Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has charged clerics to do all within their powers to delegitimise all apostles of hatred and bad creed in the world.
He gave the charge while addressing World religious leaders at a dinner to usher in a conference of faith groups with the theme “Faith Works Africa: Partnership for Peace and Prosperity.”
Mr. Osinbajo noted the myriad of problems facing the world, including poverty, terrorism and armed conflicts, and attributed many of them to bad religious doctrines.
“It is crucial that we delegitimise all apostles of hatred and bad creed,’’ he said.
The Vice President noted that religion was meant to foster togetherness and ensure progress of societies.
According to him, the Federal Government believes in the sanctity of all human beings and their right to belong to any religion.
He added that government would do everything possible to protect that sanctity.
Mr. Osinbajo expressed gratitude that no fewer than 40 religious bodies had sought to build consensus on problems besetting humanity and urged it not to relent.
Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, noted that the country had its problems and was fully aware of them.
The Sultan noted that Nigeria is the only country in the world where with equal Christian and Muslim populations, the worshipers co-existed in peace most of the time.
He said the citizens had to work with the President to salvage the country “because a stable Nigeria is a stable Africa and a stable world’’.
Mr. Abubakar also urged the clerics to condemn what was happening in different parts of the world in the name of religion and to help in proffering solutions to other global problems.
“We have problems in Nigeria but in the shortest time possible we shall overcome them,’’ the Sultan declared.
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, added that the group wanted to make religion to work for peace and progress in the country.
Mr. Onaiyekan said there were persons giving bad name to religion for some inordinate reasons, but said their moves would be made unpopular by the faithful.
“We are willing to make religion to work for peace and progress in Africa and the entire world.
“Nigeria is still an ideal nation to experience how Muslims and Christians lie together and share spiritual values,” he added.
The Secretary-General of the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa, Grace Kaiso, observed that Africa is a continent of faith, yet its people remain brutal to one another.
He noted that Africans live along political and ethnic lines, thereby making it difficult to nurture political stability in many countries.
“As we think of the future of the continent, how do we restore confidence in the institutions that work for the people?
“We have this challenge of nurturing national solidarity so that people will think about who they are as nationals before thinking about their ethnic groups,’’ he said.
Mr. Kaiso said people had abandoned dialogue in managing their differences, adding that dialogue would eliminate the culture of guns.
According to him, Africa is a continent that is badly wounded and needs leadership that is nurturing and healing.
“Every generation has its calling and our generation has been called to make sacrifices for the future,” the cleric said.
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Samson Ayokunle, represented by Testimony Onifade, expressed thanks to the body for converging on Nigeria at this time and pledged to support its peace initiatives.
The CAN president called for fervent prayers and united action in the continent to ensure enduring peace, so that Africa would join others in the world to achieve global peace.
Mr. Ayokunle noted that “faith works and the importance of faith cannot be undermined in any circumstance.”