The Kaduna state house of assembly had on Friday passed the religious preaching regulation bill.
The executive bill which was proposed by the state governor, Nasir el-Rufai, in 2016, was passed, on Friday just before the eighth assembly was dissolved.
The bill which the state assembly had held for three years, had been opposed by Muslim and Christian bodies as well as individuals across the state.
According to the government of Kaduna, the bill was meant to regulate religious preaching in order to promote religious harmony and peaceful coexistence and not to stifle religious freedom.
The bill provides for the establishment of an interfaith regulatory council, which will have two representatives each of the Christian and Muslim bodies — And the council will be present at the state level and committees at local government levels responsible for screening and issuing licence to preachers.
Aminu Shagali, speaker of the assembly, who presided over the sitting when the bill was passed after it was read clause by clause said the new law had given powers to the council to hear and determine appeals to be brought before it arising from the decision of the local government interfaith committees.
“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,” Shagali said.
“The local government interfaith committee shall consider and recommend to state interfaith regulation council all applications for the grant of license 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.
“The bill also states that any person who publicly insults or seeks to incite contempt against any religion, by making false statements in such a manner as likely lead to a breach of peace, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years or a fine of not less than N100,000 or both. ”
The new religious preaching regulation law substitutes a similar law of 1984 in the state.