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Monday, May 30

Plateau will enforce own religious preaching law – Governor Lalong

Plateau will enforce own religious preaching law – Governor Lalong

Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State at the weekend expressed the resolve of his administration to enforce extant laws regulating religious preaching in the state to guard against hate speeches and crisis.

At a parley with newsmen, which was organized to mark his one year in office, the Governor was asked whether his government will introduce legislations to regulate religious preaching as done in the neighbouring Kaduna State, where Governor Nasir el’Rufai sent an executive bill for a law to regulate public preaching.

He responded by saying: “Here, we are keeping to the old law regulating religious activities in the state. Whether you like it or not, we must implement some of the rules.”

Lalong explained that Plateau will not initiate a bill for such a law since there was already a law to regulate public preaching by religious organisations, stressing that the state will go ahead to implement the law.

“Because there was no regulation, we had this case of Boko Haram from the grassroots, no regulations. It metamorphosed into what we are going through now,” he said.

The Governor recalled that in his time as Speaker of the state legislature, the House had responded to pressures from concerned persons, to initiate and pass a law in that regard.

Speaking about the Kaduna preaching bill, he challenged journalists to study it for the sake of understanding the action of his counterpart there, saying: “Have you looked at the Law? It is still a reflection of the laws that we have…We have them in the law in Plateau State. It is to regulate.”

Lalong said Plateau has no new bill to initiate, but insisted that it was expedient to consider an enforcement of the old law to stave off possible crises as the state had a nasty experience in 2001 over unregulated preaching.

“So that you don’t sit overnight in your house and tomorrow you announce that ‘yes, I saw a vision, now I am a preacher; I am going to form a church.’

“With that kind of conduct, tomorrow you are forming a church and we don’t know where you are going to take people, and what you are saying there, we don’t know,” he stated.

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