– Says All Faiths, Including Traditional Worshippers Must Undergo Policy Guidance & Guidelines
The Senate ongoing consideration of a bill seeking to establish a National Centre for Christian Education to “regulate and set standards” for the practice of Christianity in the country has begun to generate conversation amongst Nigerians.
The bill, which is being sponsored by Senator Binos Yaroe (Adamawa South), had on Tuesday, scaled a second reading at the Senate, after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
The bill is currently before the Committee on Education for further legislative input.
Reacting to the bill, Public Affairs Analyst and Deputy Chairman of a Civil Society Organization, Joint Action Front, JAF, Achike Chude said any bill, like the one being considered by the National Assembly that did not have the input of credible stakeholders like the representatives of religious bodies, whose issues are being discussed, can never be representative enough.
“I am not aware of the involvement of primary stakeholders in the deliberation of the bill at the National Assembly”, Public Affairs Analyst said.
He noted that the bill should be viewed with great suspicion, especially at a time of serious divisions in the country’s polity and the excercebation of the nation’s fault lines by the political elites.
He said; “We have to view this bill against the backdrop of the extreme and desperate push by President Muhammadu Buhari, to pass the national water resource bill, which surreptitiously strives to pass on the ownership of land, where water is located from State Governments to the Federal Government.”
The Deputy Chairman of JAF, in an interview with NigeriaCheck Newspaper, warned that the bill is extremely insensitive and carries with it, the danger of future outcomes and crises that the country can ill afford.
He wondered why the National Assembly of a Government that has been accused of bias across parochial lines be anxious to pass such a contentious bill with a few days left of its existence.
His words: “But perhaps, of more worry is the fact that this bill is being pushed by supposed Christians.
“The usual reaction by many Nigerians to events such as this in the National Assembly is that the members pushing for this are acting in an unwholesome manner and have been bribed to sell their consciences.
He insisted that such bill seeking regulation must not solely be done by secular people, but must involve the people, who supervise them directly – the religious leaders.
He stressed that since Nigeria has no state religion, it would be important that all faiths – Christians, Muslims, and Traditional African Worship – must also undergo some forms of policy guidance and guidelines, which must include major inputs by their various leaders and representatives.
“No one is saying there should not be decency and responsibility in the ways people go about their religious beliefs and practices, but a bill to regulate it must not solely be done by secular people but must involve the people who supervise them directly – the religious leaders.
“And since Nigeria has no state religion, it would be important that all faiths, Christians, Muslims, and Traditional African worship must also undergo some forms of policy guidance and guidelines which must include major inputs by their various leaders and representatives.
“The Christian religion in recent times has not been accused of being a violent religion. No religion should be,” he concluded.