Clerics advocate universal code on holy sites

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

Religious leaders in Nigeria have called for the adaption and implementation of the Universal Code of Conduct on the protection of Holy Sites.

They are of the opinion that this could be done by ensuring that the local needs and peculiarities of the different communities in Nigeria are reflected.

They made the call in Abuja during a two day conference organised by a Non- Governmental Organisation called ‘’Search for Common Ground and Protection of Holy Sites’’.

The Search for Common Ground is an international non-profit organisation operating in 36 countries. Its mission is to transfer the way the world deals with conflict away from adversarial approach toward cooperative solution.

In a communiqué read by one of the participant, Mr Sani Mudi, the publicity Sectary of Jammatu Nasril Islam said the deliberations had called for the translation of the Universal Code of Conduct on Holy Sites into easily understood local languages.

According to him, the Universal Code contained 10 articles and encourages religious leaders, traditional institutions and interfaith bodies to consider it as a template for cooperation to confront the need to protect holy sites, as a socially compelling imperative.

Prohibit hate speeches
Mr. Mudi said part of the decision reached at the conference was to engage the executive and legislative arms of government to enact a law that would prohibit hate speeches and burning of holy sites.

He urged participants to spread the resolution to those who were not opportune and are involve in destroying the holy sites.

Mr. Mudi also explained that they would engage the media to work on developing content to address the issue of holy places of worship.

Protecting Holy Sites
The Global Director Religious Engagement of the Search for Common Ground, Mrs Sharon Rosen, said though the Code sought to protect holy sites, there was need to work on the surrounding issues, especially the drivers of violence that influence youths to attack places of worship.

“Following similar deliberations in the Northeast, Northwest and North central, religious leaders and other Stakeholders met here to deliberate on the applicability of Universal Code against the peculiarities of other religions.

By implication, the world is working towards the situation whereby Christians who run to a Mosque or Muslims who run for safety to a Church are guaranteed protection, because a universal code exists to that effect, it means that the military barracks would not be the only sanctuaries or safe heavens in moments of murderous in a country such as Nigeria”, she emphasized.

The programme funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is aim at developing a policy brief, complemented by what the organisers call strategies on the protection of Holy Sites.

Confidence Okwuchi