By; TINA PHINEAS, Yola
Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State has commended Bishop Stephen Dami Mamza Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese and state Chairman, Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), for the exemplary project in humanitarian care and support.
Fintiri gave the commendation while commissionibg 43 Housing units built by the Catholic Diocese of Yola in collaboration with Missio Germany for the resettlement of Internally Displaced Person (IDPs).
During the commissioning held at Sangere Marghi in Girei Local Government Area, Fintiri appreciated the efforts of the Diocese towards resettling the people that were displaced by insurgency since 2014, who had been living under the support and care of the Catholic Diocese of Yola.
The governor prayed for the project to be a strong launch pad and model for peace building and religious harmony in this community and the country at large where Christians and Muslims live together and care for each other.
Fintiri applauded the humanitarian works of the Catholic Diocese of Yola which is focused specifically on providing food to malnourished children and their families and ensuring that the families are supported with livelihoods options, such as poultry and backyard farming.
“The need to assist displaced persons in the process of return to their homes or resettlement involves building and construction of needed infrastructure which necessarily includes worship centres, schools and above all houses.
” We thank the Catholic Diocese of Yola and its partners like Missio Aachen and others for successfully building the needed infrastructure in this new housing estate for the resettlement of IDPs.
“North Eastern Nigeria, is no stranger to religious violence. Beginning from 1980 with the Maitasine disturbances, the north Eastern part of the country has been a hotbed of religiously-motivated violence. Religious extremism had been growing and finding a foothold in our communities with some preaching and promoting hate and discrimination.
“The attacks and destruction of worship centres launched by the insurgents was aimed at widening the gulf between the adherents of Christianity and Islam. However the works of Clerics like Bishop Mamza have made love prevail over hatred and evil in our society,” the Governor said.
He thanked Bishop Mamza for the exemplary project in humanitarian care and support and expressed optimism that the Catholic Church in Nigeria is very proud of him for being in the forefront offering humanitarian support to the IDPs in the past seven years.
Earlier in his welcome address, the State Chairman Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who is also the Catholic Bioshop of Yola Diocese, Stephen Dami Mamza appreciated all partners of the Catholic Church for making his dream a reality.
“This project is a tall dream come true since the Catholic Diocese of Yola first opened its doors to host IDPs on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2014.
“This was after the collapse of some local governments in Northern Adamawa, following Boko Haram attacks on villagers.
“At the height of the displacement in October 2014, when Mubi town and environs came under Boko Haram occupation, thousands fled into Yola and approached us for food and shelter.
“It was at this time that St. Theresa’s IDP Camp housed 4,700 persons.
“We have been taking care of the IDPs for the past seven years with the little assistance we receive from our major partners.
“The Catholic Diocese of Yola, with its local resources also constructed a Mosque for some of our Muslim IDPs,” Mamza said.
According to him, this will prevent the IDPs from being passive recipients of aid, which results in dependency syndrome.
“Nigerians should learn to practice religion of tolerance and love for their neighbour.
He thanked Governor Umaru Fintiri for allocating plot of land for the project and approved connection of not only the housing estate but Sangere Marghi community to the national grid which he described as commendable.
“We appeal to government and humanitarian actors that displaced persons need to be given opportunities to be productive and self-reliant, as against being passive recipients of aid, which results in dependency syndrome as earlier highlighted,” he said.
In his remarks, the Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Reverend Doctor Mathew Hassan Kuka harps on the need for Muslims and Christians in the country to promote peaceful coexistence among them and appreciate the effort of the Diocese in building the project.
New NIgerian reports that the Sangere Marghie housing estate which will accommodate 86 households and 516 residents also has clinic, primary school, borehole, Mosque and Church buildings as well as farmlands for the settlers.