By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has charged leaders of religious bodies in the country, particularly Lagos to remain peaceful and tolerant of one another in spite of religion and tribal sentiments.
Sanwo-Olu gave the charge, Wednesday, in his address on the occasion to mark the “The Year 2019 International Day for Tolerance,” with the theme: “Enhancing Harmonious Relationship and Peace among religious bodies for better socio-economic development in the state,” held in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
The United Nation has set aside every 16th November to celebrate International Day for Tolerance in view of growing global conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life.
The event was attended by the wife of Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluremi Hamzat and various religious leaders, such as Rev. Dr Kehinde Babarinde, President Lagos Baptist Conference, who was also a Lecturer on the occasion, Sheik Abdul-Rahman Ahmad, Chief Missioner, Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria, among others.
The governor said the call became necessary in view of the era of rising and violent extremism and widening conflicts that are characterized by a fundamental disregard for human life.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs Hamzat, described the theme as apt, saying, “Here, we are in our country where some people are still beating the drums of war over religion and tribe.
He continued: “However, despite being the most cosmopolitan state that houses every tribe and religion in Nigeria, Lagos has remained a very peaceful and tolerant state in terms of religion and tribal inclinations.
“This has helped our economy and invariably our socioeconomic development. We have different individual representing different tribes and religions, coexisting in peace and engaging in one trade and commerce or the other.
“Much as we are not taking this granted, we have continued to create a more enabling environment for more interactions among all religions in Lagos State.
“Tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference; rather it is the respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world cultures, our forms of expression.
“Let us be proud of our cultural diversity and our great accomplishment even in civilization.
“As Nigerians, we pride ourselves in our unique expectations of dutiful, respectful and decent leadership and governance, our love of the beautiful and even elegant life coupled with our dedication to societal progress and orderliness and our general orientation towards mutual help and collaboration in the quest for a better life.
“It is in view of the above that I encourage everyone particularly the Lagosians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and togetherness. ”
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuuf, in her address noted that the World is naturally bedevilled with wars, riots, communal clashes, mob lynching among different violent actions that occur across the clock in some parts of the World.
She said Lagos State, despite being a cosmopolitan State and commercial nerve centre of the nation had its fair share of violence in the past. She recalled the Idiaraba Mayhem, Mile 12 Market crisis, Festac riots and few others. Even though the crises were long over, many still count their losses.
According to Akibile-Yusuuf: “Tolerance is the only weapon of building, peace and combating intolerance in the form of racism and discrimination that too-often tears our Societies apart.
“Lagos State Government is not leaving any stone unturned to sustain and maintain the peaceful coexistence of all Lagosians.
“The Government is adequately mobilizing the security agents and spending so much on education and enlightenment of the citizen. ”
She, therefore, urged all to continue to join hands together with the state government to promote tolerance for socio-economic development of the state.