Friday, April 1, 2016

Kaduna Anti-Christian Bill: First Step To Islamisation

By Clement Udegbe
Nasir El Rufai appears to be one of the arrows aimed at making Christians very uncomfortable in Nigeria by anti-Christian forces of this country. In January 2013, the former FCT Minister wishing to please his godfathers in politics, as a governorship aspirant in Kaduna State, tweeted an insult on the person of Jesus Christ. 
*Gov Nasir el-Rufai
Christians reacted  to his insensitive, irresponsible and offensive saying about Christ, and his attack on the sensibilities of Christians globally, which betrayed his lack of respect for our Lord Jesus Christ and obvious hatred for Christians. His reply which added insults to the injury includes “I must say I am taken aback by the extent of desperate misrepresentation of what was an innocuous attempt to show the godlessness of the Jonathanians to denigrate anyone that dares to ask them to be accountable...To those who were genuinely offended by the retweet, I apologise. I did not mean to offend anyone. Jesus or Isa Alaihis Salaam is a respected prophet of Islam. Every Muslim accepts this in addition to his miraculous virgin birth. It is therefore absurd for any Muslim believer to disrespect Jesus Christ,” he added. 

The Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) scribe said there was a portion of the response that insulted the Christian faith, pointing out that the association is convinced Mr. El-Rufai "is set on a war path with Christians in Nigeria.”  The association warned him to stop taking Christians for granted with such foolish comments. 

Unfolding events have confirmed that CAN was right, El- Rufai hates Christians! Malam El-Rufai was a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not a Minister of any person or party. The problem is godfatherism, and that is why such an uncouth comment could come from a Minister of this nation, and he went ahead to become a Governor! In Igboland, a proverb says that when a child is dancing on the main road, someone must be beating the drums for him in the bush. Someone must be beating the drum from a hidden position, to which Malam El-Rufai is dancing in the public.

 In 2013, the APC wanted to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the posts of President and Vice President. In 2014, they quickly abandoned a muslim-muslim ticket, and exploited an in road via the Redeemed Christian Church of God, where Vice President Osibanjo SAN, was a Senior Pastor, and that did the job for All Progressives Congress (APC). While the north voted massively for APC on both ethnic and religious grounds, votes were divided elsewhere in the country. The church had a distracted or shifted focus, and in what appears now like a compromise by the church, Kaduna state Governor became emboldened to unleash more insults on the Church of God. The fears expressed by Christians over APC and Buhari’s leadership persists, in spite of the campaign promises of a changed Buhari. 

One major fear of many Christians include, that the killings and burning of churches will continue under Buhari, but will be seriously suppressed from the public. A branch of the Living Faith Church, in Giwa LGA, Kaduna state was burnt down on the 30th March, 2015, as elections results were being compiled. Violence against Christians abound in Kaduna, Kano and other northern  States. Last week Sabon Gari market of mostly Christian traders was burnt in Kano, and some social media commentators announced that it was just the beginning of the fight against Christians in the North of Nigeria, meaning more fires will follow, and nothing happened to them. 

Fulani herdsmen have exported their evils down to majorly Christian South. Only last week, over 73 persons from a locality of Enugu State were arrested by the Army and carried away to Abia State where they have been detained, for reacting to damages and destruct ion by Fulani Herdsmen. Who then, is beating these drums to which the Fulani Herdsmen are dancing?  A system like ours that uses the Army and Police to protect the source of provocation and destruction, while punishing the victims speaks volumes about unfairness. This system must have been calculated to oppress, and suppress, which can only lead to some form of uprising with time. Last week, same El-Rufai of Kaduna state proposed a Religious Preaching Bill to make illegal and regulate certain religious activities in the state, citizens across the country have condemned the bill, with many describing it as anti-religious.

The bill, currently before the Kaduna state House of Assembly, titled, ‘A Bill For A Law To Substitute The Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law, 1984.’ was first passed  into law in 1984 and was then known as the “ Kaduna State Regulation of Religious Preaching Edict No.7 of 1984, which was amended in 1987. The law was not enforced and now El-Rufai wants to update and enforce it. The proposed Bill seeks to License religious preachers before they can preach in the state, and this includes visiting preachers, and the license must be renewed yearly. A sponsored external preacher shall be issued with a permit for the period of the event; playing of cassettes in public is barred, and playing of inciting media messages is barred. All cassettes, CDs, flash drives, or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers may be played only inside ones room, the porch of the church or mosque, and any other designated place of worship.

Any individual who violates the bill shall upon conviction be liable to a term of imprisonment of two years, and a fine of N200,000. Other offences in the bill include use of loud speakers on a vehicle, preaching without  license, preaching after 8 pm in any public place; Abuses of religious books; Carrying any weapons whether concealed or not into a place of worship, and making of inciting comments. The major fear of Christians is confirmed by this bill. If passed other states in the north would follow, and that marks the beginning of full islamisation of Nigeria! Can there be any quicker and better way to heat up the polity, and cause religious conflicts? Who in the north wants Nigeria split?

*Mr.  Clement Udegbe, a lawyer, can be reached at  ceeaai@yahoo.com.


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