Osinbajo tasks religious leaders on peace, security in West Africa
Religious leaders and faith communities must join hands with governments and play a significant role in ensuring fraternity and harmony in West Africa. This is because an integrated, peaceful and prosperous sub-region will not be fully guaranteed, if peace does not first reign in local communities and in each of the countries.
These were the summations of remarks by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, at the General Assembly of the Reunion of the Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA), held at ECOWAS Secretariat, Abuja.
Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the opening ceremony, spoke on the theme of the Conference, ‘Fratelli Tutti: Path to Build Brotherhood and Sustainable Peace in West Africa’.
The Vice President, in his remarks, said: “Fratelli Tutti is the powerful notion on which His Holiness, Pope Francis, anchors his most recent Encyclical – titled Fratelli Tutti—The Concept of the Brotherhood of all Humanity.”
He urged the religious leaders “to not only explore ways of strengthening the bonds of faith between your communities but also of building bridges across every divide that threatens to fracture our nations.”
He said: “It is my hope that you will conceptualise ways of bringing the full weight of the immense moral authority that you possess upon our nations and in the sub-region as a whole.”
The Vice President noted: “By offering concrete prescriptions on building brotherhood and sustainable peace anywhere, the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti rightly takes the position that this is not merely the business of governments and political institutions; it must also be anchored on our civil societies of which the faith communities are an important constituency.”
In ensuring peace and stability in the country and region, the Vice President noted: “The government of Nigeria remains committed to collaborating with the Church and all well-meaning actors in promoting peace and security.”
The opening ceremony also featured remarks by the President of RECOWA, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, who is also the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja; the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji; and the ECOWAS President, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, among others.
Dignitaries from the government included Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Federal Ministers such as Geoffrey Onyema (Foreign Affairs), Dame Pauline Tallen (Women Affairs), Dr. Chris Ngige (Labour, Employment and Productivity), Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta), George Akume (Special Duties) and Godwin Agba (Power).