Niger State Governor, Mohammed Umaru Bago, has called on Nigerians to have respect for humanity devoid of religious sentiment.
The governor made the call at the 2nd Public Lecture of the Al-Ansar Centre for Comprehensive Education (ACCE), Abuja, where he was the guest of honour.
He expressed concern over the way and manner in which people treat others because of their religion and said religion was a matter of choice and should not be forced on anyone.
"Islam does not allow you to force someone to follow your religion. The Quran was explicit on this; detesting anyone because that person has not covered their head is not necessary, as no one can force anyone to act in an Islamic way without their consent", he said.
Umaru Bago told his audience that his parents, who were Muslims, sent him to a missionary school, and yet that did not change his faith.
He said he played piano for the school choir and learned a lot about Christianity, and he was happy with the experience.
The governor commended the founder for establishing the school and named it Al-Ansar in Arabic, which means 'helper", pointing out that through the school, the founder was providing great help to humanity.
He therefore urged the founder to make the school open to all, irrespective of religious differences, so that the right knowledge would be impacted to the younger generations.
Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Ali Pantami, represented by the Director General of Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), Engr. Tukur Lawal Funtua, applauded the school management for providing Islamic and Western education to the students to better society.
The founder and president of the Al-Ansar Foundation, Dr. Mohammed Kyari Dikwa, said the theme of the lecture was carefully chosen to ensure the children excel and remain disciplined in a disruptive technological society.
He pledged the centre's commitment to in-house capacity building and training for the teachers in the school and those in schools with similar vision, adding that the school intends to be an education resource centre beneficial to all in society.
The Niger State Government said they are ready to collaborate with any group or individuals that would key into the urban renewal policy of the present administration of Governor Mohammed Umaru Bago.
The Niger State Commissioner for Housing and Urban Renewal, Hon. Abubakar Umar, stated this yesterday while receiving the management of Ample Homes Ltd., who were in his office to sign a Memorandum of Understanding MoU for the construction of 1,000 housing units in the Tafa Local Government Area of the state.
He said the state government was desirous of addressing the issue of the housing deficit through the construction of affordable housing units across the state, stressing that the decision of the firm to construct houses for the use of the residents of the state was a welcome idea and assured them of support and cooperation to achieve the dream.
Speaking also, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Habiba Ahmed, said the meeting was called in order to study the MoU between the two parties to ensure that expectations were met before it was signed.
She explained that the project, when embarked upon, would be in three phases, with each phase to be completed within 24 months, while the entire project would be completed within the lifespan of the present administration in the state.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of Ample Homes Ltd., Ahmad Gara, said they were in the state to see how they can partner with the government to provide housing for the people of the state, adding that the project will consist of two-bedroom and three-bedroom bungalows.
"We came about this based on our research; you know, we are looking at civil servants, people with small families or big families," he said.
He said they were very hopeful that the project would receive the blessings of the state government to ensure its success, while also promising that they would not betray the confidence they had in it.