The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has appealed for religious tolerance across the state while noting that it should not be a trigger for violent conflict.
El-Rufai made this call on Saturday, October 16, at the inauguration of the Kaduna State Interfaith Preaching Regulatory Council, held at the Conference Room of the Governor’s Office.
Religion has been weaponised to the point that it has become a device used to question the right of some people to exist and practice their faith, the Governor pointed out.
However, El-Rufai said his administration has reviewed the state’s Religious Preaching Edict of 1984; in order to stamp out the poison from the negative practise of religion.
According to him, “Most of the residents of Kaduna State are very religious, like other Nigerians. But Kaduna State is, unfortunately, one of the states in the country with a sad history of religious clashes. The personal exercise of faith and the better conduct; and character that spirituality promotes helps society to progress.
“But religion has unfortunately been weaponised so much that something that should bring God’s creatures closer together in a common awareness of mortal frailties has become a device to question the right of some of God’s creatures to even exist at all, let alone practise their faith or live wherever they wish.
“This is a law that has always been in the statute book of Kaduna State; but it has not been implemented faithfully. We decided in 2016 to review this edict and subject a revised law to the scrutiny of an elected legislature for the first time.
“We have now a religious preaching law, and we are determined to do our best to help stamp out the poison from the negative practice of religion.
“The pioneer members of this Interfaith Preaching Regulatory Council have an arduous; but most important task of ensuring that those that are the leaders of faith; those that preach do not set our people against each other; and that faith is not practised in ways that deliberately and consistently inconvenience others.
“I want to assure members of this Council that the Kaduna State Government will do everything it can; to support you to do your job and help our state; to determine those that are qualified by education and training to preach; without causing any problems for our people and our communities.
“On this note, it is my distinct honour and privilege to inaugurate this Council. I wish you all the best and God’s guidance as you undertake this onerous assignment.”