Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged the religious bodies to continue to live in harmony and tolerate each other in the state as well in the country.

The governor stated this yesterday in his address at the celebration of 2019 International Day of Tolerance, which was organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs with the theme: “Enhancing Harmonious Relationship and Peace among Religious Bodies for better Socio-Economic Development in the state” held at Alausa, Lagos.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Oluremi Hamzat, said that the “programme was organised at a better time in a country where some people are still beating the drum of war over religions and tribes.” He said: “Despite the state being the most cosmopolitan state, it houses every tribe and religion in Nigeria and has remained a peaceful and tolerant state in terms of religion and tribal sentiments.

“This has helped our economy and invariably our socio-economic development, different individuals representing different tribes and religions co-existing in peace and engaging in one trade and commerce or the other. Much as we are not taking this for granted, we have continued to create more enabling environment for more interactions among all religions in Lagos State.”

“Tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference, rather, it is the respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world cultures, our form of expression and ways of being human. It is a conscious act of showing respect for others’ belief, culture and ways of life as long as it does not affect the basic right of others.

“Our nation is the owner of principles and ideals, which command great respect in the world. These principles and ideals vary from our deep respect for human life, our respect for individual peculiarities and choices, our generally democratic tendencies, our culture of religious accommodation and harmony and our deep sense of hospitality to strangers and foreigners.

“As Nigerians, we pride ourselves in our unique expectations of dutiful, respectful and descent leadership and governance, our love of the beautiful and even elegant life, coupled with our dedication to societal progress and orderliness and our general orientation towards mutual help and collaboration in the quest for better life.”

In a similar vein, Commissioner for Ministry of Home Affairs, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, in her welcome address, admonished Lagosians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and togetherness.She said: “Tolerance is the only weapon of building peace and combating intolerance in form of racism and discrimination that too often tears our society apart. Lagos is not leaving any stone unturned to sustain and maintain the peaceful co-existence of all Lagosians.”

“The government is adequately mobilising the security agents and spending so much in education and enlightenment of the citizens.”She, therefore, charged Lagos residents to join hands with the government to promote tolerance and socio-economic development.Various community leaders, religious leaders were present at the event.

Also speaking, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Diaspora and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jermine Sanwo-Olu, said: “Lagos is a tolerance city even in Africa. It shares characteristics of the Diaspora and we must keep on doing this for unity to reign. We should keep on working together for greater Lagos.”