Stakeholders have challenged christian, Muslim and traditional religion leaders to step up the responsibility of contributing to the collective reengineering and moral rearmament urgently needed to salvage the nation, in fulfilling their roles as religious leaders and pulpit managers.
This was part of the consensus reached according to a communique issued after an inclusive, open dialogue recently in Abuja through the collaboration of Vision Africa (VA) and the Global Peace Foundation (GPF); which was facilitated by the President of Vision Africa, Bishop Sunday Onuoha.
The inclusive security dialogue had in attendance, key stakeholders and elder statesmen, namely; former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, President of Vision Africa Bishop Sunday Onuoha amongst others.
According to the communique, the security retreat was meant to bridge the gap across ideological, political, ethnic, religious and cultural divides, which will help in understanding the conflict dynamics in Nigeria, as stakeholders all look ahead to charting a path to peace and integral security in Nigeria.
The communique reads in part, “The simple objective of the retreat was to honestly and transparently come to the dialogue table or ‘conversation room’, irrespective of our political leanings or ideologies – focusing first, on our common humanity.
“The purpose of the retreat was to bring stakeholders together to address critical issues and seek lasting solutions to the grave challenges facing Nigeria, beginning from an affirmation of transcendent truths that define our
“As Nigeria, and indeed Nigerians, face an existential challenge, we circulated invitations to an intentional pool of key influencers, political leaders, regional leaders and leaders of separatist/agitating/self-determination groups; and high-level religious and civil society leaders.
“The aim is to address the conditions that foster unrest and radicalism globally. Such conditions as poverty, unemployment, social dislocation, cultural polarization, and a large demographic of disaffected and alienated Nigerian youths.”
This expanded meeting is sequel to an earlier “Inclusive Security Dialogue Retreat” held at the Airlie Conference Center in Warrenton, VA outside Washington DC between the 18th and 20th October 2021, to select Nigerian key influencers, adopting the Chatham House rules in moderating the dialogue.
Later there were consultations at the Capitol Hill with some members of the US Congress, with expected outcomes from the meeting which include: “an increased understanding of the root causes of conflict and violence affecting the country.
This they said will also increased positive relationship between the Nigerian government and various agitating groups across the country, and a refocus on the importance of universal principles and shared values as the glue for social cohesion and sustainable peace.
As a result of the dialogue meeting, the individual discussants contributed to the communique, highlighting the following thematic focal points:
“High prevalence of insecurity in Nigeria is driven largely by social Injustice and a failed economy; hence fueling continued agitation by the country’s young alienated generation.
“Hunger and starvation in the Land will get worse as continued violence and insecurity makes our farms unsafe for families whose basic sustenance is dependent on their yields from the farms. o Neglect of oil exploration communities and minorities will only deepen the threat to our security and unity.
“Underdevelopment and isolation cannot remain the strategy else they will be uncomfortable to remain with the concept of Nigeria.
“The role of religious leaders and pulpit managers (traditional, Christian, Islam) in our moral rearmament and collective reengineering is urgently needed to salvage our nation.
“National Development without a focus on Youths and the education sector, and an intentional intergenerational collaboration between the elite and the youths, may not augur well for our security.
“Neither will the organized movement of street children and the disabled from one part of the National Reconciliation Conference, that allows the principles of fairness, equity and justice; country to another. We postpone doomsday if it is ignored.
“The 1999 Constitution is Oligo-military in nature and does not represent our collective interests; it needs to be re-negotiated by national ethics. A constitutional review process, enabling peace and social cohesion is necessary. Government shall therefore provide an environment where a new Constitution from the representatives of the people by the people and for the people would emerge.
The consensus as expressed in the communique, agreed upon by the individual discussants states as follows: “We emphatically call for the cessation of incitement, misrepresentation and distortion of the image of the other and of the neighbor. Instead, we must draw upon our religious traditions, and our understanding of what is best for our people
“Government must act sincerely as an unbiased arbiter to address insecurity headlong as the high prevalence of violent crisis, kidnapping, and fatal attacks in Nigeria are driven largely by social Injustice and a failed economy.
“The Church, the Mosque, and traditional worshippers must as a matter of morality, step up to the responsibility of contributing to the collective reengineering and moral rearmament urgently needed to salvage our nation, in fulfilling their roles as religious leaders and pulpit managers.
“Government, as a matter of urgency must convene a national reconciliatory conference where we can all address the underlying issues of our challenges and hateful statements/agenda that successive governments have ignored to address; this convening should be organized in order to quell the mistrust-fueled agitations and crisis before the entity called Nigeria collapses.
