Daily Champion (Lagos)

Nigeria: No Religious Crisis in Edo

Religious leaders and royal fathers in Edo State have said the recent incident that led to the partial torching of a school near a Mosque in Benin City, the state capital was merely instigated by hoodlums with political intention, to undermine the peaceful coexistence which adherents of different faith have enjoyed over the years.

Rising from a meeting called at the instance of Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhiole yesterday to x-ray the remote and immediate cause of the violent eruption in order to forestall further occurrence, both religious leaders and royal fathers unanimously agreed that the pockets of violence recorded during the fuel subsidy removal protests in the state had no religious undertone as being alleged in some quarters.

Alhaji Isa, the Serikin Hausawa of Benin Kingdom, said religious intolerance is strange in Edo State where he has lived for the upward of 40 years and blamed political intolerance for the unfortunate incident.

"Hausa community has been protected by the host community as though we were indigenes of the state without any fear or molestation. It is unfortunate that the industrial action declared by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) was hijacked by street urchins", he said.

Haliru Momoh, Ikelebe 11 and Otaru of Auchi, said the ugly incident was predestined by Almighty Allah and called for the institution of Inter-Religious and Inter-Ethnic Group Council in the state for the purpose of harnessing the issues that unite us rather than those that separate us.

He promised to institute same in his district if granted the permission by the state government.

President of Benin Catholic Archdiocesan Laity Council, Rev. Father Humphrey Best Iriabe, His Royal Highness, Prof Gregory Iduorobo Akenzua, the Enogie of Evbuobanosa/Abudu and Chief Nosakhare Isekhure, the Isekhure of Benin Kingdom all advocated that the teaching of all faith should be included in the nation's academic curriculum in accordance with the secular nature of Nigeria state in order to thoroughly educate our children on morality.

Responding, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said that "the desired peace in our communities is achievable with the cooperation of Royal fathers and religious leaders in the country".

" Nigeria can achieve the desired peace with the collaboration of our royal fathers and religious leaders who live among their subjects in our neighbourhood on a daily bases", he said.

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