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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Thursday, marked the Eid-el-Maulud festival with the Muslim community even as he approved an 18-seater bus for Islams in the state.
Diri, who hosted the adherents of Islam at the Government House in Yenagoa, sued for an indivisible and peaceful Nigeria where all tribes and religions would co-exist in love, noting that with religious tolerance, the country can forge ahead as a people with one destiny to make the country richer and greater.
The governor’s spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as expressing delight with the peaceful disposition of the Muslim community in the state.
He said Bayelsa is predominantly Christian but his government will continue to encourage good neighborliness between the two religions.
He said: “We want a united Nigeria. We want a Nigeria of love, of equity, of justice and where we can live together and respect each other’s right and religion. We want a country where we can remove the sentiments of tribe and religion.
“We have always been talking about one Nigeria; a Nigeria that will exude love, that is united and that wherever you find yourself, you can it make a home. I am very sure that our Muslim brothers and sisters have a home in Bayelsa.
“Here you are not non-indigenes. You can only say you are non-natives of Bayelsa. You are indigenes of Nigeria and you are welcome to Bayelsa. Every right that the indigenes here enjoy, we extend it to you.
“May I seize this opportunity to invite all of you to join your hands with us in the development of Bayelsa and our country, Nigeria.”
In response to some of the request of the Muslim leaders, Diri approved an 18-seater bus and noted that the appeal for the building of a befitting central mosque would follow the appropriate channel for award of a contract.
On the request for a separate pilgrims board to accommodate the Muslims, the governor stated that the best solution is to ensure that they were well represented in the existing board that caters to the welfare of both Christians and Muslims.
He also promised them quality representation in his government by way of appointment.
He advised the Muslims to continuously live harmoniously with the natives of the state and particularly commended them for toeing the path of peace in the wake of the recent nationwide protests, which snowballed into pockets of crisis in the country.
Speaking earlier, president of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in the state, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo, said the Muslim community remained resolute in their support for Governor Diri’s Prosperity Administration.
Alhaji Otobo thanked the governor for hosting them, saying it was an honour to Muslims in the state.
He pledged that they will continue to preach and live in peace everywhere they are in the state.