GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has received the backing of the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups who have come to his defence saying that no mosque was demolished in Rivers State and the claim was the handiwork of political opponents.
Last week, it was reported that Governor Wike demolished a mosque in the Trans-Amadi Area of Port Harcourt. However, the governor has since denied the allegation, saying there was no mosque at the site where illegal structures were demolished by environmental officers.
Earlier this week, Governor Wike added that the vice president of the Rivers State Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Nasir Uhor visited the site on Saturday and stated that there was no physical structure of a mosque on the disputed land at Rainbow Town in Port Harcourt. Today, the Coalition of Northern Youth Groups has voiced its support for the governor too, saying that the allegations were falsehoods orchestrated by politicians to fan the furnace of ethnic, religious or regional division just for self-serving and fiendish gains.
Mohammed Sanni, the group’s convener, said from available statistics, the Rivers state governor is more tolerant of other religions than most of those accusing him of intolerance. He added that when news of the demolition of the mosque in Port Harcourt broke, they carried out investigations and found out that the structure being labelled as a mosque was a personal building of an individual who did not obtain necessary permits for his structure.
Mr Sanni said: “The governor of Rivers State Chief Nyesom Wike is a very good friend of the north and a brother to the Muslim community. The recent wild rumour of an alleged demolition of a mosque located at Trans Amadi Road, GRA, Rivers State is not only false and misleading but intended to draw religious ire, stir political tension and widen the chasm of national division, which rather requires healing and bonding at this point in time.
“It should be noted that we immediately swung into action on hearing the disturbing news and have conducted an on-the-spot visit to the said location and our findings are very contrary to the falsehood being peddled. A diligent assessment of the location showed that even though structures were demolished around that area, none of such structures was or is a mosque building.
“On further interaction with residents and the Muslim community in the area, we gathered that the said location being labelled as a mosque belongs to an individual who was building his personal structure without government approval. The said fellow had gone ahead to erect a foundation on the site ostensibly to wade off government action, he thereafter proceeded to unilaterally label the location as a mosque.”
He added that available statistics on religious tolerance show that Governor Wike is far ahead of others and as such he should not be painted black before his northern brothers and sisters. According to Mr Sanni, Governor Wike’s policies are friendly and his administration operate an open door policy irrespective of your region and religion.