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Senate in Session

A bill to create a National Centre for Christian Education that will regulate and set standards for the practice of Christianity in Nigeria has passed the second reading at the Senate.

Sponsor of the bill, Senator Binos Yaroe of the Adamawa South Senatorial District, claimed that the centre would aid in resolving the nation’s “inappropriate practice” of religion, which has in the past led to issues.

On his part, Sen. Istifanus Gyang of the Plateau North Senatorial District, weighed in on the discussion, claiming that radicalism has been fostered by improperly practiced religion.

The federal lawmaker noted that, if followed properly, religion could be a source of strength and national solidarity, which is why the bill to establish the centre to create a curriculum for Christian education is very necessary.

Sen. Abba Moro, who represents Benue South in the Red Chamber, who also spoke, said the bill was ‘apt’ given that some youngsters had been duped by radical religious figures.

Sen. Moro emphasised that there was no denying that the misinterpretation of the Bible and the Quran was a contributing factor in some of the country’s problems.

After the discussion, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who presided over plenary, put the bill to a voice vote, and it passed Second Reading.

However, for additional legislative input, Sen. Lawan referred the draft to the Committee on Education.

In a swift reaction, Prophet Gideon Oyedepo, a Lagos based Christian leader, told PTL News that “the bill should be halted until each arm of the Christian body has read, studied and give opinions about it.

He was quick to warn that “Any attempt to muddle the preaching of the gospel will pull down Nigeria,” asking “Do we have NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR ISLAMIC education regulating the practice of Islam?”

It could be recalled that a similar bill proposed by Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna state in 2021 was described as being “injurious to the Church” and a deliberate attack on Christians in Nigeria by Christian leaders in the country.

The Chairman of the Benue State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Akpen Leva said the proposed bill “is a direct attack on the Almighty God and injurious to the church, not only in Kaduna State but Nigeria and the world in general.”

He said it is “indeed devastating that man would conspire to enact an anti-God legislation to regulate the activities of Christianity.

Christian leaders, especially the Christian Association of Nigeria were called to look into this and make a statement on it.

In some quarters, some of Nigerian pastors and prophets have been blamed for this over their excesses and over politicisation of issues particularly at the height of the just concluded general elections in the country.

Another observer comments, “don’t be surprised to see many Christian leaders supporting this. I think Christian associations especially CAN needs to find credible ways to regulate their members.

Other reactions are as follow;

“Until I see a corresponding bill to regulate Islam and Traditional religion, this bill is victimization of Christians. Interestingly, it was instigated by Binos Yaroe, senator representing Adamawa South. Kaduna state passed a similar bill in 2019.”

This may not seat well or sound good to Christian but if you hear the evil coming from Nigerian pastors lately you’ll wonder if it’s the same Christianity we practised in the 80s and 90s. Pastors are fast becoming menace to society and their activities needs to be checked fast.

If Christians cannot regulate themselves, those who know better will regulate them.

The bill must be stopped, and in the name of the Lord Jesus, it will not be passed! The earth is the Lord’s. Christians everywhere including Nigeria must be free to preach the gospel everywhere.

The bill is another version of CAMA they tried to passed initially that was rejected

Moslem/Moslem ticket just dey test the Mic

What should be the reference for the standard? The Bible or their intuition? I just wonder and wait to see.

What are your response, comments and suggestions about this?

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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