A coalition of Christian and Muslim youths paid a courtesy visit to the National President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and co-chairman of Nigerian Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor in his church office in Warri, in a bid to seek new approaches to tackle the menace of terrorism in Nigeria.
The 20-man delegation was led by the national president of Youth Wing of Christian Association of Nigeria, YOWICAN, Dr Simon Dolly and his Islamic counterpart, the national president of National Council of Muslim Youth Organisations, NACOMYO, Alhaji Kamal’ddin Akintunde and was joined by five leaders from the Warri Muslim community.
Pastor Oritsejafor while welcoming the youths charged the Muslim youths whose members are often used by the perpetrators of the violence, to take the gospel of peace to the grassroots on the need for youths to refuse to be used as instruments of destruction.
The CAN president expressed delight for the visit by the joint leadership of YOWICAN and NACOMYO saying, “The time has come for peace-loving youths of this country to rise in defence of the peace of the nation because no country can develop in an atmosphere devoid of peace and tranquillity.
“It is amazing,” he added, “that the two major religions in the country, Christianity and Islam, were unanimous about the preaching of peace, tolerance and good neighbourliness, yet there is so much violence against the Christian faith, arguing that disgruntled politicians and fundamentalist religious clerics who cannot tolerate other people’s views are behind the entire crisis.
Oritsejafor further maintained that if other Islamic youths refuse to be used by the class of intolerant politicians and fundamental religious clerics the violence in the North will abate, adding that he is looking forward to the day when Christians and Muslims can sincerely, genuinely and without pretence sit together and rub minds to move Nigeria forward.
“We must first appreciate that we are first and foremost, Nigerian before any other consideration,” he said noting that recent demographic survey shows that over 70 per cent of the nation’s population falls under the age of 40 which means that the future of this country is secure because a focused youth can galvanise this advantage for the betterment of the country.
“The interesting thing about violence is that the old people who perpetrate the act of violence, sit down in the comfort of their homes and send the young ones to the battle field where they lose their lives for no just course because no religion will ask you to kill your fellow human beings,” he said, adding that fellows who bankroll the violence will never use their children.
The CAN president further argued that the earlier the youths of the North realized that the politicians using them, often abandon them sooner than later, then “are we on the path to the resolution of the crises. True religious ideology will not kill human beings who were created by God,” he said, lamenting that most churches in the North are full of orphans and widows as a result of the mindless killings.
“Young people must reject those fundamentalist preachings that motivate them to violence. Nobody will come to Nigeria to develop it for us. Only Nigerians committed to the corporate existence of the nation can develop the nation and gavalnise to the path of righteousness and the much talked about growth. Help us. Get this to the grassroots because God has created us one. Nigeria cannot be a Christian nation. Nigeria cannot be a Muslim country either. It is not possible!” he said.
According to him, “a nation’s greatness will never manifest until somebody rises up to take cetain risks for the survival of the nation.” He therefore promised to take their request to be inauguarated as Youth wing of NIREC to his friend and co-chairman of the organization, the Sultan of Sokoto at the nearest possible time. [VN]