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Freedom of religion not just a right, but also responsibility- Bauchi Commissioner

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By Baban Khalid

Bauchi Commissioner for Religious Affairs, Yakubu Ibrahim Hamza said that the state government has through his ministry prioritized peaceful co-existence and religious practice tolerance in the state.

According to the commissioner, freedom of religion or belief is not just a right but a responsibility on all well meaning responsible citizens.

Hamza spoke in a keynote address titled “The importance of Religious Freedom for Youth” during the Bauchi State Youth Conference on Freedom of religion or beliefs with the theme “Fostering an inclusive environment for youth to advocate for religious freedom in Bauchi” held at Hazibal hotel Bauchi yesterday.

He assured total support of the Government on the new Nigerian Youth Collective Action Religious Engagement project implemented by Search for Common Ground and its partner Young Leaders Network for the strategies of advocating the youth on the importance of peace among the society.

In her remarks the country Director of Search for Common Ground, Mrs Fatima Abubakar noted that the Nigerian Youth CARE Project came to Bauchi with the support of the Bauchi State Government.

The director who was represented by Mrs Gift Omoniwa, Head of Programme Development Quality and Reporting, recalled that before starting the project they consider a lot of factors and the environment before implementing the project.

She therefore said their strategy work to promote the Religion tolerance and enter Religion co -existence and Number of stakeholders, engagement of Religion leaders with the youth groups as well as key government partners.

Nigerian Youth Collaborative Action for Religious Engagement, a 24 month project seeks to empower and promote collaboration among diverse youths in Nigeria, particularly in Bauchi, Plateau and Gombe states to advance inter-religious tolerance and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB).

The project will foster youth leadership to influence the state-level policy environment to be more inclusive and conducive for inter-religious tolerance and religious freedom. state- level policy environment to be more inclusive and conducive for inter-religious tolerance and religious freedom.

The project overall goal is to empower diverse youth in Bauchi, Plateau, and Gombe States to advance inter religious tolerance and FoRB and the activities are specifically designed to strengthen relationships amongst youths in the target states to collaboratively work against violations of religious freedom and improve their capacities to utilize digital skills to promote FORB.

In there separate goodwill messages the Emir of Bauchi, Chief Imam of Bauchi, CAN Chairman, FOMWAN, Ministry of women affairs, The National Human Right commission and Ministry of Justice emphasize the need for piece among the society and ensure their maximum corporation for the success of the project in the state.

The conference organized by Search for Common Ground with their partners Young Leaders Network with funding from the United States and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands also featured panel discussion where contributions were made on breaking down barriers to ensure youth inclusion to advocate for freedom of religion or beliefs.

A cross section of participants said that youths have a great role to play in promoting interfaith dialogue and understanding.

The need to be vigilant for early warning signs on religious conflict was emphasized by National Conflict and Policy analysts so that peace can be maintained, with a call to share widely the toll free number to report any discrimination or violation of beliefs.

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