Bayelsa State Government has identified religious intolerance as a major contributory factor of conflicts, wanton destruction of lives and property as well as lack of sustainable development in the country.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the assertion when the leadership of Association of South-South Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo lamented that Nigeria ranks among countries in the world with an unenviable record of high religious intolerance where the sanctity of life has been reduced to almost nothing.
He insisted that several lives and property were being lost on a daily basis to conflicts caused by religious fanatics, who had veered away from obeying the commandment of love as espoused by the founders of the religions they profess.
The Deputy Governor opined that God recognizes religious diversity; otherwise He would have compelled man to practice only one religion all over the world.
He said the Governor Douye Diri-led Administration would continue to provide and maintain the enabling environment for all religions to thrive in the state within the confines of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
To this end, Senator Ewhrudjakpo assured that the state government would not discriminate between Christians and Muslims in the sponsorship of pilgrimages to their respective Holy lands.
Responding to their requests of having a State Muslims’ Pilgrim Board as well as a central mosque in Yenagoa, the state capital, he promised to brief the Governor on the issues.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Association of South-South Muslim Ummah of Nigeria, Alhaji Nasir Uhor, commended the present administration’s efforts at fostering peace and harmony among the various religions in the state.
He explained that the creation of a separate pilgrims board for the Muslim Ummah in the state would make for greater efficiency in the management of pilgrimage activities.