By Uche Mbah
A Kaduna High Court, presided over by Justice Hajaratu Gwadah, has berated the governor of Kaduna state, Nasiru el-Rufai, telling him he has no right to screen and license preachers. The court however conceded that he has the right to regulate religious activities in the state.
Governor el-Rufai, during his first term, introduced a bill to regulate the activities of religious groups, which was later passed by the state house of Assembly.
The bill was challenged in court by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, who questioned the constitutionality of the bill. They posited that the bill is an infringement on the human right of individuals to freedom of expression and association. Therefore it prayed the court to nullify the panel instituted to screen preachers and license them.
The judge agreed that screening preachers is human rights violation but held that government has a right to regulate religious activities.
Governor el-Rufai has come under intense criticism for his high handedness in handling religious activities in the state. Allegations of trying to muzzle the activities of Christians were rife.