The Kogi State governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello was on Monday joined by President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Supo Ayokunle to perform the ground breaking ceremony for the building of a chapel for Christians at the Kogi State Government House, Lokoja to foster religious harmony and peaceful coexistence in the state.
Speaking on the occasion, governor Yahaya Bello said the construction of the chapel which was first in the history of the state, was not just for it to serve as a house of worship for Christians but to also be a “symbol of the access, welcome and inclusion which we have worked to guarantee all citizens in our public institutions”.
Bello recalled that during the course of his campaign in 2015, he observed the absence of chapel at the Government House and resolved to do something about it if given the opportunity to become governor of the state
“When I arrived here as Governor by the peculiar deeds of God, the construction of a bespoke place of worship for Christians inside the premises of the Kogi State Government House became a personal aspiration of mine.
“We must understand that in Kogi State, strong components of Islam and Christianity have lived side by side since precolonial times and have cooperated in every area of life and endeavour.
“I believe that it is vitally critical for our seat of power to also make a symbolic statement of welcome for adherents of the two major faiths. Thus, I found it sad that for no reason other than, perhaps, the personal wishes of my predecessors in Office, Government House, Lokoja has no custom-built place of worship for Christians”, he said.
Also speaking on the occasion, CAN President, Rev Supo Ayokunle commended the governor for the initiative which he noted would go a long way in fostering interreligious harmony and peaceful coexistence amongst adherents of the two faiths.
He urged the governor to continue to do more in ensuring adequate security of lives and property of citizens of the state.