Stories by Stanley Onyekwere
Seasoned scholars and religious leaders have advocated the intensive and comprehensive use of religion for the fostering of unity and love amongst Nigerians, in the wake of swelling disaffection in the land.
According to the stakeholders, who were drawn from academic and faith based institutions, more emphasize should be on common humanity traits, as such will help promote peace and development in the Society.
They spoke in Abuja, during an interfaith dialogue organised by the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni (UMA) in conjunction with Abuja Islamic Education Trust (IET), at the weekend.
In his opening remarks, the programme moderator, Alh. Ibrahim Jega, said the religion of Christianity and Islam have love as its strong base, and as long there is love, there will be unity in the society.
Jega, Former Executive Secretary National Mosque, Abuja, added that humans have allowed their minor differences to cause disaffection and disunity amongst them.
He stressed that the issue of diversity in religion, tribes and race is entirely in the hand of God the creator.
He opined that religion serves as a strong basis for humans to keep seeking wisdom for more understanding of how things should be on the earth.
He reiterated that people ought to live in harmony and peace because it’s what both Christian and Islam teaches.
Similarly, Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, in his goodwill message delivered by Director, Mission and Dialogue, Catholic Secretariat, Abuja, Fr Prof. Cornelius Omonokhua, urged more Nigerians to join initiatives aimed at bringing peace in the society.
According to him, “this is the time we need this kind of dialogue of inter religious interface, for the good of all.”
Also speaking, Director Administration,N Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), National Mosque, Abuja, Isah Christian Okonkwo, who represented the NSCIA’s Secretary, noted the need for religious leaders to keep promoting peaceful coexistence among adherents of the two dominate religions in the country, through increased awareness and definite actions.
He said: “It was high time we make more of actions, and less speeches in the Society, as both religions teaches peace.
“Religion is the bearer of sanity in any society, so let’s be practicing Muslims and Christians.”
On his part, Chairman UMA, Abuja Chapter, Alh Abdumajeed Raji, said dialogue was very apt and timely, as it will help foster understanding peace and love for the advancement of the society.
He disclosed that the initiative would not be a one-time thing, as the organisers intend to expand and sustain it.
The interfaith dialogue themed: “Religion, the Key to love and unity”, had participants were drawn from religious leaders from NSCIA AND Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Also, guest speakers delivered speeches on six critical topics; at the end of which a communique was issued.