The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Martins, has advised the Kaduna State Government to listen to the key stakeholders in the state before it introduces its proposed religious bill.
Martins gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.
He was speaking against the background of the Kaduna State government’s introduction of an executive Bill with the title: “A Bill to substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law of 1984”.
When passed into Law by the Kaduna State House of Assembly, it will enable the state government to regulate, monitor, supervise, handle, take the helm of, oversee and control all religious activities (Christian or Muslim) in the State.
The bill, among other things, also seeks to stop the playing or circulation of “all cassettes, CDs, flash drives or any other communication gadget containing religious recordings from accredited preachers.
The Archbishop stated that because Nigeria is practising a democratic system of government with a constitution that guarantees its citizens the freedom of worship, the state governor must listen to what the people have to say about his proposed law.
“One thing we know is that the constitution of the country guarantees freedom of worship.
“If there is any side law that is going to restrict freedom of worship that bill certainly should not see the light of day.
“I hope that the governor and the government of Kaduna state will listen to what the people of the state have to say and will take seriously what they have to say because democracy is about the people and the good of the people and it is necessary for government to listen to what the people have to say and not just ram things down their throat.
“There may be good intentions behind the law, but it is important that in making the law for the people, let the people be able have a say so that the law can be effective in the first instance and will be a just law.’’ (NAN)