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Shettima inaugurates Christian board, assure Nigerians of religious harmony

Vice President Kashim Shettima has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s resolve to uphold religious freedom and interfaith unity in the country.

According to him, regardless of anyone’s position, the place of faith in the nation is not only critical but provides a framework for comfort among citizens and for the stability of the nation at large.

Speaking, Tuesday, when he inaugurated the Board of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Vice President said Nigeria is what it is because it is a nation of God, and this spirituality is of prevailing interest.

Shettima maintained that Nigeria’s strength lies in its diversity of faiths, vowing that there will be no discrimination under the Tinubu-led government.

“Our duty is to provide a safe haven for members of each faith and uphold the rights and freedoms in our constitution,” he stated, reminding the board of NCPC’s role in easing pilgrimage affairs for Nigerian Christians, a “sacred tradition” that must be prioritized.

“It is our pledge that Christians will access optimum privileges in pursuit of their spiritual journey. Your duty here is a service to God and humanity in the best way possible,” he added.

The Vice president urged the new NCPC board members to be unifying figures dedicated to promoting interfaith harmony through compassion, justice, and mutual respect.

Shettima recalled President Tinubu’s promise when he assumed office, that his government would have no place for discrimination, assuring that the administration is fervently committed to ensuring interfaith harmony remains the ultimate priority.

“Let us heed the call of the Lord to be our brothers’ keepers, our sisters’ keepers, and good neighbours wherever we find ourselves. We can only achieve this when we recognize that our diversity is not a source of weakness but rather a wellspring of strength,” the Vice President observed.

Earlier in his remarks, the newly appointed Chairman of the NCPC board, Rev. (Monsignor) Cletus Gotan, thanked the President for the government’s support in sponsoring pilgrimage journeys that encourage the spiritual upliftment of citizens.

“We appreciate the interest of the President and his government in encouraging the spiritual upliftment of our citizens by sponsoring these sacred journeys which will take us to our holy places and teach us about unity,” Prof. Gotan, who is the Vicar General of the Catholic Archdiocese of Jos and a former Dean of Education at the University of Jos, he said.

The NCPC chairman pledged the the commitment of the new board to improve pilgrimage services. “We will leave the NCPC better than we found it. We would ensure that we go there for prayers for the government, our families and for people,” he stated.

Expressing hope that the pilgrimage exercise would foster greater understanding and unity, Rev. Gotan said, “We pray that the exercise will help us appreciate how to live with each other as children of the same father. God has placed us in a country that is multifarious in nature.”

The Chairman disclosed that the board’s composition includes bishops, senior clerics, pastors, former EYN presidents and “eminent men and women of integrity” across Christian denominations, under the government’s supervision.

Other members of the board included Hon. Omowumi Olubunmi Ogunlola (South West), Chief Clement Alobu Nweke (South East), Weli Wosu (South South), Rev. Fr. Prof. Joseph Haruna Mamman (North West), Dr. Toma Hamidu Ragnjiya (North East), Dr. Simon Abu Samson Dolly (North Central) and Bishop Dr. Raphael Benjamin Nwankwo (CAN).

There were also representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Central Bank of Nigeria. Bishop Stephen Adegbite was the Executive Secretary of the NCPC.

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