Kaduna state governor Nasir el-Rufai has described the purpose of his new proposed religious preaching bill.
While claiming the bill allows religious freedoms, el-Rufai admitted that he intends to use the bill to stop a new group in Makarfi who he has judged as not operating according to his understanding of Islam. “And so, we must stop that group,” the governor said.
“We had a security report that a new Islamic organization called GAUSIYYA is springing up in one of our local government areas, precisely Makarfi,” the governor said, “and that is what this bill is for,”
Whether Nigerian administrators have the right to decide what is Islam or what is Christianity and who is out of the bounds of the faiths is left to debate; however the governor in his statements failed to mention the “danger” of this group except that it deviated from his understandings of Islam.
El-Rufai said, “After studying the group’s activities, we understand that it is not a sect that we should allow to stay in our state. They preach contrary to the teachings of Islam and are gradually recruiting youth in the name of religion.
“We have decided to stop the group and their activities before they grew and become a problem for the state. Negligence is what brought about the Maitatsine in the 80’s and the Boko Haram insurgents we are now fighting.
“The state government will not be responsible for issuing any license to preaching bodies or a new preacher who just surfaces.
“A committee that will consist of clerics nominated by the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, and the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, will issue religious bodies permits depending on their faith.”
Governor el-Rufai has said that CAN and JNI will be the regulatory organisations who decide who gets a license and who does not. The religious or political methodology with which these organisations will decide who is righteous and who is not and whether they have the constitutional authority in a secular state to make such decisions is contested.