2 October 2009

Nigeria: Suntai Vows to Promote Religious Teachings

Jalingo — Alarmed by the high increase in juvenile delinquency and moral laxity among youths, Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State has vowed to use all resources at his disposal in supporting moral and religious teachings targeted at children.

According to Suntai, the only way to reduce the high increase in crime and other vices to save the nation from collapse is to start training children in the right direction because they are the leaders of the future generation. He enjoined religious leaders and parents to show serious commitment to the moral and spiritual upliftment of the children by teaching them the holy books.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 16th Taraba State Qur'anic Recitation Competition on Tuesday in Bali town, Taraba State, Suntai said his administration is strongly behind both the Christian and Islamic faiths since both religions teach peace, love and unity. He promised to support them whenever they are in need.

"I am strongly behind the competition and the teachings of the two religions and I am committed to give them all my support beyond their expectation," he said.

Speaking earlier, the state coordinator of the competiton, Alhaji Abubakar Kamri, explained that Qur'anic recitation competition started in Egypt as a national contest before Saudi Arabia took over and made it an international event and Nigeria started the national event in 1987 before joining the international contest subsequently.

He disclosed that Taraba first participated in the national contest in 1994 and in 2004 a young boy of about 15 years old from the state represented Nigeria at the international contest in Mecca, where he emerged the first runner-up in his category.

Abubakar, who is also the national coordinator of the competition, lamented that despite the pride and achievements that many Nigerian youths are bringing to the nation in promoting religious activities, less attention is being given by government in this regard. He noted that government prefers to reward sporting youths, especially footballers, than other achievements.

He said the only way to promote moral virtues in the society was by rewarding young people that perform excellently in religious activities in order to motivate and encourage them.

He explained that the competition was in six stages, with males and females participating in all the stages. He said those eligible to join the male category must not exceed 25 years of age while the female category has no age barrier. At the end of the event the winners in all the six stages in all the categories would represent the state at the national event coming up in Sokoto State in October, he said.

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