By Oluwatope Lawanson/Florence Onuegbu
Lagos State Government on Thursday urged religious leaders and parents to instill the right moral values in the youths.
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, gave the charge during the 2021 Inter-Faith Parley organised by the Lagos State Ministry of Home Affairs in Victoria Island.
The theme of the parley is ”Achieving Greater Lagos: Role of Religious Bodies”.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said that the family remained the nucleus of any society, hence, should endeavour to instil morals in the children.
He said that the state had noticed a sharp increase in criminality and insecurity, due to lack of moral values, which was traced to disequilibrium in the family.
The governor recalled how during the EndSARS protests mayhem, youths killed policemen, roasted and eat their flesh.
“The erosion of moral values in our society today has become a source of concern to everyone and government across all levels.
“If we want to continue to enjoy peace and security in Lagos and Nigeria, it is pertinent that we begin to pay close attention to our children and young generation to ensure that they are not being misled into towing the wrong path,” he said.
According to him, there should be guideline on the path to toe by everyone and indeed government in stemming this ugly trend.
“Religious bodies are noted for cushioning the effect of the economy on the populace through faithful adherence to our religious beliefs and the tenets of our faith.
“However, we have also noticed that many our religious bodies have relegated this very important role to the background thereby allowing pressure on the Nigerian Project.
“Holy Quran and the Bible are very clear on the role of leaders in every sphere of life and I have personally come to realise that whoever God places in a position of authority, whether spiritual or temporal, such individual is holding forth for God.
“Such person will give account of his stewardship to Him. A lot is therefore, expected on the part of that individual.
“I am of the opinion that our outcome from this august gathering will lay some emphasis on the way out of this quagmire,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said that the essence of the parley was to come up with ways the state moved forward and also ensure that machineries were put in place that would ensure peaceful coexistence, religious harmony and tolerance amongst the faithful.
He said that Lagos State was noted for ethnic tolerance as the commercial and industrial nerve centre of Nigeria, and acknowledged as the gateway to African economy.
“There is the need for us to come up with the guidelines of our success in this area so as to serve as a map for other states and Nigeria as a whole. The issue of ethnic mistrust must be eradicated in our country Nigeria,” the governor said.
In his goodwill message, Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, said that many youths now walk about almost naked in the streets.
Muri-Okunola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Public Service Office, Mr Samson Ajibade, also said that many youths had engaged in drug abuse which was an issue that urgently needed to be curbed for peace in the society.
In his welcome address, the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said that the bitter experience of the EndSARS protest greatly queried the roles of the parents and religious leaders.
Elegushi said that it was expected that the gathering addressed issues dealing with character formation and moulding, the need for moral uprightness and the fear of God.
He said that at a time like this, youths should be shown more love and understanding; they should be carried along and assisted in all areas, bearing in mind that, the temptations and peer pressure influence were very overwhelming for the younger generation.
The commissioner said through the gathering, the government expected a more robust relationship that must consolidate on the gains of the relative peace and harmonious co-existence.
He called religious leaders to continue to close ranks and check the excesses of exuberant preachers, who found it convenient to create enmity among the people.
“Our weekly sermon on unity, peace and love must resonate on a weekly basis while obedience to rule of law and commitment to our Lagos project must remain sacrosanct.
“Issues of state importance should be accorded priorities in the teachings that we reel out regularly.
“The essence of our gathering is to ensure that, our religious bodies will be more organised and decisions taken by government will be cascaded from one community to the other particularly in our Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.
“This is because we have discovered that information and decisions from government are barely heard on pulpits, we therefore believe that, this partnership will enrich and assist governance in the state at all levels,” Elegushi said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)