Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has stated that religion should not be a trigger for violent conflict in the state.
He lamented that 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.
El-Rufai, however, said that the state’s Religious Preaching Edict of 1984, which his administration reviewed in 2016, will help stamp out the poison from the negative practise of religion.
The Governor said this at the inauguration of the Kaduna State Interfaith Preaching Regulatory Council, held at the Conference Room of the Governor’s Office, Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Friday.
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.
“It was in 1984 that the government of Air Vice Marshall Usman Muazu enacted the Religious Preaching Edict to address this matter. Subsequent military governors amended the edict to vary the penalty imposed for violations of its provisions.
“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.
“Religion is a relationship with God, not a bargaining tool for economic or political favours, and certainly not an excuse for murder, arson, destruction of property and other violent crimes against people who worship and pray differently,” he said.