The Muslim community in Bayelsa State has been urged to continually preach peace and mutual co-existence among different religious groups in the country.
Governor Seriake Dickson made the call when a delegation of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Bayelsa State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
The Governor implored Muslims to dwell less and de-emphasise those issues that tend to polarize the nation, pointing out that most of the differences being experienced are as a result of lack of understanding and the selfish tendencies of a few persons.
His words: “In your mosques and meetings continue to preach the gospel of unity, tolerance and peaceful co-existence because every part of this country needs the other part to move forward. And the greatness of the country is our size, our population and diversity”.
While felicitating with the Muslims on the New Year celebrations, Governor Dickson thanked them for their continued prayers and support during the governorship elections saw him emerge as Governor of the State.
He also appreciated them for their peaceful conduct, noting that his administration’s commitment to the maintenance of peace and security as well as the efforts of security agencies have culminated in making Bayelsa one of the most peaceful states in the country.
Responding to their requests, Governor Dickson, who pledged to support the Muslim Imam in the state, directed the leadership of the council to liaise with the secretary to the state Government regularly.
Earlier in their separate remarks, the leader of the delegation and President, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Bayelsa State council, Alhaji Isah Livewell Ogbotobo expressed appreciation to the state government for sponsoring Muslims in the state to the 2012 holy pilgrimage to Mecca.
According to them, one hundred and fourteen pilgrims embarked on the journey to the holy land from the State, adding that the hajj report has been submitted to the Secretary to the state Government for onward transmission to him.
They appealed to the Governor to continue to extend his hand of fellowship to the Muslim community in the state as they are part and parcel of the state.
The council commended the state government for its massive transformation in all sectors of the economy while predicting a bright future for the state in 2013.
They equally used the occasion to solicit government’s support to enable Muslims build a central mosque in the state disclosing that six plots of land is already available at Ogbogoro area of the state capital for the purpose.