By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A Coalition of Northern Youth Groups has observed with patriotic disenchantment the worrisome trend of some politicians capitalizing on falsehood to fan the furnace of ethnic, religious or regional division just for self serving and fiendish gains while endangering the collective goodwill and peace.
The group expressed this at a World Press Conference held at the Arewa House in Kaduna on Tuesday September 3, 2019.
In the text of a statement read by the convener, Mohammed Sanni, the group said investigations showed that no mosque, but a private illegal structure was demolished.
“The recent wild rumor of an alleged demolition of a mosque located at Trans Amadi Road, GRA, Rivers State is not only false and misleading but intended to draw religious ire, stir political tension and widen the chasm of national division, which rather requires healing and bonding at this point in time.
“It should be noted that we immediately swung into action on hearing the disturbing news and have conducted an on the spot visit to the said location and our findings are very contrary to the falsehood being peddled.
“A diligent assessment of the location showed that even though structures were demolished around that area, none of such structures was or is a mosque building.
“On further interaction, with residents and the Muslim community in the area, we gathered that the said location being labelled as a mosque building belongs to an individual who was building his personal structure without government approval,” it stated.
It further explained that the said fellow had gone ahead to erect a foundation on the site ostensibly to wade off government action, he thereafter proceeded to unilaterally label the location as a mosque.
“Further findings led us to the clear revelation that the matter has been properly addressed by the relevant Courts and the government was acting within the precincts of the law.
“Judging from this, rationality should only dictate that if the property owner has/had any issue of contention, the Courts were and are still open to address his grievances rather than resorting to inflaming the polity with tense religious passions.
“Available statistics on religious tolerance clearly shows that the Executive governor of river state is far ahead of others and as such his name and person should not be drag to such issue all in the name of painting him black before our northern brother’s and sisters,” it added.
The coalition said that Wike’s policies are friendly and his administration operate a open door policy irrespective of your region and religion.
” And what else did u expect from a nationalist like him? we are aware of the plot against him and we shall enlighten our fellow youths from northern part of the country against such plot!
“We have also seen the gusto with which political horse traders and religious alarmists have taken the matter and have therefore deemed it of prime importance to address our youth throughout the North and also those resident in Port Harcourt to remain calm and maintain the peace as we are still in wide consultations.
” It should not be lost on everyone that the Governor of Rivers State – Chief Nyesom Wike is a very good friend of the North and a brother to the Muslim community. Records show that he has always maintained a very cordial relationship with the Muslim community in Rivers state. It is therefore nothing but high pitched mischief for anyone to go about town with the anti-Muslim narrative.”
Finally, they assured Muslims from the South that they can and should go about their businesses within the Northern States peacefully and confidently as they have commenced a series of proper sensitization of their youth.
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna