Bill to establish National Religious Harmony Commission passes second reading in Senate

The Senate has passed through second reading a bill to establish the National Religious Harmony Commission.

The proposed legislation seeks to establish the commission to serve as an intervention to promote religious tolerance, peace, and harmony in Nigeria.

The sponsor of the bill Senator Sadiq Umar explained that having realized the sensitive role religion plays in national security, peace, and harmony, it is important to promote inter-religious harmony and understanding because of the country’s history of religious intolerance.

He said the bill seeks to create an enabling environment for the peaceful coexistence of different religious beliefs within Nigeria as well as provide a forum for public enlightenment and dialogue.

The lawmaker noted that doing so would limit controversy and confrontation over allegations of discrimination based on religious identities to check the insidious effects of religious bigotry, profiling, stereotyping, violence, discrimination, extremism and hate speech.

According to him, the Commission would, among others, ensure the protection of the right to religious freedom, assist victims of religious discrimination or violations, and investigate cases of religious extremism and hate speeches.

It will also detect and curtail early warning signals of acts capable of triggering religious tension in the country.(Channels TV)

•PHOTO: Nigerian Senate