by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
As the world celebrates United Nations International Day for Tolerance 16th November, a Christian cleric, Pastor Yohanna Buru, has called for better understanding among different faith-based institutions in the country with a view to strengthening peaceful co-existence among all religious believers in the country.
Buru made the call during an interview with the Press in Kaduna, while commenting on the importance of the international day for tolerance and how to promote better understanding among different faith-based organizations in the country in such a way that would help in building a strong nation, irrespective of the large number of tribe, religious, culture and geographical differences.
According to him, no society can really attain its economic and political heights when the ingredients of peace, harmony, and social development are lacking.
He stressed that, “It has, therefore, become imperative that all nations of the world that aspire to be great must, as a matter of necessity, toy the path of peace among its people, whether multi-religious or multi-ethnic.
Buru said, since the beginning of this year – month of December, 2020 – his organization has embarked on serious advocacies to other Islamic scholars, which is aimed at promoting religious tolerance among Christians and Muslims with other traditional believers in the state.
He revealed that, they are going to use the whole month of November through visiting top Islamic scholars and other religious believers, in order to spread the message of peace and harmony, and to also draw the attention of Nigerians on the importance of promoting religious tolerance at home, school, markets, stadiums, car-parks and at football viewing centers.
While the Christian cleric stressed that the importance of religious tolerance in peace building cannot be overemphasized, he equally appealed to Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), Jama’atu Nasir Islam (JNI) and other traditional believers to that humanity is created by one God, “and we are one family under God.”
Even as Buru called on both Muslims and Christians to forgive each other where they hurt each other, he at the same time urged all Nigerian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations that promote peace building in communities to extend peace campaign to rural communities and train youths on various skills acquisitions, and called on youths in the village to shun thuggery and drug abuse.
Similarly, an international interfaith specialist in West Africa, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, who is also a Peace Ambassador, has called on Nigerians to support the federal government towards eradicating religious extremism and terrorism activities that are bedeviling peace stability in the country.
Ramatu appealed to all scholars across the 36 states of Nigeria to support all NGOs and CSOs that are promoting peace building and religious tolerance in the country.
Additionally, she emphasized on the importance of creation of institutes of comparative studies in the country, which according to her, will surely increase better understanding, religious tolerance, forgiveness, reduce blaspheming tendencies, and how to live in peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians and other religious believers, in accordance with the teachings of the Holy books, saying, “And this will boost the activities of local and international interfaith activities across the 36 states of Nigeria and some parts of African countries.”
She also noted that there are more than 6,000 religions in the world, most of which are very different from the literate Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) that many people think of when they hear the word “religion.”
“Nigeria has been facing different forms of religious violence and attacks to holy places by both Muslims and Christians for many years, causing series of set-backs confronting all forms of socio-political, economic and peace stability in the country,” she said.
Responding at the event, another speaker, Mallam Gambo Abdullahi Barnawa also said there is need to promote tolerance among Nigerians, in order to end all forms of attacks and hatred.