Nigeria has become the latest country in South Asia to become a place of faith, after a wave of Buddhist temples sprouted up in the country in recent years.
A recent report found that the country has about 10,000 Buddhist temples and more than 500 religious sites across the country.
It was a sign of progress, but it also prompted some to wonder how much of this is religious, or if it is a form of cultural appropriation.
But now, in what appears to be an effort to shed some light on the subject, a Buddhist-majority province in northern Nigeria has unveiled plans to build a new Buddhist temple in the city of Yogyakarta.
The temple is to be located near the intersection of Bawana and Rokkalak roads, near the city’s main intersection with the Bauchi river.
“The Buddhist community in Nigeria has a lot of support, but they have been marginalized for so long, so it’s important that they have their voice heard,” said Tawakul Bayikwe, a local government official who heads a group called The Community for Peace, Peace, and Freedom.
“This temple is a welcome sign for them.
It is a symbol of peace and unity, and this temple is not just about Buddhists.”
Tawkul Bayakwe, president of The Community, Peace and Freedom, says the new temple is an example of the country’s Buddhist-ness.
(CBC)The new temple will be located in a area known as Bawanas and Roksalak streets, just west of the city center.
The area is home to a large Buddhist community, but is still considered a mainly Muslim area.
Bawamas are traditionally Muslim, while Roksas are mostly Buddhist.
“Buddhist communities have been in the area for centuries,” said Bayikwwe.
“We are also a Christian community.
This temple is another step in the process to be able to come together with Muslims and Christians and say, ‘We are one community.'”
Bayikwen says there are around 50,000 Buddhists in Nigeria, and that most are from the province of Kasang, where the city is located.
“If the community wants to build their temple, they can, but this is not something they can do without permission,” he said.
“It’s a religious project and it’s also an opportunity for people to come to a place where they can meet.”
He said the project was not funded by the government, and the city was in charge of it.
“I don’t think they need any help from the government,” he added.
“They can do it themselves.”
Bayikwon, who lives in the northern city of Maiduguri, has worked in the Buddhist community for 20 years.
He said he has never met a single person who does not know of the temple, and it is not uncommon for him to see new visitors.
“Most of my people know of it, but some people don’t,” he explained.
“Many people come to visit the temple with their children and grandchildren.”
He has a few requests for the people in the community: “Give us some money.
Help us build a temple.
Help to give the people who live here the chance to come here.”
Bayakwin said he hopes the temple will help make the city a more inclusive place.
“There are many people who want to come and visit, and for some reason, they don’t want to be here,” he noted.
“That’s why we need to come up with something, and not just this.”
A sign for the new Buddhist Temple in Yogyacarta.
(Tawakun Bayakwwe/CBC)Bayikwon said the city has a history of religious and cultural appropriation, and was often attacked during the 1990s.
In 2008, he was elected mayor, and later served as the mayor of the provincial capital of Kano.
Bayikwan said he had been approached by the city, and asked to help to create a new temple, but he declined.
“No, no, no.
We don’t have any money, and I don’t know what to do with it.
I don´t know what I would have done if I had asked for a certain amount of money,” he told CBC.
“So, it´s not like I have a problem.
I just feel a little bit uncomfortable with it.”
Bayekwan said that since his election in 2016, he has been working with local and international community groups to raise awareness about the project.
Bayakwan says he hopes that the project will give a voice to those who don’t often speak up about issues related to Buddhism.
“When people don´T speak up, then they don´re not allowed to have a voice,” he remarked.
“And I think that’s what this project is all about.”
Bayyinbayikw says he plans to continue to work with