The title above is not very appropriate. Actually, it is appropriate because of the mode of discussing the case among many Nigerians. It is foul and lamentable and yet inevitable that in a secular state as Nigeria religious sentiment often makes people pass intentionally-distorted messages across. That is, many people seek to appeal to the passion of people of a religion and therefore, would spread only a part of a truth. This is bad especially when the situation is that which affects people of different categories alike. Message spread wide on social platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook that El-Rufai intended to make a law that forbids Christians in Kaduna to preach, listen to Christian music and so forth, except in the church. That makes the title above necessary. However, such message is a lie. The message really isn’t untrue but it’s just incomplete. A half of a thing is a thing but not wholly the thing!
Necessary curiosity would cause someone to check several reports for verification of a controversial report. Doing that checking will get us some findings:
1. The Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law has been in place since 1984 and isn’t initiated by El-Rufai himself. He only introduce a bill to substitute that.
2. The bill isn’t dealing with Christianity but religion (Christianity and Islam).
3. The Licence is not going to be solely issued directly by the government but with the involvement of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) representing the Christians and by Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) for the Muslims
4. The bill is supposed to prevent religious extremism and abuse in the state.
5. Anyone who violates the law will be: “liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or fine of N200,000 or both and have his licence revoked.”
6. The bill, according to the government is not against freedom of religion but evidently it regulates religious practices with imposed restrictions. That is a checked freedom!
There are several groups that have kicked against the bill. One cleric is reported to have given a death threat to the governor if the bill is passed. Many Islamic scholars and spokespersons have clearly spoken against the bill. Christian bodies as well as certain individuals have spoken and many are still speaking against the bill. The government has stated his unbending will to get the bill passed. The Federal government seems uninterested in the matter.
At this juncture, it must be noted that the bill affects Christians equally as it affects Muslims. There is no rejection of the possibility that in practice there may be inequality. Also, this move is a Change! I foresee more of this to come even from the zenith range of authority. So, this is like a trying out. It’s success or failure bears upon Nigeria at large. I foresee crisis if the bill is passed especially because some spectating States in the country will immediately follow suit.
The finis of this penning is that the Kaduna State Religious trending issue does not affect only one religion but both popular religions equally. Therefore, there is no categorical expression of support for the bill in this article but a disfavour of religious docility, sentiment and knavery that can make what is supposed to the the battle of all or many men to become the battle of few. The title at the end is EL-Rufai versus Religion.