Christian and Muslim clerics on Monday in Ibadan admonished Nigerians to inculcate the spirit of tolerance and peaceful co-existence to allow for peace to reign in the country.
The clerics commended what obtained in the South West, where habitual peaceful co-existence of both faiths has been established for years, in spite of unrests in various parts of the country.
“Boko Haram’s attacks show a complete and utter disregard for human life,” said the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) chairman for Ibadan South-West Local Government zone, Pastor Ayodele Agbaje.
“They are wantonly killing and maiming the innocent. They are traumatising the people and causing intense fright and dread among the populace.
“Boko Haramists are clearly disillusioned fanatics who have lost every sense of their moral reasoning because I do not know of any Quranic passage which supports their senseless blood thirst” he said.
Mr. Agbaje opined that the peace the west enjoys is as a result of the socio-cultural values. He said the culture of Westerners are centred on being each other’s keeper.
Another head of a church, Jinadu Adewunmi, on his part held that the relative peace in the South West was the result of the long tradition of interaction between people of different religions as well as inter-faith marriages.
The National Missioner, Ansar-ud-deen Society of Nigeria, Abdul-Rahman Ahmad, said there had been peaceful co-existence in the region for more than 400 years.
He said different religious faithful cut across each family in the South West, adding that misunderstandings were resolved diplomatically.
“All the various religious groups in the South West have succeeded in the resistance of all efforts geared toward maligning any of them,’’ Ahmad says.
“ We know for a fact that a religious war would be an aberration in the South West part of the country because there are people of diverse faiths within the same family.
“ Interestingly, you will also find a Muslim marrying a Christian or vice versa and it will be unimaginable to explain one taking up arms against the other in the guise of prosecuting a religious war.
Similarly, Alhaji Kamaldin Akintunde, the Secretary, National Council of Muslim Youths (NACOMYO), attributed the peaceful co-existence to family ties informed by inter-religious marriages.
Akintunde also said the climate of peace was a product of the respect for each religious beliefs, adding that it was achieved through maturity.
“The government in the South West region has always ensured that religious faiths are not trampled upon,’’ Akintunde said.
He said the region also ensured the avoidance of abusive teachings that could insult the religious sensibilities of others.
Pastor Paul Akanbi of Christ Life Church , Alaakia, believed the solution was in bringing all aggrieved persons advocating one cause or the other to the round table.
“There is the need for dialogue and a readiness to make amends while accommodating the genuine concerns of the aggrieved parties.
“ Only then can gainful strides be made toward the establishment of peace in the volatile and violence-prone region that the North has become,’’ Mr. Akanbi says.