Apostle Essien Ayi, A Senior Pastor with the Peniel Church of God in Calabar, has donated the sum of N1 million to the Muslim Community to facilitate the completion of a central mosque and Islamic Centre in the Cross River State capital.
Ayi, a member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Akpabuyo/Bakassi/Calabar-South Federal Constituency, said Nigerians should be their brothers’ keepers, irrespective of religion.
The clergyman and lawmaker, who made the cash donation at Gbogobiri, a Hausa settlement in Calabar, said the gesture was also to appreciate the support he has enjoyed from them.
He said, “Every human being whether Christian or Muslim believes in God, the creator. The religion may be different. The mode of practicing may be different, but it is tilted towards one being, which is God.
“Also the Muslim society has been very supportive of me right from when I was chairman and they informed me that their former mosque had been demolished and they are trying to erect a new and befitting mosque. I feel as a representative, they too are my constituents. I am bound to make a token donation towards the completion of that mosque. We should be be our brothers’ keepers. We are all Nigerians irrespective of our religion.”
Ayi donated Pope John Paul Home for the aged and needy along Target Street and to two orphanages at Uwanse and Bateba Streets.
He said it has been his tradition over the years, to the less privileged in the society and encourage harmonious coexistence.
“Whenever God bless you, use part of that blessing to bless others. I came from a disadvantaged home and by the grace of God he has lifted me to this height. I always have a feeling for the less privileged in the society,” he said.
Head of the Hausa Community, Sarki Lawan, who spoke through the Secretary of the Mosque Committee, Mr Hashimu Abubakar, expressed gratitude for the N1 million donation, which he said would go a long way in the completion of the project.
“We are very happy. We appreciate his concern about coming here to give us his donation. This is the first time it has ever happened. He donated N1 million and we assure him the money would be put to use. The name of the mosque is Central Mosque and Islamic Centre in Calabar.
“Work started about four months ago and the money would help us a great deal. Our message to other politicians is to emulate what he has done so that the people they are representing would feel their impact,” he said.
He called for harmonious inter-religious relations.
“That is all we preach about. We call for a harmonious living environment because if you don’t have a peaceful atmosphere, you cannot even practice your religion. Let us come together. We should not start fighting ourselves and make the environment unconducive for us to stay. If we are in peace everyone can practice their own religion. That is what we believe. Peaceful coexistence is what we need,” he said.