- Governor Akinwunmi Ambode directs the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) to count all the religious centers in the state
- He also inaugurates hundreds of new members of the NIREC
- Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) reveals the full list of demands it made to President Muhammadu Buhari
Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode has inaugurated 798 members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC).
The new members, seven Muslims and seven Christians each, are appointed for the 20 local governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) in Lagos, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The governor, who was represented by Commissioner for Home Affairs Dr AbdulHakeem Abdul-Lateef, said one of the first duties before the members is to count all the churches, mosques and other religious organisations in the state.
He said: “You must ensure that you compile a list of all churches, all mosques, all faith-based organisations and forward same to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“I must also urge you to work closely with the local government chairman and all other officials at the local government level.
“You are working directly with NIREC at the state level.
“Always make sure that you relate any matter that is beyond your capacity to the state NIREC and through the state NIREC, it will get to my office as the governor of Lagos State.
“Your meetings will hold quarterly and I urge you to have extra-ordinary meetings in cases of emergencies.
“I urge you to cooperate with the local government officials and do your best to promote peace and orderliness at the local government level.”
Dr Israel Akinadewo, the co-chairman (Christian) of the state NIREC, said that religious leaders must always educate their followers.
He said: “A Christian leader is a Christian whose actions and inactions are not only Christ-like but serves as a good example to younger Christians.
“Also in a country like Nigeria and irrespective of what they do for a living, many people are majorly Christians and Muslims.
“Within the NIREC, the people respect the opinions of their leaders, who they refer to as the representatives of God.
“Hence their views on any matter are taken very seriously.
“Religious leaders should not encourage wars, hatred and vengeance.
“They are to be firm in the discipline of any of their followers who take steps that work contrary to Godly teachings."
In his own response, Dr Tajudeen Yusuf, the co-chairman (Muslim) of the state NIREC, said that the inauguration of the council at the local government level would ensure that peace reign among all people of diverse religious and ethnic groups in the state.
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He said: “Today, we are inaugurating the members of NIREC at grassroots and it is a proactive step on the part of our governor to ensure that the monumental development that Lagos State is witnessing today is not taken for granted.
“Muslims and Christians are in a better position to ensure that we continue to have peace and inter-religious dialogue as well as peaceful co-existence in Lagos State.
“We are, by this inauguration, taking inter-religious dialogue to the grassroots so that when crises arise, they are quickly nipped in the bud.’’
Muslim Folami, Lagos state’s commissioner for local government and community affairs, said that inaugurating the NIREC activities at the grassroots would make it easier to curtail religious crisis.
He also commended the governor for his community-based initiatives.
The religious organization revealed the full details of its demands to President Buhari after a closed-door meeting held between its leadership and the president on Friday, November, 10.
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