Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Church Opposes Licensing of Preachers

Primate Rufus Ositelu of The Church of the Lord Aladura Worldwide says that licensing of religious preachers before operating in the country will not work.

Ositelu told newsmen in Ibadan on Sunday that the recent suggestion on preachers' permit by the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, was commendable due to security challenges, particularly in the north.

He said that one would also agree with the sultan, considering the background from where he spoke.

Ositelu, however, said considering the huge population and different religions, monitoring all religious preachers through permits was not practicable.

"The sultan made the suggestion because he knows that many clerics gave sermons which incited violence in the past," he said.

Ositelu recalled the case of the botched Miss World beauty pageant which ignited violence in the country following the clerics' preaching in the north.

He said such cases must have been the catalyst behind the sultan's suggestion.

Ositelu commended the sultan and described him as a true leader who had worked with Christian counterparts to fight religious violence in the country.

He said there was no way the government could control clerics and preachers in the country, saying it was not practicable.

Ositelu, who visited Ibadan to preach at a crusade organised by his church tagged "South-West for Christ" with the theme "divine encounter", suggested the establishment of state police to curb insecurity.

The cleric said state police, a form of community policing, could exist side by side with the federal police as practised in the U.S.

Ositelu said since the system would come from the local populace, it would be easier to prevent criminals from operating.

According to the primate, many unsolved criminal and murder cases were neglected in the past by federal police.

Church leaders, including host Rev. Amos Ajibola, Head, West-North Province of the church, attended the crusade.(NAN)

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