Religious leaders seek peaceful co-existence in Africa

By Fatima Hassan, Abuja

A three-day International conference on deepening religious tolerance and understanding between different religious group in African has been held in Abuja, Nigeria.

At the conference, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III advised religious leaders to promote peaceful co-existence among their followers.

Sustainable peace
He said that the conference would chart a new course for the attainment of sustainable peace in the continent.

’’This Government has demonstrated genuine commitment to addressing lingering security challenges.
Like so many countries across the world, Nigeria has its own challenges and we will overcome those challenges within a short possible time,” 
he stated.

The Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan said that the conference would correct misconceptions about religion, especially with the calibre of religious leaders in attendance.

According to him, the attitude of some people gives their religion a bad name, especially those that wage war and kill people.

“This conference will correct widely held view that Nigeria is not a peaceful country, Nigeria has a long history of peaceful coexistence and hospitality,” Cardinal Onaiyekan stressed.

He said that the role of religious leaders in promoting interfaith dialogue could not be over emphasised, adding that religious communities were very effective in building peace.

Control of gun proliferation
The Executive Secretary of Abuja National Mosque, Mallam Ibrahim Abubakar also called on the United Nations and all the stakeholders involved in peace building to ensure the control of gun proliferation.

“Those who are cursing havoc cannot do it without carrying weapons. My question is where are those weapons coming from? We should try as much as possible to control the movement of weapon and drug within our borders.

It is also important for us to understand our various religions so that we will be able to respect each other. As long as we don’t understand each other’s religion, we will likely continue offending one another,” Mallam Abubakar explained. 

The African Council of Religious Leaders organised the conference with the theme ‘Faith Works Africa: Partnership for Peace and prosperity.’

Mercy Chukwudiebere