PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to support Christian-Muslim joint efforts for peace as Nigeria cannot afford to become another battlefield where religion is used to promote divisions and hatred.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) in a letter of condolence to President Jonathan over the recent spate of terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram sect said it was imperative that those who perpetrated these crimes must be brought to justice and that the healing begins for those who are suffering the sect’s misdeeds.
WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, in a letter that was made available to The Guardian yesterday, said the organisation was deeply saddened by the continuing violence and social upheaval in Nigeria and pray that peace with justice will come soon for the Nigerian people.
“We continue to mourn the loss of life particularly among those who were killed in brutal attacks this past weekend in Kano and the attacks on and deaths of Christian worshipers celebrating the mass service of Christmas in Abuja only a month ago,” he said.
Tveit said the world must remain prayerful and vigilant regarding the developments in Nigeria as they are potentially destabilising not only for Nigeria itself but for African countries and other regions.
WCC member churches from around the world, Tveit disclosed, have been asked to pray for Nigeria.
He said WCC was elated by the actions of Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim leaders working together to end the violence. According to him, this is a contribution that would ultimately allow both communities to live in peace.
“Nigeria cannot become another battlefield where religion is used to promote divisions and hatred, allowing for destructive intentions. Christians and Muslims around the world offer their support to our sisters and brothers in Nigeria to enable them to live together in peace,” he said.
WCC urged President Jonathan to continue to encourage those who are seeking peace in Nigeria and those who desire that Muslims and Christians stand side by side in solidarity with the people of Nigeria.
“On behalf of the World Council of Churches, we would like to express our condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families and all victims affected by these attacks. The WCC strongly condemns these wanton and barbaric attacks of terrorism and violence which target innocent human lives,” said Tveit.
WCC prayed God almighty to heal the deep wounds, protect all God’s children and help them to overcome hatred, intolerance and violence.
Similarly, the Methodist Archbishop Michael Kehinde Stephen of Ibadan, has appealed to Christian and Muslim leaders worldwide to act together in the face of extremist violence that threatens to divide Nigerians along religious lines.
Stephen who serves as moderator of an international Christian panel that is preparing a report on ecumenism in the 21st century to be presented at the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 2013, said it is essential that people of faith work together to instill mutual trust among Nigerians communities.