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Why 5000 pastors may be jailed in Northern Nigeria

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By Renn Offor
For refusing to comply with the executive bill being processed to be passed in to law, should the bill go through in a couple of weeks, it is seemingly crystal clear that over 5,000 pastors would be jailed in the Northern State of Kaduna in Nigeria.

In reaction to what many clergy across the country has termed as a systematic step to wipe out Christianity in the North, the Kaduna State clergy has had enough of Governor Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State and his plan to control religious activities in the state.

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has maintained it resolve to sustain a drawn line in the sand and are daring the governor to create room in jails across the state to accommodate 5,000 preachers.

It would be recalled that the governor presented a bill to the State House of Representatives in which the Governor seeks to regulate religious activities in the State, and by so doing impose what would be legal penalties of fines and imprisonment for defaulters.

They fellowship of the clergymen in the State has said they would rather endure the pain of imprisonment than obey the law currently being debated at the State House of Representatives.

The state PFN chairman, Prof. Femi Ehinmidu, who spoke at a stakeholders’ roundtable conference in Kaduna, expressed concern on the bill being sponsored by the state government.
He argued that the bill remained a recipe for crisis in the state when passed into law.
Ehinmidu said the bill started on a faulty note and was bound to fail.
Meanwhile, El-Rufai, has cautioned religious leaders against politicising the bill before the Assembly.

El-Rufai told the stakeholders that the preaching bill he sent to the state Assembly had no intention of banning evangelism in the state but aimed at curbing emerging religious extremism.

He explained that the bill, when passed into law, would allow the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasir Islam to check strange ideological beliefs that were not in tandem with Christianity and Islam.

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