Aug 8 2012
by Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja
He also said it was regrettable that the northern part of the country, which he said was once leading in peace and tranquillity, had become the theatre of war.
The minister spoke on Monday night at the First Dialogue and Peace Iftar Dinner organised by Ufuk Dialogue Foundation in Abuja.
Maku said Nigerians must be worried that a region once known for its peaceful atmosphere and co-existence was already having dwindling fortune due to incessant terrorist attacks mostly by the Boko Haram sect.
He said, “Unless we are able to stop the fire, development will continue to elude the North. If the North lags behind, the whole country may not move forward.”
He called on Nigerians to embrace dialogue as the best option to settle their differences, adding that since almost all Nigerians believe in God, they should not resort to self-help when there were grievances among them.
He said, “If there are two religions that share the same ancestors, they are Islam and Christianity. These two religions not only share the same prophets, what you say in Quran is what you read in the Holy Bible. If there are two peoples that share same values, they are Muslims and Christians.
“I see no reasons why Nigeria cannot succeed. The way of Nigeria is important for all Africa. What we do today (the dialogue) is what we must do often.”
Also speaking at the event, the Governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwanbo, said suspicion remained a contributory factor fuelling insecurity in the country.
“There is a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of suspicion not only along religious lines but among individuals, the only way we can clear this misunderstanding is through dialogue,” he added.
Archbishop of Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Rev. John Onaiyekan, said he was happy that such dinner was organised during the Ramadan.
He said he and other religious leaders would continue to “go all over the world and say ‘if you want to see where Christians and Muslims are living together in peace and mutual respect, come to Nigeria’.”
He added, “The average Nigerian Muslims and Christians want to live together and they are doing so. This two great religions – Islam and Christianity, we are able to manage our difference; above all we are able to exploit them to maximum our commonalities.”
The President of Ufuk Dialogue Foundation, Oguzhan Dirican, said the foundation’s aim was to promote peace and dialogue, cultural coexistence and mutual understanding among every nation.
He said the sustainable contribution would continue with a series of conferences and events in different states of Nigeria.
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