Lagos inaugurates 798 NIREC members to promote religious harmony

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode. PHOTO: LASG

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has called for enhanced cooperation and collaboration by Muslims, Christians and people of other faiths at the grassroots, to deepen the level of religious freedom and promote tolerance, understanding and spirit of neighborliness in the state.

Ambode, who was represented by the Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr. AbdulLateef Abdulhakeem, recently sworn in 798 members to represent Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) across the 20 local government and 37 local council development areas in the state.

Ambode said since NIREC was established at the national level, Lagos alone has been proactive, by going ahead to establish the state chapter of NIREC, and by consciously upgrading and enhancing NIREC’s operations due to the continuous rewards from the council’s activities.

He emphasise that Lagos was occupying prime position among other states in the country, principally because Lagos “does not joke with the issue of spirituality content of development, and in turn the spiritual leaders have not abandoned the State,”

He therefore commended NIREC for ensuring that potential problems were always nip in the bud, as Lagos has never recorded any religious or ethnic conflict.

To increase from NIREC initiative, Ambode said, it has become necessary to take NIREC to the local levels. While reiterating that his administration “is about the people in the grassroots”, the governor said “Today marks a milestone in the anal of governance in the State as NIREC is introduced to the local government authorities and local council development areas; today is another promised fulfilled.”

He enjoined participants to see themselves as the representative of the government on religious matters at the local level, and thus must show leadership by exhibiting high level of moral and spiritual responsibilities. “You are chosen by God; show Godly attitude.”

In his own contribution, the commissioner reminded participants that Christians and Muslims shared a lot in common, and if all the people in the communities were made to understand this, that, there would not be any reason for conflict .

He said Christians and Muslims “are similar in many respect” as among others they believed in Oneness of God, preach tolerance and understanding, propagate freedom of worship.

The Commissioner said he foresaw a future when Christians would be fighting the cause of Muslims and Muslims would be fighting the cause of Christians, based on high moral values and larger societal interest, rather than pecuniary or other selfish emotional interests.

The Chairman NIREC (Muslim), Sheikh, Dr. Tajudeen Yussuf, said Islam and Christianity must indeed come together more now for the sake of both religions and for the sake of larger society.

He said both religions “are losing ground, because of new values that question ideal morality and ethics, and increasing adoption of such. Values and morals as preached by holy Bible and holy Quiran “are being held hostage”

He advised that both faiths must confront emerging values such as amoral and immoral ways, propagation of violence, obscene display of nudity, same sex marriage and other ungodly practices, adding that the two religions must recover lost ground and this should be easy because both faiths have a lot in common.

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