<<< By Jimin Geoffrey >>>
Governor Samuel Ortom has charged members of the Muslim community in the state to use the Ramadan period to fast and pray for peace in Benue.
He spoke today at the Benue Peoples House Makurdi when he received members of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, JNI, Benue State Council on a courtesy visit.
The Governor advised religious leaders in the state against bringing religion into development issues in a secular state like Nigeria, stressing that such was divisive and retrogressive.
He said God did not make any mistake by creating individuals with different faces, intonations and religions, noting that such differences were meant to complement one another.
Governor Ortom commended the Muslim leaders in the state for always intervening in critical security challenges, saying but for their intervention, certain security challenges in the state could have snowballed into religious crisis.
While calling on the Muslim community to help educate their brothers who are herders on the need to embrace ranching as a modern way of animals husbandry, Governor Ortom said those trying to overrun the state in the name of ranching law were only wasting their time, insisting that the law had come to stay.
The Governor donated two trailer load of rice and some money to enable the Muslim community break their Ramadan fasting.
In his address, leader of the delegation, Alhaji Garba Baba, acknowledged Governor Ortom’s sterling and patriotic zeal in advancing the cause of unity, peace and development in the state.
He solicited the formation of an interfaith committee at the state and local government levels comprising of Christian and Muslim leaders with a view to ensuring wiping out suspicion, mistrust and rumour mongering among others.
Alhaji Baba while appreciating the efficacy of fasting and prayers introduced by Governor Ortom said Muslims in the state had earmarked Mondays and Thursdays to fast and pray for peace in the state in addition to the normal five daily prayers.