Home » News » NEWS: ‘No Governor Can be an Emperor’ Catholic Church Tells El Rufai. Urges Buhari to revisit national confab

NEWS: ‘No Governor Can be an Emperor’ Catholic Church Tells El Rufai. Urges Buhari to revisit national confab

Following the move by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El
Rufai to regulate the practice of religion through a bill set to be
enacted, the Catholic Church yesterday confronted the governor,
stressing that, no governor elected can become an emperor.
At a briefing in Abuja, Caritas International, a department
under the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) explained that
El Rufai must tread with caution in his approach to strangulate the
religious freedoms of Kaduna citizens.
Director of Caritas International, Rev. Fr Evaristus Bassey
said though “religious miscreants have caused a lot of havoc in our
Nigeria. It does appear however that the measures proposed are an
overkill.
“The danger in Nigeria is the manipulation of structures
and institutions by strong individuals. Thus, the fear is that even if
the proposed bill contains good aims, the proposed restrictions would
play into the hands of officials of state who have a hegemonic mentality
and would allow them the freedom to persecute one religion in favour of
another,” Bassey maintained.
He said: “The principle of separation of state and
Church/Mosque which springs from the supposed secularity of the Nigerian
constitution would be severely battered if this bill is pursue in the
way it is.
“Governor El Rufai, who is quite dogged in the pursuit of
anything,  given this tool, would pursue ardently both what is good and
what may be divisive.
“We advise that Kaduna State rely on existing laws and
existing state instruments of law enforcement, to maintain religious
harmony in Kaduna State instead of reinventing the wheel.”
He contended that “the majority of Kaduna people appear not
to want this law, and their wishes should be respected, as no governor
is an emperor but an elected official who should defer to the people’s
will.
“The people’s will is sovereign;  because of the potential
abuses this bill could bring when it becomes law, we opine that it is
not necessary, ” Bassey stated.
As a strategy to resolving this constitutional logjam on
religion, the Catholic Church further tasked President Muhammadu Buhari
to revisit the report of the national conference organised by the last
administration.
According to Bassey “Nigerian citizens should continue to
engage political and state structures to become institutions which are
guided by the rule of law.
“The President Buhari led administration should revisit the
provisions of the national conference and institute measures which
should stand Nigeria on the pillar of justice and peace.
“Presently, our constitution is like a hermaphrodite,
neither completely secular nor religious. A secular constitution
guarantees the rights and dignity of all under the law.
The church also bemoaned the ill-treatment of women in many
cultures and communities, describing it as “a symptom of the overall
deficiency in the respect for life which engenders a mindset that sees
life as dispensable.

They argued that the “underlying materialistic attitude” of society
“sees the female specie not as fully human but as an object for male
gratification.”
Bassey urged government and traditional institutions to be
in the forefront of promoting the advancement of the girl-child and the
female gender.
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