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Christian clerics sue El-Rufai, others over anti-preaching bill

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Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai

Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai

Christian clerics, under the umbrella of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), have instituted a legal action against Governor Nasir El-Rufai at a Kaduna State High Court presided over by Justice Hajara Gwadah.

The litigants are suing the state government over alleged plans to enact an anti-preaching bill currently before the state’s House of Assembly.

The clerics, who joined the legislature and the Attorney General as respondents in the suit, are asking the court to declare as null and void a controversial executive bill seeking to revive a 1984 law that regulated preaching in the state.

Specifically, in the case instituted by PFN president, Professor Femi Ehinmidu, through their counsel, Sunday Akani, the Christian body is seeking for the enforcement of its fundamental rights “as guaranteed under Sections 38(1), 39(1), 40(1), and 42(1) of the 1999 Constitution as (amended) and under the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights.”

The motion on notice urged the court to declare that: “the Bill for a Law to substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law 1984, sent to the House of Assembly of Kaduna State by the Executive Governor of Kaduna State is a violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights of freedom of religion, association and discriminatory as guaranteed by Sections 38,39,40 and 42 of the constitution.”

The plaintiff also sought a declaration that “the Regulation of Religious Preaching Law Cap 130 of the Kaduna State Law of 17th July 1984 is a violation of the applicant’s right to religious freedom.”

PFN further demanded an order setting aside the said law citing violation of the rights of members as well as restraining the House of Assembly from passing the bill into law, noting that the proposed legislation offends international protocols on rights in which Nigeria is a signatory.

After entertaining arguments yesterday, the presiding judge subsequently fixed January 30, 2017 for hearing of the substantive suit.


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