By Lawal A. Dogara
As part of his multi dimensional approach to sustaining peace and unity in Kaduna State Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero today (Monday) distributed financial assistance worth over N163 million to 366 groups comprising Muslims and Christians organisations.The assistance is meant to support various religious bodies in carrying out their activities as well as assist with building of places of worship and learning centres.
Speaking during the presentation of cheques to representatives of the religious groups, Governor Yero said his administration will not relent in its effort at sustaining lasting peace that will lead to reintegration of the diverse groups in the State.
He said “we are assisting religious groups because of the importance of religion in ensuring peace and harmonious coexistence among our people. Religious leaders must not forget their roles as leading lights and they must preach true gospel of God without adding their own personal opinions, because we have observed that some preachers add personal opinions to the word of God.”
He said one of the most important objectives of his administration is to engender lasting peace in Kaduna State saying “from today we are going to ensure that the people always mix, whatever we are going to do in this state we must sit together as brothers irrespective of tribe or religion, the principle of our administration is to reintegration of our people. Whether we like it or not, God has already brought us together and we must tolerate one another because we must live together.”
He cautioned people in the state to desist from carrying out reprisal attacks because “if anything happens and we say we must revenge and then the other people say they must also take vengeance, the situation will never end. We must be patient and always support Government in its efforts to bring those that are behind criminal activities to justice.”
Governor Yero said the state is expecting N7 billion from the Federal Government as its share of compensation for the 2011 post election violence. According to him “Kaduna is the worst hit in the violence. Both Muslims and Christians suffered losses and it is still the aftermath of that crisis that is still following us due
to reprisals and vengeance.
“We have been following the Federal Government and they have now completed their verification exercise and came up with over N7 billion as compensation to victims in Kaduna. We are not the only state that has not been paid, but I have been assured that the fund is captured in the 2014 budget which has not been passed. We shall continue to pursue this money until it is paid.”
The Governor however said the compensation is not paramount on the agenda of his administration adding “the most important thing for us now is how to forestall a reoccurrence because no amount of money can bring back our loved ones that have been killed.”
Yero also condemned the recent attacks in parts of the state, especially those on communities in Kaura, Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Government area while assuring the people that Government will leave no stone unturned in its determination to apprehend those behind the dastardly acts.
While speaking on the impending electioneering campaigns, the Governor asked religious leaders to caution politicians against do-or-die politics saying no one can achieve what he or she is not destined to achieve.
The benefiting religious groups from across the state received cheques distributed by the Governor, Deputy Governor Nuhu Audu Bajoga and other political office holders present. On the hand, the representative of the Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI) shared cheques to Christian groups while the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna Chapter shared cheques to Muslim Groups.
Some of the beneficiaries include; Salamatu Mosque Sardauna Crescent Kaduna, Jama’atu Izalatil Bid’ah Wa Iqamatis Sunnah (JIBWIS) Kaduna, Dogon Dawa Juma’at Mosque, Kwakwa Mosque Committee and Madrasatul Iftahul Islam. Others are; St. Mary’s Catholic Church Fadan Kaje, ECWA Church Gwari Road, Bishara Baptist Church Tsaunin Kura, Anglican Deanery Wusasa Zaria and Salama Health Ministry and Gospel Kujama among others