The Borno Governor appealed for peaceful co-existence among Borno residents.
The Governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, has felicitated with Christians on the celebration of Easter and sent his words of condolence and sympathy to those affected by the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed hundreds of lives in his state.
Mr. Shettima urged celebrating Christians to use the period which epitomises the selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ as a point of sober reflection and forgive one another of any grief they suffer by embracing even those who despise them.
In a statement signed by the governor and issued to journalists by his Commissioner for Home Affairs, Information and Culture, Inuwa Bwala, the governor said he was deeply saddened by the orgy of violence that has bedevilled the state in the past one year.
“The lessons of Easter as a period when Christians all over the World reflect on the excruciating experiences of Jesus Christ and His eventual triumph over death should never be lost on us, in our own period of challenges, sufferings and deprivations.
‘I charge all Christians to emulate the exemplary life of sacrifice, love and selflessness of Jesus Christ, by embracing other people; including those who despise you, in that brotherly affection, which has remain central to the teachings of your religion,” he said.
Mr. Shettima said he was “most saddened, more than any citizen, by the orgy of violence and savagery our state has been convulsed in, but I see hope cascading the horizon and I see light and the end of the tunnel, signaling an end to all the mayhem our citizens have been subjected to over the years.
“Sincerely, my heart goes out to all citizens, especially the victims of violence at this period, knowing the collective bitter experiences we are all passing through, irrespective of our individual faiths.
“I send my heartfelt condolences to all bereaved families throughout the state. I mourn with you. I share your pains, your anguish and your sorrows.”
The governor said Borno had always been a family, “built from a rainbow coalition of different ethnic groups and religions, united in their quest and determination to live together, and the events in the state have tested, but have not shaken my resolve to build a state forged from the anvils of our collective pains and losses.
“I always take pride in the fact that Borno is a replica of Nigeria, where every tribe and religion has always found accommodation. We cannot depart from that cherished nostalgia no matter the hiccups in our inter-tribal or religious relationships. To this end, I must admonish the resilience and perseverance of our citizens, who have chosen to stay on and identify with us in our quest to build a Borno state of our fore father’s dreams.
“I use this opportunity to thank all our friends, especially the press for the interest shown in the crisis that bedevils our state. We commend the maturity of their reporting so far, but I urge them to guard against inflammatory reports that may tend to compound the delicate situation we are faced with, or undermined efforts at restoration of peace to our dear state.
“I urge all citizens to allow our collective pains and losses remain constant reminders to us, that, there is no alternative to peaceful coexistence in our state. Our resolve to be one happy family, to learn from our mistakes, will surely defeat the forces that work against our progress.
“We must all use the period of Easter, and all other opportunities to pray to god Almighty for perpetual peace to reign in our dear Borno state.”