BAUCHI, Nigeria – Governor Bala Mohammed on Sunday assured Christians in the state of a conducive environment to practice their faith as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The governor gave the assurance at the inauguration of the newly elected officials of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
While emphasising that the Nigerian constitution recognises the country as a secular nation, Governor Mohammed called on the state CAN leadership to always promote peaceful coexistence among people of the state.
Governor Mohammed, who was represented at the event by the Executive Chairman of Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children Agency (BAVOCA), Mrs Hassana Arkila, submitted that meaningful development and progress could only be achieved in a peaceful atmosphere.
The governor said no person could be free enough to practice their religions in a chaotic atmosphere where there was no peace.
He assured of his administration’s commitment to promoting religious tolerance and warned those bent on fomenting trouble using religion to stay clear of the state as the administration would deal with them.
Mohammed said the state was bigger than any individual, no matter who such a person is, adding that as such no one would be allowed to turn the state to a religious battlefield.
Speaking on the current insurgency in the North-East geopolitical zone, the governor said this could only be successfully tackled when all hands were joined in the fight, declaring that the war against insurgents could not be fought alone by the government.
He then advised the new CAN officials to avoid bitterness among themselves and work together to ensure peace among the body of Christ in the state.
In his remarks at the event, the Emir of Bauchi, Dr Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, admonished Christians to live in peace with everyone in the state, saying that Christianity is a religion of peace and peaceful living.
Represented by the Wakilin Wajen Bauchi, Rev Saleh Abdu Talan, the royal father tasked the new CAN leadership in the state not only to unite the church but also preach peace and peaceful living.
The Emir said Bauchi State had in the past experienced religious crises, but that the state needed peace now more than ever.
In his farewell message, outgoing CAN Chairman, Reverend Joshua Ray Maina, called for unity in the body of Christ in the state.
According to him, Christians across Nigeria had suffered enough of persecution due to the fact that there was no unity among them.
Giving his six-year stewardship, Maina said that his leadership did its possible best, particularly in leading CAN out of crisis and was leaving office with shoulders high.
He then charged the incoming CAN officials to be courageous in running the affairs of the association to make it all-inclusive for the good of the Christian community in the state.
In his speech, the new Chairman, Reverend Abraham Damina Dimeus, assured that his leadership will not derail in promoting peace, unity and cooperation among Christians in the state.
He called on those that are used to causing division in the church to desist from such, warning that his administration will not tolerate gossip, side talks and moves that will divide the church.