The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council on Friday maintained the secularity of the country, saying no religion is superior to the other.While affirming that Nigeria is a multi-religious state under God, the organisation called on religious leaders to resist political manipulation of religion that could lead to anarchy.
NIREC made the submissions in a joint statement by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Daniel Okoh and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammed Sa’ad Abubakar.
The NIREC co-chairmen said they were disturbed by the ugly trend occasioned by the hate speeches before and after the 2023 elections.
The statement said, “Weaponizing religion for selfish, political gains is capable of causing religious conflict in Nigeria. NIREC therefore condemns, in strongest terms, the statements that give the impression that one religion is superior to the other. NIREC affirms that Nigeria is a multi-religious state under God.
“NIREC condemns statements that give the impression of religious dominance and superiority in the country. We wish however that every Nigerian could be a true Christian or a true Muslim as that would promote the religious values that could transform the nation. Given that most politicians in Nigeria practice one religion or the other, the Christian and Muslim politicians should proclaim the fear and love of God by caring for the common good and welfare of the citizens.
“NIREC calls on religious leaders to resist political manipulation of religion that could lead to anarchy. We condemn the antics of politicians whose main goal is to achieve their political interest by whatever means possible including using religion as a cover. NIREC calls on our political leaders to use their platforms to sue for peace, unity and harmony while also refraining from making statements or comments that are capable of aggravating the already heated polity in the nation.
“NIREC calls upon all politicians to play politics with the fear of God, dignity, honour and decorum by eschewing the politics of division and sectionalism. NIREC appeals to the general public to note that the elections are over and various cases are in court challenging the outcome and must therefore give the judiciary the opportunity to do its work.
“Nigerians must continue to be patriotic, law- abiding and peace-loving and must oppose all acts of machinations and manipulations by leaders who are using religion to tear the nation apart. Let us pray for a nation that will continue to promote justice and peaceful co-existence. The task of building a prosperous Nigeria is the task of every citizen. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!”