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Wednesday, 18 November 2015
Lagos government to place mosques, churches under watch over hate preaching
The Lagos State Government has warned religious leaders who engage in hate preaching to desist from such as it would no longer be tolerated in the state. It expressed the resolve to place mosques and churches under watch as from 2016.
The state government explained that the decision was aimed at curbing any crises that may likely arise from hate preaching in any part of the state.
Speaking on Tuesday at a meeting with members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), in Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef said government is being forced to place these religious houses under watch because of the devastating effect of hate messages.
According to Abdul-Lateef, “The state government will begin inter-religious conferences where all religious bodies in the state, irrespective of their denominations will participate. NIREC will coordinate inter-religious conferences, but the state government will stop any religious leader who engages in hate preaching or hate messages capable of endangering people’s freedom.
“Henceforth, we will start to monitor mosques and churches and ensure that clerics do not engage in hate preaching. Our constitution in Nigeria has recognised the freedom and rights of every citizen to express himself or herself in a way he or she believes,” he said.
The Commissioner noted that every member of the state has the right to freedom of religion, conscience and the right to express same publicly, individually or in community with others.
He added, “Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution goes further to say nobody on account of expressing himself should be subjected to any form of discrimination. So, if we are talking about peace, peaceful co-existence, then tolerance is key to all of us. Let it be known to residents that henceforth, Lagos government in collaboration with the NIREC, will not tolerate hate preachers. These are the people who do not preach their religion but continue to spread mischief about people of other religions.
“We will not tolerate religious intolerance. This is the time for advocacy, let everybody realize that you have the right and freedom to practice your religion but you will be stopped from practicing that religion if it creates mischief. Under Section 45 of the Nigeria Constitution, the government is empowered to put a stop to your freedom when it endangers other people’s freedom.”
Abdul-Lateef further called on all religious centres and leaders to immediately deactivate their external loud speaker after calling their faithful’s for prayers so as not to constitute nuisance to the community.