Ahmadiyya honours Catholic priest
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide has honoured a renowned Catholic Priest, John Cardinal Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, with an International Peace Award.
During the International Peace Awards in Ghana, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V, who was represented by the President of Human Rights, United Kingdom, Dr. Iftikar Ayas Sahib gave his blessings and the award, which attracted a cash prize of £ 1,000 with a certificate and plaque.
The Founder, Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace, a non- governmental organisation, in Nigeria, won the prestigious award among other nominees in Africa, as a result of his commitment to peace efforts and initiatives in Nigeria and across the African continent.
The priest is a Co-Chairman of Nigeria Inter religious Council, NIREC, a government and religious body meant for inter – religious dialogue and most especially charged with responsibility of finding permanent solution to the Boko Haram insurgence in the North East of Nigeria. He has been on national television severally to condemn killings of innocent Nigerians by the Boko Haram group describing their activities as ‘barbaric and inhuman ‘.
MTA Africa Peace Conference Committee commended the priest style of intervention in religious and communal crisis resolution covers, religious persuasions, and town hall peace meetings between the warring leaders engaged brutal killings across three states, Plateau, Benue and Taraba in the North Central Nigeria.
“Onaiyekan used media advocacy to underscore the need for the Nigerian Government to show more commitment in addressing issues of social justice in order to achieve lasting peace in the country.
In 2015 National election, he played a pivotal role with some elders in dousing the political tension, which enveloped Nigeria by ensuring that Presidential candidates signed a memorandum of understanding on peace during and after the election. This led to the peaceful handover of power by the then ruling party- Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to an opposition party – All Progressives Congress, APC for the first time in the history of Nigeria.
“Lately, Onaiyekan instituted a Fellowship Programme on “Interreligious Dialogue and Mediation, where 36 fellows, including 16 Muslim leaders and youths were trained in the art of conflict resolutions and peace building initiatives among ethnic groups, religious bodies through the Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace. “ Onaiyekan has been recognised for his work and receive many awards including Pax Christi International’s in 2012 Peace Laureate, Peace Award from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Nigeria in 2017”, the group said.