‘You need government licence to operate,’ police, DSS remind Nigerian preachers

The police commissioner in Borno, Abdu Umar, has urged Islamic clerics to use the period of Ramadan fast to preach unity and peaceful coexistence in the state.

Mr Umar gave the charge during the stakeholders’ meeting to regulate preaching on Tuesday in Maiduguri. The meeting was convened by the Nigeria Police and Department of State Services (DSS).

This week, the Apo Legislative Quarters central mosque committee in Abuja sacked Sheikh Nuru Khalid as the chief imam for criticising President Muhammadu Buhari.

The police chief said the meeting became necessary to remind preachers of the existing law passed in 2010 by the state government to regulate preaching.

He added that the law established the Borno State Islamic Religious Preaching Board, which made it mandatory for preachers to obtain licences from the board before embarking on their activities.

The police commissioner stressed the need for Islamic clerics to use the Ramadan period to preach peace and unity instead of attacking one another based on sectarian differences.

He also urged the media not to allow themselves to be hoodwinked by preachers inciting people and creating problems in Borno.

Also speaking, DSS director M. M. Murtala explained that Islam urged Muslims to promote peaceful coexistence.

Mr Murtala also mentioned that the hardship experienced in Borno due to insurgency was enough to teach the people the value of peace.

The DSS director reminded the media that only clerics cleared by the preaching board were allowed to preach in their medium.

For his part, Mohammed Shettima, the secretary of the Borno Islamic Religious Preaching Board, reiterated the readiness of the board to ensure that only certified clerics preach in the state.

In their separate remarks, heads of media organisations promised to work with all stakeholders to jettison inciting preachings in their programmes.

The preaching law empowered the governor and the board to ban preachers and preaching in public places capable of causing public disorder or breach of peace in Borno.

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