A former House of Representatives member, Robinson Uwak, has dismissed claims of religious extremism following the ban on alcohol in some areas of Niger State by Governor Mohammed Bago.
He described Bago as a liberal, non-extremist leader who embraces diversity.
The controversy emerged from reports suggesting that the Niger State Liquor and Licensing Board planned to enforce a total alcohol ban in Suleja Local Government Area and its environs by January 1, 2024, with additional claims about relocating joints in Minna, the state capital.
The state government denied these assertions, clarifying that the board mentioned was non-existent in Niger State.
Addressing the situation, Uwak stated the governor’s inclusive approach, saying that Bago is a cosmopolitan and nationalist figure who does not discriminate based on ethnicity or religion.
“I know His Excellency Bago to be a very devout Muslim who studies the Koran daily and prays fervently, but I must add that I have accompanied him to honour invitations in several churches. He is known by many to have knowledge of Bible verses and many Christian hymns and songs.
“For a man who has turned the entirety of Niger State into a construction site with multiple people-oriented projects, alcohol ban is definitely not a priority for his government,” Uwak asserted.
He affirmed Governor Bago’s standing in terms of performance and attracting foreign investments into the State, stating that the governor’s focus is on development and not on implementing an alcohol ban.