TRENDING! Court Rejects Bill Asking Pastors, Imams To Get State License Before Operation - AMEBO NEWSPAPERS NG.


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TRENDING! Court Rejects Bill Asking Pastors, Imams To Get State License Before Operation

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Kaduna state government have been banned from implementing a recently passed religious bill which mandated religion preachers to go through state screening and licensing to be able to carry out their religious practices.

A Kaduna State High Court Wednesday ruled that the bill passed by the former State House of Assembly violates fundamental human rights, which guarantees freedom of association and freedom of religion.

Scooper recalls that under the “Kaduna State Religious Preaching (Regulation) Law, 2019,” a State Interfaith Religious Council will be established to grant license to Muslim and Christian preachers before they can operate in the state. The bill also sets conditions for designated places of worship including punishment for various offences that range from noise pollution to inciting religious messages.

The presiding judge, Hon Justice D. Gwadah, while passing the ruling, said that the actions of the Kaduna State House of Assembly in proceeding to pass the bill into law despite the pending court proceedings and the subsisting court injunction restraining the action, “is an affront to this honourable court”.

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Kaduna chapter had instituted the case in  2016 against the Kaduna State Governor (Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai), Kaduna State House of Assembly and the Attorney General of Kaduna State over the Kaduna State Religious Regulatory Bill.

The lawyers representing the respondents, in reaction to the judgment, said that their clients will go higher, meaning Gov El-Rufai and the Kaduna State House of Assembly will appeal the judgement.

But Barr S. A. Akani (lead counsel to PFN), who briefly addressed the press after the ruling, expressed satisfaction over the judgment on behalf of his client, the PFN.

Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, through its lead counsel, Barr S. A. Akani, had sought a declaration, among others that the establishment of Religious Preaching Regulatory Committees vide section 6(1) and (2) of bill for the Kaduna state religious preaching regulation law for the purpose of screening preachers and entertaining applications for preaching licences constitutes a blatant invasion of applicant’s fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion enshrined in section 38 (1) of the constitution and as such unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.

However, the power is limited to act on behalf of the members of the body. Hence, the court ruling is applicable to the members of PFN. 

By implication, other Christians and Pastors can benefit indirectly from the ruling.

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