The Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode has instructed the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), to collate a list of all religious and worship centres in the State so as to promote inter-religious dialogue and actively avert crisis when they spun up.
Ambode made the announcement during the inauguration of 798 NIREC members, appointed for the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in Lagos.
The Governor, represented by the Commissioner of Home Affairs, Abdul-Hakeem Abdul-Lateef, urged the Council members to collate the religious centres from the grassroots level.
“You must ensure that you compile a list of all Churches, all Mosques, all faith-based organizations 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.
Mr Abdul-Lateef stated that meetings would be held quarterly and members should relate cases which are beyond their control to the State NIREC, which would, in turn, get to the Governor’s office.
Reacting to the development, the Co-Chairman (Muslim) of the State NIREC, Tajudeen Yusuf, said the Governor’s decision to inaugurate the members at the local level would ensure monumental development in the State.
“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.”
The Co-Chairman (Christian), Israel Akinadewo, also advised that religious leaders should not incite war, violence and hatred in followers, who see them as a representative of God.
“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.”
NIREC is an independent body formed in 1999, by Nigeria’s two most recognized religion; Christianity and Islam.
One of its purposes is to provide habitual forum of discussion between the two faith and eliminate conflicts which hamper the Country’s growth and development.
The body comprises of 50 members, 25 each from both religion and co-chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, who acts as the leader of the Muslims in Nigeria, and the head of Christians in Nigeria, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).