News: Bishop Bakare Reacts To El – Rufai’s Religious Bill

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In an interview with the zonal chairman of the
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for North
West Nigeria and the presiding Bishop of Jesus is
Life World Outreach Ministries, Bishop David
Bakare, he described the bill as worrisome and
ridiculous.

He explained further on how the bill restricts or
regulates the hour of prayer which affects
Christians.

“In Christianity there is no such thing as the hour
of prayer. The Bible says we should pray without
ceasing but the law speaks about things we must
do within a particular hour of prayer”.

“For example we are not supposed to use loud
speakers beyond the hour of 8pm. You could say
it is OK to avoid public disturbance but it means if
I am running a meeting when it is 8pm I can’t
function anymore”.

He also said that it means he can’t run a night
vigil which is a very vital part of the Christian
prayer life.

His Lordship also stated the fact that an offender
will attract a 2year jail term with a fine of 200,000
Naira and will also face a summary trial which
means there will be no provision of evidence or
appeal.

“The worst aspect is that the bill does not provide
an appeal and its jurisdiction/ adjudication is
within the customary court and the sharia court.
It didn’t distinguish who should be taken to the
sharia court or customary court. A sharia court
cannot try a Christian but in this case, the law does not specify”.

He also described the fact that you can’t play a
C.D or video or tape of any unaccredited
preacher by the state in places outside
designated areas of worship as ridiculous. This
means you cannot play or listen to any message
whatsoever in your house, car etc.

This implies that if you have a function or
reception in an undesignated place and a
preacher is invited for exhortation he or she will
face jail sentence.

“The truth is that apart from the sharia law that
caused a lot of trouble in the North West a few
years ago, this is the next most dangerous
religious law to be promulgated in the state”.

He said that the last Shiite incident in Zaria could
be one of the main reasons why the Kaduna
state government has decided to do this and that
if curbing religious extremism is the purpose
then there are enough laws in the Nigerian
Constitution that can deal with such.

When asked about steps being made by CAN to
ensure uninterrupted peaceful activities in the
state, he said that they have not been accused of
stirring up any religious intolerance and that they
have lived within the confines of the law and
have laboured to avoid anything that might cause havoc in the state.

In conclusion he made it clear that the bill
violates the fundamental human right of any
citizen to freely practice their religion.
Furthermore, he added that there is no law that is
higher than the central constitution of the nation
so there are legal dimensions that can be used to make sure the law doesn’t see the light of day.

“So far meetings are being held nationally and
internationally to ensure that we don’t have
such. It will not stand”.

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