By Peter Usman:
Minister of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Muhammad Musa Bello, has stressed the need for interfaith cooperation, just as he pledged Administration’s support for activities aimed at ensuring peaceful coexistence among different religious faiths in the Territory.
Bello, who spoke during a courtesy visit by the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan also urged religious leaders to focus efforts at curbing incessant hate speech which, he said, was posing a challenge to peaceful co-existence amongst Nigerians.
“I want to urge you to use your position to fight the menace of hate speech, especially among our youth” Bello said.
He bemoaned the fact that the social media was being used as a platform to propagate hate and regretted situations where religious preachers are also involved in the harmful practice.
“This was not the case when we were growing up” he continued. Back then we were each other’s keeper and that is how it is supposed to be”, he said.
The Minister described Cardinal Onaiyekan as a man of peace and commended him for championing interfaith cooperation and promoting peaceful co-existence through dialogue.
He also pledged the continued support of the FCTA to the Archbishop’s activities in the pursuit of peace.
Bello also commended the Cardinal for the successful relocation of the church’s Daughters of Charity Hospital, Bwari to its new location. The old hospital, it was revealed, had to make way for the Abuja-Kaduna railway line.
In his remarks, Archbishop Onaiyekan commended the FCT Administration for its support of the Church’s activities, especially in the area of education.
He solicited partnership of the FCTA in the management of some schools that will ultimately benefit the less privileged in the society.
The Archbishop also drew the Minister’s attention to the establishment of the John Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace.
The Foundation, he said “is involved in a lot of activities geared toward promoting peaceful coexistence and interfaith cooperation.
These, he continued, include the training of several religious stakeholders cutting across the major religions in the country on peace and unity and plans to also hold an interfaith football tournament.