National Mosque Land: I’m Not Against Muslims, Says Wike
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has given the executive secretary of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Ahmed Hadi, 24 hours to explain the status of the National Mosque and what compensation plan is meant for it.
Wike gave the order yesterday when he received members of the Abuja National Mosque Management Committee led by the chairman and Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar.
He debunked reports making the rounds that his administration was promoting policies that were against certain religious alignments.
Wike said, “The Sultan of Sokoto is one person I have high regard for, I do not just see him as an elder brother, but like a father. Anything that has to do with the National Mosque, for which he is the president, I will always give it support.
“You said Chief Olusegun Obasanjo launched the appeal fund for the support of the renovation of the National Mosque. No government will not support the management of the national monument. We have a role to ensure that worship centres are well taken care of.”
The minister disclosed that those trying to whip up religious sentiment were mischievously doing so to score some cheap political points.
“We are not targeting any religious or ethnic group; we are doing what we can for the good of all FCT residents and Nigerians at large. Do not allow politicians who do not have the capacity to face me in any way to use religion as a weapon against me,” he told the delegation.
According to the minister, as a Nigerian, he has no reason to instigate hate speech against any religious group but to support any that has a genuine cause.
Wike, who said the FCT will not hesitate to support the maintenance of the National Mosque, or the National Ecumenical Centre, having been declared as a national monument, called on religious leaders to preach national unity and peaceful coexistence.
The minister, who reacted to an allegation that he intends to stop cows from grazing in Abuja, said cows should not feed in the city centre where there are only flowers, but outside the city centre where you have grasses to eat.
“I am here as the minister of FCT for everybody, religious group and ethnicity. We may not like change, but change is inevitable,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Etsu Nupe urged the minister to support the maintenance project of the National Mosque, which he disclosed had been stalled for some time now.
He also pleaded with the minister to grant the committee more time to develop plots of land allocated to it by FCTA.