Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commended the Muslim community in the state for their support to his administration’s anti-grazing law.
Governor Diri gave the commendation on Thursday when he hosted Muslim faithful in Government House, Yenagoa, to mark this year’s Id-el-Fitri celebration.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted the governor as saying that he was pleased with the participation of the Muslim community prior to the passage of the bill and the subsequent enforcement of the law.
He stated that the anti-grazing law was not against any ethnic group but to ensure peace and order in the state.
The governor particularly thanked them for joining hands with government, citizens of the state and adherents of other religions to keep the peace and ensure mutual coexistence.
He said: “I like to commend you for your peaceful disposition throughout this period of fasting and prayer. I like to also appreciate and commend you for supporting and helping the government to keep the peace in Bayelsa State.
“I recall that even when we sent the Executive Bill to the House of Assembly on the burning issue of open grazing, you were part of it. You participated even at the level of the committee for the public hearing.
“When issues arise, you have never taken them to yourselves to seek help from other sources. You are always law abiding either to the constitution of Nigeria or the laws made by the government of Bayelsa State. You were holding meetings before and after the bill was signed into law. The law is not against Muslims nor anyone in our society but to ensure that we live peacefully and that there is order and mutual respect for the various parts that make up Bayelsa.”
While describing Nigeria as a circular country, Senator Diri said everyone was free to practice their religion and to eke out a living peacefully.
“Across humanity, you have criminals and all kinds of persons. Therefore, I like us to moderate the way we speak and the way we use words in condemning a particular religion or profiling of any ethnic group. We have different characters across various religions and ethnic groups.
“The most important thing is our ability to tolerate each other and our ability to resolve all issues when conflicts arise.”
Responding to requests made by the delegation, Governor Diri approved a bus for Muslim community and promised to address others when the economy of the state improves.
Speaking earlier, the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Bayelsa State, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo, commended the governor for his fatherly role in relating with different religious organisations.
Alhaji Otobo said this has endeared the governor to him and other Muslim faithful and strengthened their resolve to maintain peace and nip religious tension in the bud.
He appealed for more support from the government towards building a befitting central mosque as well as sponsorship of Muslims to pilgrimage.