attendance.
7. The committee established under section 6 shall: (a) ensure compliance with the terms of the licences so issued; and (b) register accredited preachers of all religious groups and organizations operating in the Local Government Area.
Provided that the permit to be issued to the licensed preachers shall specify the duration or the number of occasions it is to be used.
8. The Kaduna chapter of the Jamaátu Nasil Islam and the Christian Association of Nigeria shall have and keep records of the Churches and Mosques including the data of all its preacher in the State.
9. All cassettes, CDs, Flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers may be played in the following places only:- (a) inside one’s house; (b) inside entrance porch (Zaure) (c) inside the Church; (d)inside the Mosque and (e) any other designated place of worship
10. Any cassette containing religious recording in which abusive language is used against any person or religious organization or religious leaders (past or present) is hereby prohibited in the state.
11. Member of the ministerial committee may be paid such allowances as may be determined by the Governor.
12. A person shall be guilty of an offence who, in contravention of this law; (a) preachers without a valid licence; (b) plays religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious purpose after 8pm in a public place; (c) uses a loudspeaker for religious purpose other than inside a Mosque or Church and the surrounding arrears outside the stipulated prayer times; (d) uses a loudspeaker in vehicles plying the streets with religious recording; (e) abuses religious books; (f) incites disturbance of the public peace (g) abuses or uses any derogatory term in describing any religion: or (h) carries weapons of any description whether concealed or not in places of worship or to any other place with a view to causing religious disturbance shall be guilty of an offences”
13. A person who commits an offence under the provision of this law shall be liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or a fine of two hundred thousand naira or both; and have his licences revoked.
14. The sharia courts and customary courts shall have jurisdiction to try violators of this law summarily and shall, on conviction give order for the forfeiture or destruction of any vehicle, equipment, instrument, gadget or book or other material carrying any offensive message.
15. The Kaduna state regulation of religious preaching Edit No. 7 of 1984 is hereby repealed.
Dated at Kaduna this …………………………. Day of………………2016
Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai
Governor, Kaduna State
(This note does not form part of this law and has no legal effect)
The purpose of this law is to regulate religious preaching and to provide sanctions for its violation)