A 40-ton marble statue of Jesus arose for the New Year in the religiously embattled nation of Nigeria, thanks to a wealthy businessman who hopes the Prince of Peace’s message can triumph over sectarian strife.

The 30-foot-high likeness of Christ towers above the St. Aloysius Catholic Church in the mainly Christian village of Abajah, some 300 miles south of Lagos in Nigeria’s state of Imo. The country is split roughly 50-50 between Christians and Muslims, and has been plagued by violence from the radical Islamist terror group Boko Haram, which operates in the north.

“We think religions can exist side by side,” Obinna Onuoha, an oil and gas magnate who attended Harvard Business School and underwrote the statue, told ChristianHealdlines.com. “We hope that people can live in harmony.” FULL REPORT