Bayelsa deputy governor: Religious intolerance bane of Nigeria’s development

The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the appeal last Thursday, when a delegation of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Sports Writers’ Association of Nigeria (SWAN) paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

Bayelsa State government on Monday bemoaned the high level of religious intolerance in Nigeria, stressing that it is responsible for the conflicts, wanton destruction of lives and property as well as lack of sustainable development in the country.

The Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated this when the leadership of the Association of South-South Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, paid him a visit in the Government House, Yenagoa.

He pointed out that Nigeria ranks among countries in the world with an unenviable record of high religious intolerance where the sanctity of life has been reduced to almost nothing.

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Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, said that several lives and property were being lost on a daily basis to conflicts caused by religious fanatics, who had veered away from obeying the commandment of love as espoused by the founders of the religions they profess.

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According to him, Governor Douye Diri-led administration would continue to provide and maintain the enabling environment for all religions to thrive in the state within the confines of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Ewhrudjakpo maintained that the state government would not discriminate between Christians and Muslims in the sponsorship of pilgrimages to their respective holy lands.

Responding to their requests for having a State Muslims’ Pilgrim Board as well as a central mosque in Yenagoa, the state capital, he promised to brief the governor on the issues.

Ewhrudjakpo said, “One of the issues causing problems in this country is the very high level of religious intolerance, which is not true worship of God. If God doesn’t want any religion to exist, He has the power to stop it.

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‘So, we should stop the unnecessary competition among our various religions and collaborate with one another in preaching and practising love for this country to move forward.

“For us in Bayelsa, we believe that we must provide a level playing ground for all faith-based organizations to practice their various religions. That is why we treat you (Muslims), the same way we treat Christians and even traditionalists.”

The chairman of the Association of South-South Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, Nasir Uhor, commended the present administration’s efforts at fostering peace and harmony among the various religions in the state.

He explained that the creation of a separate pilgrims board for the Muslim Ummah in the state would make for greater efficiency in the management of pilgrimage activities.

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