Government to monitor churches, mosques

The Lagos State government, yesterday, disclosed that it will start a clampdown on hate preaching by religious leaders, noting that it would not condone religious intolerance.

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode

Governor Akinwunmi Ambode disclosed this plan during a meeting with members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) at the State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

The government also revealed that it would begin inter-face religious conferences where all the religious bodies in the state would participate in seminars to be coordinated by the NIREC.

Represented at the meeting by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, Ambode said he would make sure to stop any religious leader that preaches hate messages which are capable of causing acrimony among the people.

“Henceforth, we will start to monitor mosques and churches and ensure that clerics do not engage in hate preaching capable of endangering people’s freedom.

“Our constitution recognises the rights of every citizen to express himself or herself in a way he or she believes. Also, everyone has the right to freedom of religion and conscience,” he announced.

He also made it known that the religious institutions in the state will be enumerated so they can be tracked better.

“If a mosque or church is not captured in our list, it means such is not recognised by the government. We would give every one of them an identification number,” he said.

Finally, Ambode warned the church to stop the practice of disturbing the peace with external loudspeakers and told them that they should remove these instruments so as not to constitute a nuisance.

"This is the time for advocacy; let everybody realise that they have the right and freedom to practice their religion, but you will be stopped from practising that religion if it creates mischief and under Section 45 of the constitution, the government is empowered to put a stop to your freedom when it endangers other people’s freedom.

“We are going to ensure that this advocacy is taken to the grass roots to let people know that we are not stopping them from practising their religion but the rights of others must be taken into consideration," he said.

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