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Bill on preaching: Kaduna speaker risks jail sentence, says PFN

Bill on preaching: Kaduna speaker risks jail sentence, says PFN
June 17
18:10 2019

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has initiated contempt proceedings against the Kaduna state house of assembly over the bill to regulate preaching in the state.

Speaking on Monday in the state capital, Sunny Akanni, counsel to PFN, said Abdullahi Shangali, speaker of the house (pictured), could land in trouble.

He said if the house is found guilty of disobeying the court order on the bill, he might be jailed.

Akanni said the PFN had, in February 2017, filed a suit at the state high court, presided over by Hajaratu Gwadah, challenging the constitutionality of the bill.

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According to him, on April 5, 2017, the court granted the PFN an interlocutory order, restraining the house from taking any action on the bill “either by way of public hearing or doing anything whatsoever on the subject matter of this case” until the determination of the substantive suit.

However, on June 7, the state assembly passed the executive bill which was introduced in 2016.

Akanni said he was shocked that despite the court order, the house went ahead to pass the bill at its last plenary presided by Shagali.

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According to him, the speaker had been served with the order of the court, adding that unless the house obeyed the court order, the speaker could be guilty of contempt of court.

The documents served on the speaker was dated June 13, 2019, and titled “Notice of consequence of disobedience to court order”.

It was accompanied by the court order and addressed to the speaker.

“The Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in this order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” it read in part.

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The passage of the executive bill, which seeks to regulate religious preaching in the state, has generated different reactions from both Christians and Muslims. While some have opposed it, others said it is a welcome development.

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