by PRISCILLA DENNIS
Lemu stated this at a two-day seminar over the weekend in Minna with the theme: ‘Interfaith Relations and political stability in Nigeria: Breaking the cycle of identity politics,’ organised by Development Initiative of West Africa, DIWA, of Nigeria in collaboration with IET.
He said their efforts were mostly geared towards satisfying selfish desires rather than meeting the needs of the people.
The cleric, who was chairman, Presidential Panel on 2011 Post Election Violence, explained that the aim of the seminar was to provide a platform where issues affecting peaceful coexistence in Nigeria could be discussed to promote mutual understanding among believers of the two main religions.
He stressed the need for politicians, clerics, businessmen and stakeholders to do what is right if peaceful coexistence must be achieved, while blaming the youths for allowing themselves to be used to cause crisis without understanding the teachings of their religions.
Director of DIWA, Saidu Takuma, said the seminar will strengthen the already existing relationship between members of the two religions, and hoped its effect will resonate across the nation and form the basis for more discussions even beyond interfaith lines.
Also, Barr Solomon Dalone, who is an activist and member of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, stated that in order to promote social harmony in the society, religion must be seen as personal while politics is collective interest, just as the youths must be enlightened in that direction.
He appealed to Nigerians to centre their energy more on what unites them than their diversity, saying: “You cannot cry of being oppressed while perpetuating same in your localities.”
The workshop had in attendance prominent religious leaders and lecturers such as Rev. Fr John Okeni of Arch Diocese of Maiduguri, Dr Mohammed Babangida Mohammed of Bayero University Kano, Bashir Mundi and members of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.
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