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Lawmakers approve jail term, fine for public preaching in Kaduna

The Kaduna State House of Assembly has passed the controversial Religious Preaching Regulation bill into law.

The Executive Bill, which was brought to the Assembly in 2016, had faced stiff opposition from Muslim and Christian bodies as well as individuals across the state.

The state government had contended that the bill was meant to regulate religious preaching in order to promote religious harmony and peaceful coexistence not to stifle religious freedom.

According to the Speaker of the Assembly, Alhaji Aminu Shagali, the law provides for the establishment of an Interfaith Regulatory Council at the state level and committees at local government levels responsible for screening and issuing licence to preachers.

“The bill when signed into law, stipulates that in each of the 23 local Government areas of the state, a committee to be known as the Local Government Interfaith Committee has to be established.

“The Local Government Interfaith Committee shall consider and recommend to state Interfaith Regulation Council all applications for the grant of licence to religious preachers as well as screen and recommend preachers for the grant of license among other functions.

“The supplementary provision provides that all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadgets containing religious recordings from accredited preachers may be played inside a private dwelling unit or vehicle, entrance porch (zaure), church, mosque and any other designated place of worship.

“It further stated that any person who plays religious cassette or uses a loud speaker for religious purposes between the hours of 11pm to 4am in a public place, and uses a loudspeaker for religious purposes other than inside church or mosque commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years or pay a fine of not less than N200,000 or both.”

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