Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has said that his administration has utmost respect for churches operating in the state and that there is no on-going campaign against any church.
The governor has also assured the good people of Imo State that no church in the state is a target of the activities of officials of Imo State Signage and Advertising Agency (IMSAA).
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Governor Uzodinma has, therefore, called for caution over insinuations that officials of the IMSAA were on a mission of dismantling signboards of churches operating in Imo, saying those championing such propaganda should weigh the implications and have a rethink.
In the course of revenue drive enforcement operations during the week on some roads in Owerri, officials of IMSAA removed flex materials on billboards with a view to getting the owners to pay up for the spaces. All billboards on the affected roads were affected except the ones bearing the congratulatory messages for the governor.
The billboards of two churches – Salvation Ministry at Irete on Onitsha Road and Faith House Transformation Assembly on Port Harcourt Road – were affected and the reason for the exercise was well communicated to the leadership of the two churches.
Unfortunately, the members decided to ignore the real reason for the removal of the flexes and chose to travel on the lane of propaganda that the government was carrying out a campaign that targets churches in Imo State.
They have also taken the propaganda to the ridiculous level, saying that the government was doing so in her bid to champion Islamic agenda.
The governor views these insinuations as unhealthy and capable of causing disaffection in a state like Imo where the citizens are used to living like brothers and sisters and with the spirit of accommodating visitors regardless of sex, race, faith, among others.
The governor reiterates that his government will not discriminate against anyone regardless of their belief, and pleads with Imo citizens to continue to live in harmony with their neighbours as the cornerstone of all religion is love for one another.
The governor assured that all churches in the state would operate under an environment where mutual respect reigns and rule of law obeyed.
He appealed to leaders of all faith in the state to join hands with his government to better the lives of the citizens, saying that both the church and the government should be partners in progress for a better society.