Obstructions to traffic by any religious group may also be considered
The National Conference Committee on Religion has commenced consideration of a proposal which will mandate a body to audit the accounts and finances of all registered churches, mosques, and temples annually.
This followed a memorandum submitted to the Committee on Monday by a delegate to the Conference, Jonathan Obaje, who canvassed the auditing of all registered religious organizations, groups, centres, churches, mosques or temples by a special religion account auditors.
In the memorandum to the Conference Committee on Religion, Mr. Obaje, who represents Diaspora (Asia) said the aim was to protect religion from being hijacked by criminals who used it against gullible innocent citizens.
He recommended that the head of the team to audit any registered religious organizations should be from a different religion.
Mr. Obaje, an indigene of Kogi State noted that chapter IV Section 38 of the1999 Constitution had made adequate provisions for the rights of citizen to religion, which should be upheld without amendment.
He however suggested that the following should be made religious crimes punishable under the law in the country:
-Mounting of loud speakers on churches, mosques and temples which disturb personal and public peace of other citizens who may not subscribe to the particular religion should be prohibited and punishable by law. The noise pollution and health hazards created by this growing trend can no longer be tolerated. Every citizen deserves to be protected by the law in this regards;
-Religious buildings located in any community with population density of more than 1,000 persons per square kilometre should be sound-proof such that nobody outside the building can hear any sound from inside the building;
-The broadcast of religion programs on public media should be prohibited. Provisions should be made for licensing of exclusive Religious channels;
-Religious prayers at official and public functions should be prohibited. Only the National pledge can be recited at official and public functions. Public function, in this case, is any gathering of a group of persons not for religious activities and in which there is one or more persons who may not subscribe to the religion in which the prayer is being conducted;
-Obstructions to traffic by any religious group should be prohibited by law. This shall include, but not limited to, setting up road block, parking of vehicles on roads near religious buildings, centres, or activities. This should attract heavy fines or jail terms for key officials;
-Religious organizations, groups, centres, churches, mosques or temples must keep proper register of auditable membership. Any religious organization, group, centre, church, mosque or temple with membership of 100 persons and above should be properly registered with CAC within 12 months of attaining membership of 100 persons;
-The accounts and finances of all registered religious organizations, groups, centres, churches, mosques or temples must be audited annually by a special religion account auditors. The head of the auditors to any registered religious organization, group, centre, church, mosque or temple shall be from a different religion;
-All funds or monies donated or accrued must be properly declared and lodged into the bank account of the religious entity within a week of receiving such monies or funds. Misused of funds donated or accrued to religious organizations, groups, centres, churches, mosques or temples should be made a serious crime. Salaries and allowances of staff of registered religious organizations, groups, centres, churches, mosques or temples should be decided by all registered members and made public;
-Government sponsorship of religion activities should be prohibited. Nigerian government and its agents should withdraw from all national and international religious organizations forthwith;
-No religious centre, church, mosque or temples shall be located on the premises of a government or public institution. Individual or group of individuals shall however be allowed to perform their private religious rights within the premises of a government or public institution to the extent that the rights of other citizens are not compromised, trampled or violated;
-Speeches, sermons, preaching and teachings which make derogatory statement about other religions should be prohibited and punishable by law. Religious organizations, groups, centres, churches, mosques or temples should be allowed earn their relevance and respect by making positive contributions to the community and society and not by verbal condemnation of other religions; and
-No multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society or nation like Nigeria has ever risen to greatness without a legal framework to protect citizens’ rights to religion and the laws to punish misuse of religion. The diaspora representative posits that Nigeria cannot aspire to greatness without protecting its moral values from religious criminals.