PFN Files Contempt Proceedings against Kaduna Assembly for Disobeying Court Order

1

By John Shiklam in Kaduna

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has initiated contempt proceedings against the Kaduna State House of Assembly.

The counsel to the PFN, Sunny Akanni, disclosed this in an interview on Monday in Kaduna.

He said the speaker of the house, Abdullahi Shangali, risk a jail term if the house is found guilty of disobeying a court order.

Akanni said the PFN had in February 2017, filed a suit at the state High Court, presided over by Justice Hajaratu Gwadah, challenging the constitutionality of the state Religious Preaching Regulation bill.

According to him, on April 5, 2017, the court granted the PFN an interlocutory order restraining the house from taking any action on the bill “either by way of public hearing or doing anything whatsoever on the subject matter of this case”until the determination of the substantive suit.

He said he was shocked that despite the court order, the house went ahead to pass the bill at its last plenary which held on June 7, 2019 presided by Shagali.

According to him, the speaker had been served with form 48, adding that unless the house obeyed the court order, the speaker will be guilty of contempt of court and will go to jail.

A copy of the form 48, “Notice of consequence of disobedience to court order”, dated June 13, 2019, accompanied by the court order and addressed to the speaker reads:

”The Speaker, Kaduna State House of Assembly, take notice that unless you obey the direction contained in this order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison.”

The passage of the executive bill, which seeks to regulate religious preaching in the state, has attracted mix reactions from both Christians and Muslims, with some opposed to it while others said it is a welcome development.