Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has commended the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, Lagos Chapter (NIREC), for ensuring peace and harmony amongst all religions in the State, just as he urged its members to increase their advocacy, mediation and re-conciliatory activities at the grassroots, especially during this “electioneering period”.
Ambode gave the commendation in his keynote address at a workshop for Co-Chairmen of NIREC at the Local Government/Local Council Development Area levels themed: ‘Conflict Resolution and Peace Building’ held at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa on Monday.
Delivering the speech on behalf of Governor Ambode, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Toyin Awoseyi, said NIREC has an important role to play, especially in this electioneering period “to prevent conflict, bridge divides and build on the level of peace in the communities and local governments and local council development areas”.
He said religious leaders have the duty to educate the people on civil and political rights and responsibilities to proliferate knowledge that would empower the electorate and make them better able to exercise civil responsibilities and obligations.
In his presentation at the event, the Chairman Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) Lagos West, Dr. Julius Bamidele Odofin said Lagos has achieved tremendous development because of the level of peace and harmony among the diverse people in the State.
He commended Governor Ambode for decentralising NIREC and making it more vibrant and easy to interact with the residents of the State at the grassroots.
Dr. Odofin attested to the fact that investment in peaceful activities enhances the security of any society, saying the role of NIREC demands sacrifice, commitment, love for peace and harmony that can only be achieved through dialogue, interaction and enlightenment of all religious faithful in the State.
While presenting another paper from the point of view of Islam, Dr. Saheed Oluwarotimi Timeyin opined that the various religions within our society makes it mandatory for residents to aspire towards peaceful coexistence.
“Our multiplicity is to “test our faith” and Muslims and Christians, as enjoined in their respective scripture, must learn to accept and accommodate each other”, he declared.
He also urged NIREC to enhance the culture of dialogue to remove conflict, charging the body to quench religious extremism, serve the cause of peace and be wary of those who manipulate the scriptures by distorting religious teachings.