By Martha Agas
Gov Simon Lalong of Plateau has tasked Muslims to intensify prayers for Nigeria following the increasing woes of security challenges.
The governor made the call on Monday at Government House, Jos, during a dinner (Iftar) organised by him for Muslim faithful in the state.
He said concerted efforts were required to address the security challenges militating the country, particularly the kidnapping of students in schools.
“We are passing through a difficult situation with insecurity becoming very worrisome.
“Government and security agencies are doing their best, but we have to encourage them and pray for them as we demand more action. Security as they say is everybody’s business,” he said.
He urged religious leaders to pray for leadership of the nation at all levels, for wisdom in tackling its challenges, saying the country is in a trying period, while tasking them to live by example.
“Avoid using the pulpit for politics and preaching hate and division. Government will not stand by and allow anybody to incite people against one another, because of religion or other differences. The law is there to moderate our conduct,” he said.
He also tasked Nigerians to pray for religious leaders , as some of them may be under pressure to make inciting comments.
The governor said security is one of his major priorities because it is critical for development, while urging Plateau people to cooperate with the state government to sustain peace in the state.
“Already, we have started reaping the benefits of peace as more and more people are coming into Plateau State to invest and live.
“Local and International organisations are falling over one another to hold events in Plateau State which is a clear departure from the past,” he said.
He said the state was already reaping the benefits of peace , with the establishment of Northern Central Coordinating office of the Nigerian Shippers Council and efforts towards establishing a Maritime Resource Centre worth over N15 billion naira.
He said the dinner is an opportunity for Plateau people, irrespective of differences in religion, ethnicity, political persuasions and other differences, to interact to pray for the progress of Plateau and to foster harmonious coexistence.
Earlier in his remarks, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase, thanked the governor for the initiative, saying it would foster tolerance and harmonious living in the state.
He prayed for the success of Lalong’s administration and progress in the state, while commending the governor for his inclusive style of governance.
In his remarks, the chairman of Jama’atu Nasril Islam(JNI) in Plateau and Emir of Wase, Alhaji Muhammadu Haruna, lauded Lalong for his efforts in facilitating religious tolerance in the state.
He prayed for God’s guidance for the governor in his discharge of duties, saying ‘God will guide and see you to the end of your tenure in good health and prosperity’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Special prayers were conducted by Muslim clerics for security and peace in Plateau and Nigeria, and wisdom for Nigerian leaders.
NAN further reports that guests at the dinner also included officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Plateau Branch, and other clerics from the Christian denomination. (NAN)