Kukah, Okoh, others; urge peaceful co-existence between Christians, Muslims
Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Hassan Kukah has said that Nigeria is hemorrhaging badly and losing the seeds of the future, either to the crisis in North-east, motor accidents or avoidable diseases.
Kukah, who spoke at the Inter-faith peace meeting organised by the Community of Sant’Egidio in Abuja, said it is the responsibility of the government to take full responsibility for why there is no peace in Nigeria.
He said: “I don’t believe the problems of Nigeria are caused by Christians and Muslims; I think the problems are caused by lack of capacity. I think it is the capacity of those governing this country, to come to terms with what it takes to hold together an extra-ordinarily gifted people like Nigerians.
“One of the biggest challenges in Nigeria is to continue to talk of conflict between Christians and Muslims, to me, what we have is conflict of survival and there is conflict on issue of justice, opportunities. Occasionally, people might use religion, but we have a greater problem of gender, as women who constitute over 60 percent of the population are not in power or positions of authorities in the country. I think religion is not really a significant problem the country is facing.”
Also, Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, in his remarks, noted that dialogue between Christians and Muslims in the country must be sincere and with respect.
“We find it difficult to respect other people’s religious beliefs in Nigeria and this doesn’t build peace. We need to look critically into the issue of tribalism. We need to live in peace, love and harmony with one another.
The society today is pluralistic, so we have to work together for peace. Peace remains a prerequisite for development in any society; countries that continue in war cannot make progress, Okoh stated.
Executive Secretary, National Mosque, Abuja, Alhaji Ibrahim Jega, observed that “the issue of interfaith dialogue is well documented in the scriptures, be it the Koran or the Bible, but we have abandoned it.”
Jega underscored the need to chart a new course on how to live in unity and also promote peaceful co-existence, saying “We need to be sincere in the preaching of our two religions; Islam preaches peace, while the Bible preaches love, we should be just. Once we stick to the teachings of our religions, we will live in peace with one another.”