Ilorin – The Federal Government has appealed to Churches and other religious organisations to use their platforms to propagate the achievements of the President Muhammadu Buhari led Administration.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the appeal at his country home, Oro, near Ilorin, Kwara, when he paid a Sallah visit to the Parish Priest of St Andrews Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Joseph Awoyale.
He also urged the Churches to use their platform to correct the erroneous conception being circulated by naysayers that Farmerrs/Herdsmen were religious and ethnic induced.
Mohammed said the clashes were neither religious nor ethnic but resulted from the heightened contest for increasingly-scarce natural resources like land and water, due to demographic, environmental and other reasons.
On the progress made by the government, the minister said, “without any form of contradiction, no administration in the history of this country has achieved so much in so little a time and with so little resources in the area of infrastructure.
“However, most of our detractors realising that they cannot fault us on this never talk about the projects rather they are inventing fake news to de-market the administration.
“Also, governors that have not performed will like to heap the blame on the Federal Government.
“But I challenge any of them to match what they have done in the area of infrastructure compare to the Federal Government intervention projects in the state.
“Be rest assured that this administration is committed to infrastructural renewal of this country and we are leaving no stone unturned,” he said.
The minister said that the administration was working to undo the 20 years of damage by the previous governments.
“If a government comes in three years and able to revive, complete and make provision for abandoned infrastructure, it is only fair for the people to appreciate.
“Admit that the government has responsibility to provide infrastructure, we also expect some degree of honesty from the people and community.
We want informed criticism of this administration and we believe that the Church is a better place because you control and influence many souls.
We are not asking anybody to do us an undue favour.
“Where we have performed, people should appreciate and accept it and if they don’t want to, they should stop spreading false information about this government.
The minister stated further that the killings in some parts of the country, which were purely criminal and unacceptable, have been latched upon by many to divide the two religions.
“Thank God the killings have now gone down drastically, thanks to the efforts of the security forces.
“Today, the rhetoric coming out of religious organisations are divisive, incendiary and provocative. They are not healthy for peaceful co-existence and should be stopped forthwith.
“Thank God that those who sought to give the clashes between farmers and herders in Benue and Taraba, among others, a religious coloration have failed. The clashes are neither religious nor ethnic,” he said
The minister congratulated the Parish Priest and the church for attaining the centenary of Catholicism in Oro town.
He said: “A hundred years in the life of any person or organisation is no mean feat, hence it is always worthy of celebration.
“We have been invited to this celebration, which comes up in Oct 29 to Nov. 1 2018, and we will play our part in the celebration.
He said the Catholic Church in Oro was a shining example of religious harmony and peaceful coexistence for, several years, making its premises available, free of charge, for the annual Ramadan lecture, which he organised.
“Now, I am sure that, against the background of the acrimony and mutual suspicion that many religious leaders are promoting today, many cannot believe that a church will throw its gates open to a Muslim.
“But that’s what this Catholic church did for many years Ramadan lecture held annually attended by chiefs of the town, 80 per cent of whom are Christians
“The lesson from this is that the religious disharmony that is being propagated today by some religious leaders is avoidable, and that adherents of the two major religions do not have to be enemies,” he said.
Responding, the parish priest, who said he is partly Muslim and partly Christian by parentage, appreciated the minister for the visit.
He commended the Buhari administration for reconstructing the Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road which he said was hitherto a death trap.
“We thank the administration for that and we hope and pray that they will do more for us it term of roads. I must say to you that we need those roads to be able to connect to villages and towns.
“I tell people that a performing administration does not need to campaign. your programmes and achievements will campaign for you.
Is it the N-POWER? A lot of people are benefitting from that, is it the roads? many are benefitting. We will just
continue to encourage you to continue to work for a better Nigeria.
Awoyale also hailed the government’s town hall meetings, which he said were bringing government closer to the people. (NAN)