The Special Adviser to the Bayelsa State Governor on Political Matters, High Chief Collins Cocodia, has blamed religious leaders for their inadequate advocacy against the increase in youth membership of cult groups and violence in the society.
He urged religious leaders to increase the preaching of peace, love and unity among youths.
According to him, despite the rise in places of worship across the divide, the rising membership of cult groups and youths’ involvement in violence and killings is worrisome and challenging to the growth of future generations.
He made this known during the official inauguration of the CMMRC/CPO’s and the launching of the project tagged “Community Peace and Dialogue Promotion Engagement” organized by the Interfaith Mediation Centre (IMC) South-South, in partnership with the Bayelsa State Government through the office of the Special Adviser to Governor on Religious affairs.
Cocodia, who was also the Chairman of the event, pointed out that instead of religious groups focusing on preaching only prosperity, they should increase the preaching against evil, peace, love and co-existence among the various categories of youths and families.
“The crisis and violence we are witnessing among youths are as a result of disunity and lack of love.
”How did we get to this level despite the increase in religious bodies across the divide? We are witnessing a worrisome increase in the number of cult groups and youths involvement in violence. These youths are members of various religious organizations and denominations.
“I call on religious bodies and their leaders to do more of what they are supposed to do. The religious leaders, parents and traditional rulers should live up to expectations,” he said.
He also called on politicians to stop patronizing cult groups during elections, saying those anointed by God do not need to consult them to win elections.
Earlier in his speech, the Co-executive Director, Interfaith Mediation Centre, Imam Muhammed Nurayn Ashafa, said the group is in the state to create a bridge reconciliation and a bridge across the divide of religion, tribes and denomination in order to achieve peace and in turn encourage development.
Imam Muhammed Nurayn said the IMC was in Bayelsa State to bring an interfaith approach to peace in development and proper security, “We want to count Bayelsa among the states with an approach that will single it out as a peaceful destination for investments. There is the need to turn Bayelsa into a role model.”