Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has cautioned against inciting religious intolerance among the diverse religious groups in the state, urging for the existing peace in the state to be sustained.
This is just as Engineer Sule condemned all the provocative and inciting videos trending on social media, seeking to divide the people according to religion ahead of the March 11 governorship election.
The governor warned against the use of religion or tribe in politics during a meeting with leaders of the Jaamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), at the Government House, on Saturday.
Engineer Sule decried the attempts to cause religious disharmony by some people through unguarded utterances, calling on citizens of the state to desist from acts capable of disrupting the peace existing in the state.
According to him, Nasarawa State cannot afford a religious war, because of it’s heterogeneous, with members of the same family belonging to either Christianity or Islam.
He pointed out that, Nasarawa State has always been seen as a peaceful state and as such cannot afford to allow politics to divide the people.
“The essence of the meeting in reality is because of a very unfortunate situation that is beginning to unfold in our state.
“We have always been seen as a state that is very peaceful, a state that has been able to receive not only the multi ethnic groups that we have in the state but also the various religions. In Nasarawa State, just like in other states, you can find from the same mother and father, those who practise the two different religions.
“It’s not out of place to find partners also who are in that category. And definitely, it’s not out of place also to find siblings that belong to the two different religions. We cannot afford whatsoever, to begin a religious war in Nasarawa State,” he stated.
Engineer Sule pleaded with the religious leaders to intercede by using their offices to caution their followers on the use of inciting utterances for political gains.
He emphasized that, religious crisis will only set the development of the state backward, just like religious crisis destroyed Beirut, one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East.
“I think a lot of you who visit the social media have seen a lot of voices, people who are tearing the state apart in the name of politics. Politics is not about destruction, it’s about presenting who you are, what you are and get elected. We can’t be using politics of religion and ethnicity because these will not be the basis for electing people,” he stated.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, Imam Mohammed Ali, Secretary-General, Jamaatul Nasrul Islam (JNI), Nasarawa State chapter, lamented the proliferation of provocative videos on social media, which he said, has the potency to incite religious intolerance.
Imam Ali appreciated the Governor for convening the meeting, stressing that, he will take the message via Mosques cutting across the state, for Muslim faithful to desist henceforth from circulating such unguarded utterances.
Also speaking, state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Very Reverend Sunday Emma, expressed appreciation to the Governor for convening the meeting, adding that, CAN was initially apprehensive over the provocative messsages trending on social media.
Reverend Emma said after the meeting with Engineer Sule, CAN will convey the message of peace to Christians using the Church as a platform, urging the faithful not to develop apathy towards the March 11 governorship election.
“We call on every Christian, not just Christian, every well meaning Nigerian, especially in Nasarawa State to come out and vote. There is every assurance that there will be security. Moreso, anyone who wants to disrupt the peace we are enjoying in Nasarawa State will not be allowed to do so,” he stated.