Last Friday, Northern governors reportedly endorsed a controversial religious preaching bill championed by Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai. The bill, which many pundits have described as unconstitutional was unanimously endorsed at a meeting of the governors. However, less than a week after the endorsement, there seems to be a crack as some governors have begun to doubt the feasibility of implementing such a law in their states.
The 19 northern state governors under the aegis of the Northern Governors’ Forum had at their last meeting in Kaduna, endorsed the commencement of the issuance of licence to preachers in the region. In the communique they issued at the end of their meeting last Friday in Kaduna, the governors had alleged proliferation of sects and preachers in the region and agreed to close down all religious organisations and institutions that refused to be licensed with the respective state governments.
States with high Christian populations like Plateau, Taraba, Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa and Adamawa have emerged as the most likely to balk from the supposed Northern Governors consensus.
Mark Longyen, the Special Adviser on Media to Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau state, told Thisday newspaper that the agreement is not binding on all the states as each state has its own peculiarity.
“It is true that Plateau State was part of the agreement, but it is not binding. We will look at the law again and domesticate it according to the peculiarity, reality and circumstances of the situation in Plateau State,” he said.