By Stanley Onyekwere
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has stressed the need for interfaith cooperation while pledging the FCT Administration’s support for activities, aimed at ensuring peaceful coexistence among different religious faiths in the FCT.
Bello who spoke during a courtesy visit by the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan also urged religious leaders to focus efforts at curbing incessant hate speech.
He noted that hate speech was posing a challenge to peaceful co-existence amongst Nigerians.
He bemoaned the fact that the social media was being used as a platform to propagate hate and regretted situations where religious preachers are also involved in the harmful practice.
“This was not the case when we were growing up. Back then we were each other’s keeper and that is how it is supposed to be.
“I want to urge you to use your position to fight the menace of hate speech, especially among our youth,” Bello said.
The Minister described Cardinal Onaiyekan as a man of peace and commended him for championing interfaith cooperation and promoting peaceful co-existence through dialogue.
He also pledged the continued support of the FCTA to the Archbishop’s activities in the pursuit of peace.
Bello also commended the Cardinal for the successful relocation of the church’s Daughters of Charity Hospital, Bwari to its new location, as the old hospital had to make way for the Abuja-Kaduna railway line.
Earlier in his remarks, Archbishop Onaiyekan commended the FCT Administration for its support of the Church’s activities especially in the area of education.
He solicited partnership of the FCTA in the management of some schools that will ultimately benefit the less privileged in the society.
The Archbishop also drew the Minister’s attention to the establishment of the John Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace.
The Foundation he said “is involved in a lot of activities all geared towards promoting peaceful coexistence and interfaith cooperation.
He added that it include the training of several religious stakeholders cutting across the major religions in the country on peace and unity and plans to also hold an interfaith football tournament.