‘The issue of licensing is that, it will lead to inter-religious and inter-ethnic tension’

Onike Abdul-Azeez

Onike Abdul-Azeez

(Imam Morufu Onike Abdul-Azeez, Deputy Chief Missioner, NASFAT Headquarters)
It is the responsibility of Muslims to propagate the religion and let others see the benefits inherent in total submission to the will of God. This is evident from various portions of the Quran that emphasises the concept of dawah (religious propagation). For instance, Quran chapter 2 verse 140 says: “… And who is more unjust than he who conceals the testimony, he has from Allah? And Allah is not unaware of what you do.”

The truth about the issue of licensing is that: It will lead to inter-religious and inter-ethnic tension, because some religions have sects, and as such, which of them will be licensed?

It is indubitable that if truth is given equal hearing with falsehood, surely, truth is always stronger.

What has the government done or is doing to support and finance Nigeria Interreligious Council (NIREC) and other umbrella bodies of religions, which would have curbed the excesses of some hate preachers?

What has been government effort in recruiting IRK and Bible knowledge teachers?

How will government control social media, which is an easy avenue for youths to get recruited into terrorist organisations? We will just end up shutting up those offline while most migrate online.

How far has the government gone with the driver’s license and national ID card, considering the size of this country with its rural and ethnic network before embarking on another costly project of licensing preachers?

Moreso, how do we control the politicians, who will use the tool to silence their opponent? The bad preachers will not stop talking but the good ones will be law-abiding and forced to keep quiet while the damage is done.

How are we going to cope with intellectual religious stagnation that those countries, which have opted for similar policy are facing?

How can we shut up millions of good preachers because of abuse of just few?

How do you avoid turning some preachers to campaign managers of political parties? What happened during the electioneering campaign cannot be easily forgotten in a hurry.

There is need for government to collaborate with Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Christian Association of Nigeria to articulate the type of speech it does not want such as hate speech, noise making, inciting statement to mention few.

Government should give support to the training of our imams and religious studies graduates.

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