THE 19 northern state governors on Friday agreed to commence the issuance of licences to all religious organisations and preachers in all states in the region. Only Kaduna state had, hitherto, proposed the new measure.
The governors, who said they were alarmed by the proliferation of sects and preachers in the region, also agreed to close down all religious organizations and institutions that refused to be registered with the respective state governments.
These were part of the seven-page communiqué issued by the governors after a meeting in Kaduna on Friday.
The governors also said they noted the proliferation of Islamic sects in the region whose doctrines are repugnant to Islamic injunctions and Islamic jurisprudence.
“In view of the above, it has become imperative to establish a regulatory mechanism to consistently monitor activities of newly registered and unregistered religious organizations, ascertain the sources of their funds, both locally and internationally, monitor the activities of new Islamic schools established by any of the sects as well as their curriculum,” the communiqué said.
They also agreed to “facilitate the issuance of certificates and licences to prospective preachers and ensuring that all Islamic schools and other religious organizations are duly registered by government and close all unregistered ones.
“The Forum made an insightful and thorough review of the current security situation in the region with specific reference to Boko Haram insurgency, cattle rustling and lingering deadly clashes between farmers and cattle rearers as well as armed banditry and kidnapping which have been responsible for developmental challenges,” they said.
The Forum also urged the people to be focused on issues that will engender national unity and development and the consolidation of democratic gains in the nation, stressing that “peaceful co-existence and national interest should be of utmost concern to all.”
The seven-page communiqué was signed on behalf of the 19 governors by the Borno State governor and chairman of Northern State Governors Forum, Alhaji Kasim Shettima. All the states were represented by their governors or deputy governors.
Earlier Shettima had said that the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has agreed to partake in the reconstruction of the North in order to make the region regain its glory.
Shettima made this known, while declaring open a meeting of the Forum.
“You may recall that consequent upon a deliberate resolution of the Forum, I had the privilege to lead a top-level delegation to the headquarters of the Islamic Development Bank in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, for special consultations with the management of the bank on possible ways of attracting their assistance in addressing some of the core challenges we are facing in the region.
“In reaction to our various presentations, the bank’s president, Dr Mohammed Ali, had given us a strong indication of the IDB’s declared intention to initiate a comprehensive and constructive plan for the reconstruction of the Northern Region.
By Muhammad Sabiu