The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, on Thursday tasked the Muslim community in the state on the need to be law abiding and ensure a harmonious and peaceful co-existence in the conduct of their affairs, in line with the government’s posture on zero tolerance for crime.
Governor Dickson, who gave the charge when members of the state chapter of Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, led by its President, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa, said Bayelsa is home to all Nigerians regardless of ethno-religious and political differences.
Mr Dickson, according to a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Francis Agbo, urged the people of the state to cooperate with law enforcement agencies by providing useful information on the activities of criminals, noting that, it is the collective responsibility of all to promote peace and stability.
Commending the Muslim community for its peaceful disposition, Governor Dickson observed that, there has not been any major incident of conflict involving the Muslims in the state and urged them to sustain the prevailing peace, as Bayelsa has been adjudged as one of the most peaceful states in the country.
Responding to their request for sponsorship to holy pilgrimage, Mr Dickson explained that, for now, government lacked the financial capacity to sponsor, both intending Christian and Muslim pilgrims to the holy lands.
He, however said, in no distant time, the government would institute a policy, whereby his administration would support churches, mosques, organisations and the private sector, towards assisting intending pilgrims.
His words: “I want to commend all of you; I want to say that, we are happy with the moslem community in this state. Let me commend all of you for the peaceful way you have been going about your activities so far. In this state, we have not had challenges; we have not had negative reports about the conduct of our moslem brothers and sisters and so you all deserve a round of applause. I want to request that you keep it that way.
“The government of Bayelsa state is a government for all people. All Nigerians and all human beings, who live in Bayelsa state. In this state, I have said it over and over again that everybody who is here is a Bayelsan irrespective of where you come from and feel free to practice your religion and carry on with your business but you to respect and abide by the laws of this country and the laws of this state.
“I urge you to continue to work closely with our security leaders and they are on to listen to you to get information from you about activities of people who want to create problems in this peaceful state. Those from other places who may want to come here and hide under any guise to create any problem, we call on you, just as we call on all residents of Bayelsa to identify them; people whose mission and livelihoods are suspicious, let us know. The security agencies are there to work with you quietly to fish out any bad egg.
“We want to work with all of you, with all leaders of state, both Christians as well as Muslims to ensure that the peace and stability that we have worked hard to establish continues to remain.” I want to use this opportunity to congratulate all of you for going through your religious obligation in the holy month of Ramadan.”
Earlier in his remarks, the President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Bayelsa State chapter, Yakubu Otobo, had commended Governor Dickson for his visionary leadership and dogged commitment to the development of the state, especially in the areas of education, security, infrastructure and other key sectors of the economy.
Mr Otobo also expressed appreciation to the restoration government on its policies and programmes, particularly as regards non-indigenes in Bayelsa, which he noted, has given them a sense of belonging, since the inception of his administration.
He prayed God to grant Governor Dickson and his restoration team the wisdom, strength and goodwill to steer the ship of state to greater heights and solicited the state government’s assistance in the provision of a bus for the chapter, which the governor granted.