Yesterday, Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Yero described the segregated settlements along religious faults in Kaduna metropolis as 'unhealthy', saying his administration would do everything to reverse such divisive tendency.
The persistent religious crises that rocked the city in the past had sharply divided residential settlements in Kaduna metropolis and other cities in the state along religious faults.
For instance in Kaduna metropolis, Christians, more populated in the southern part of the city, prefer to rent and build houses there, while Muslims, who are predominant in the northern part of the city, prefer to rent or build houses there.
"Kaduna town is divided into two, it wasn't like this before. For some years now, the town has been divided. The town is divided from the River Kaduna bridge.
"The Muslims are staying on one side while the Christians are staying at the other side. This is not good for development. This thing is not going to help us.
"Right now, any Christian who is coming from the other side to where the Muslims are will dress in Muslim attire. Likewise, any Muslim, who is going to the Christians dominated side, will have to wear cloth that will portray him/her like one of them. This is not going to help us. It is high time we go back to the way we were. We lived together peacefully before now," he said.
Thus Yero, speaking when leaders of the Interfaith and Mediation group paid him a courtesy call at the Government House Kaduna, stressed it was very unfortunate that the city is divided along religious line.
He added that such attitude will not bring about unity and harmony among the people to work together for the development of the state.
The governor assured that his administration would strive to reverse the ugly trend in order to return the state to the era when Muslims and Christians live in the same community peacefully.
"The metropolis is divided along the river Kaduna Bridge with residents always cautious when crossing to the other side which is not healthy," he noted, stressing that the government would, through legal means, utilise religious and group leaders to ensure people of different faiths live peacefully among each order.
"For us to move forward, people must be allowed to practise their religion anywhere they find themselves. We must all live together. All of us are serving the same God and we have to try as much as possible to serve God in a peaceful manner in a way that we would respect each other, understand each other and tolerate each other, because God has created mankind in different race and tribes, not for them to fight each other but to understand each other and serve Him properly," the governor said.
He commended the interfaith group for preaching the gospel of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among Christians and Muslims in Kaduna state and urged them to continue with the good works.
Speaking earlier, the team leader of the group, Pastor James Wuye, disclosed that his group has received grants from its foreign partners to train leaders at various levels in the north on religious harmony and peaceful coexistence.
"We facilitated the Kaduna Peace Declaration of 2002, which introduced almost a decade of peace in our state. The structure we put in place that facilitated the peace declaration still exists, but needs to be revived. This we intend to do so that an era of unbroken peace can be entrenched in our beloved state," he said.
He added that the training would go a long way in ensuring political stability and development in the northern part as well as reduce lawlessness and extremism and increase the capacity of governance structure to defend religious freedom.