Without peace, there cannot be any meaningful achievement–Bishop Onuoah

Sunday Onuoha

Co-Chair, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), Bishop Sunday Ndukwo Onuoha, has said that without peace in Nigeria, there cannot be any meaningful development.

Bishop Onuoha stated this weekend at a Special Stakeholders Dinner to discuss building a culture of peace and unity in our country organised by the Methodist Church Nigeria in Abuja.

Onuoha, who is also the President, Vision Africa, said no investor would like to establish a business in an environment of rancour and warfare.

“No meaningful development can take place in an environment where there is mutual suspicion. People hardly would trust each other because the faiths which are meant to bind people together end up dividing them.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria has gotten to that level where she allowed religious bigotry to polarise her,” he said.

According to him, our religions teach great moral values – we all preach love as a virtue.

“So religious leaders should ensure that they emphasize this quality of God, because where love exists, there must, of necessity, be the absence of suspicion, religious discrimination, rivalry and competition, strife and tension.

“Both Christianity and Islam encourage hospitality. When we open up ourselves to one another and support each other as practitioners of faith then we follow the scriptural admonition or divine enablement to share with others our home, our lives, our personal space and resources without communicating a need for performance or an expectation of return.

Love for neighbour is a golden rule in all religions; we must all draw goodness from our various faiths and treat each other from the theology of hospitality acknowledging all as fully human and with dignity, so that Nigeria would be safer and secure for all,” he said.

He said sermons, preaching and exhortations must promote religious tolerance as a means for peace.

“We must de-emphasize our faith leanings and rather, emphasize our common humanity and not bring religious sentiments to governance.

“Nigerians must face the issues of national development and rise above religious sentiments if we are to be listed among the developed nations,” he said.

Also, the Northern Coordinator, Global Peace Foundation (Nigeria), Sheikh Haliru Maraya, identified injustice among the people as a key driver of conflict and instability in the country.

The Methodist Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace, the Most Rev. (Dr) Joseph Oche Job, however, accused the elites of exploiting the religious and ethnic fault lines in the country for selfish gains.

To us, there are three problems besetting Nigeria. They are ignorance, poverty and hatred.

“If we are able to overcome these challenges, terrorism will no longer be a problem for us.

“However, the elites in the country are not ignorant, but they seem to be fueling the problems for their own advantage. They want more money and power. Let us pray for everyone to understand the need to love this nation more than money,” he said.

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