Lagos cautions scholars on hate preaching
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who disclosed this at a meeting with members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), held at the State Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja, said the government would not hesitate to sanction any cleric found wanting.
The governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Abdulhakeem Abdullateef, also disclosed that the state government would next year begin an inter-face religious conference from 2016.
According to him, the forum to be coordinated by NIREC would be such where all religious bodies in the state, irrespective of their denomination, will meet to interact in achieving harmony and peaceful co-existence in the society.
He explained that the government was aversed to religious leaders preaching hate messages that was capable of endangering people’s freedom and would do everything to stop it.
According to him, “Henceforth, we’ll start to monitor mosques and churches and ensure that clerics don’t engage in hate preaching.”
He said the government has embarked on enumeration of mosques and churches in the state, noting that there must be identification of Mosques and Churches.
“If a mosque or church is not captured in our list, it means such is not recognised by the government. We would give each and everyone of them an identification number,” he said.
On the request for creation of NIREC at the local government level as requested by the state chapter, Ambode assured that the government would make effort to establish the body at the grassroots, saying that such would assist in propagating the need for peaceful co-existence between people of both religion.
The co-chairman of NIREC, Dr. Saheed Timeyin, urged the state government to include Peace Education in primary and secondary schools in the state for younger ones to imbibe tolerance in their ways of life.
“We need to block our children from extremists tendencies in school,” he said.
The Vice Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Lagos chapter, Rev. Emmanuel Oguntoshin, assured the governor of Christians support for the state government to ensuring peaceful co-existence in Lagos State.