Unrest over blasphemy: Bauchi Gov visits Warji, calls for religious tolerance

Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, on Saturday visited Warji, the headquarters of Warji Local Government Area of the state, barely 24 hours after religious violence erupted in the town, urging people of the state to embrace peace and religious tolerance.

Warji came on the news after violence erupted following an alleged blasphemous statement by a 40-year-old lady, Rhoda Jatau, a staff of the health department of the local government council, against Islam.

The said comments resulted in violence, burning of houses and destruction of shops, while some people sustained varying degrees of injuries.

Speaking during the visit to sympathise with people of the town, Governor Mohammed described Friday’s disturbance in the town as unfortunate, particularly coming at a time when Bauchi State is regarded as one of the peaceful states in the country.

Governor Mohammed lamented that such disturbance happened in a town noted for housing people with different religions and being a peaceful community for the past 100 years and called on the youth, in particular, to always avoid taking laws into their hands.

He asserted that religion is close to people’s hearts and as such it is wrong of anyone to joke about other’s religion.

“We know that there are Christians and Muslims in Warji. Those of us who are 60 years old never heard of a crisis in Warji before this time.

“I must commend religious leaders, traditional leaders and security personnel for putting up a combined effort that lead to quenching of the violence.”

Mohammed, who visited the town in the company of heads of security agencies in the state and top government officials, maintained that peace was an integral part of development and appealed to people, particularly adherents of the two major religions in the state, to be tolerant of each other’s religion with a view to enabling his administration to continue with its developmental projects across the state.

Governor Mohammed added that the spate of insecurity across the country was enough source of worry for every well meaning Nigerian.

The governor said the state government under his leadership had special regard for peace and religious tolerance, adding that for that reason it would not spare anyone found fanning the embers of trouble in any parts of the state.

He assured that an investigation would be carried out on the incident in order to forestall recurrence of such unfortunate incident in the state.

“My administration has a special regard for peace and religious tolerance and I will not fold my arms to allow unpatriotic people cause trouble in any part of the state,” he vowed.

The administration, according to the governor, was doing everything possible to promote peace and stability in the state and would not allow any challenges capable of causing setbacks to the state

Speaking earlier, the chairman, Warji LGA, Adamu Muhammad Danjumai, commended the governor for the prompt visit.

Danjumai also commended security operatives for their prompt intervention, which he said greatly helped in restoring normalcy to the town, pledging to work closely with security agents to ensure peace and stability in the area.

On his part, the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Sanda, informed that the police and other security agencies quickly intervened and brought the ugly incident under control.

CP Sanda vowed that the police and other security agencies would not tolerate people taking laws into their hands

He, however, urged religious leaders in the state to always assist in sensitising their followers on the need to have peace, tolerance as well as religious knowledge.

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