“The 1999 Constitution does not embody the principles of justice, fairness and equality, on which every democracy is founded.
“Thus, it does not fully protect the rights and interests of Nigeria’s diverse constituencies.
“We call on the Government to begin a process of constitutional review, amend and rework the constitution, drawing on our previous constitutions, amongst other things, to synchronize/harmonize the laudable principles they embody. This will ensure, not one-off solutions, but lasting change.
“Government at all levels must revisit and show sincere effort at understanding the core issues of dissidence and self-determination in Nigeria, rather than incarceration, bullets and counter-attacks as government response to agitations and unrest.”
Pray For Your Leaders, Don’t Curse them – Sultan of Sokoto Urges Nigerians
***Preaches Peaceful Coexistence, Unity.
By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
SULTAN of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III has urged Nigerians to pray for their leaders rather than curse them as he tasked them on unity and peaceful coexistence for the growth and development of Nigeria.
Sultan Abubakar made the call on Saturday in Lokoja while inaugurating the “Alhaji Abdullahi Habib Memorial Mosque”, at Federal University Lokoja (FUL), built and donated by a widow, Dr Maimuna Abdullahi.
The Sultan who was represented by the Emir of Keffi, HRH Shehu Chindo-Yamusa said that as patriotic citizens, “We should fervently pray for our leaders and not curse them so that they don’t go astray to our detriment as a nation.
“We should learn to always respect our leaders and the rule of law for the nation to have a direction for better living.
“This edifice or place of worship (sitting on 150m x 250 expanse of land) is built and donated by a family that loves God and desires for others to know and worship Him for their wellbeing.
“It’s my prayer that God will handsomely reward the Habib family and give others the passion and zeal to do same for the benefit of mankind”, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi, Vice Chancellor of the University described the inauguration of the mosque as a historic moment in the annals of the institution.
He expressed the hope that the mosque would serve as “a testament to our shared commitment to knowledge, compassion and service to humanity.”
“The commissioning of the mosque today is but a historic moment in the annals of this university, and the Muslim community will observe daily religious obligations that will foster the unity of all faiths in the university.
“Quran chapter 57 verse 18 says: “For those who give in charity, men, and women, and loan to Allah a beautiful loan, it shall be increased manifold (to their credit), and they shall have (besides) a liberal reward”
“This explains the circumstance of Dr Memuna Abdullahi our benefactor, who in her wisdom, decided to build and donate this mosque in memory of her late husband, Squadron Leader Abdullahi Habib.
“I remain grateful to God Almighty that this project was initiated and completed under my tenure in the University. May God continue to bless the family of the donor for finding Federal University Lokoja worthy of this gesture”, Akinwumi said.
Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, Registrar of Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), In his Keynote address, commended the family of the donor saying that the importance of the donated Jumaat Mosque in an University environment could not be over emphasized.
Represented by the Director of Legal Services of the organization, Abdulwahap Oyedokun, the JAMB Registrar said that the gesture would benefit the University community tremendously as it would go a long way in impacting useful knowledge and enhance “spiritual moulding.”
For the donor, Dr Abdullahi, the Mosque was a dream come true as it was the wish of her late husband who died on the 31st of October, 2021 leaving the instruction for her and the children to accomplish.
She disclosed that the mosque was the third and biggest of the three mosques the family has so far built and donated in Kogi as the family’s own way of giving back to God and the society.
“Today, we have have equally donated 75 copies of Qur’an to this very mosque located in FUL as our gesture in the service of God.
“This gesture is just the beginning and not an end to our resolve as a family in serving the Almighty God”, she said. (Ends)
Governor Otu Applauds BCS On Education, Religious Tourism
Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River, Thursday, commended members of the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star (BCS), for their contributions to the state and society.
Otu who was speaking when he received a seven man delegation from BCS in Calabar, the Cross River capital, said the religious organization, through its programs has continued to attract visitors into the state from all over the globe.
“Brotherhood has contributed to the growth of Cross River State immensely. As government, we appreciate its contribution in education, spiritual empowerment and tourism potentials.
“We have tourists across the globe who visit Calabar at regular intervals for pilgrimage and spiritual satisfaction and these have continued to boost our name internationally,” Otu said.
The governor who enjoined the religious organization not to relent in propagating the word of God also encouraged the hearers to remain Godly and never derail from the path of truth, justice and fair play.
“I believe that any society that does not have spiritual diversity will have no direction.
“As you continue to evangelize, I believe our people will continue to change for good,” the governor remarked.
Assuring His Holiness, Leader Olumba Olumba Obu, of his administration’s commitment to continue to partner with him, the governor also sued for prayers for the people of the state, nation and the world at large in view of the precarious situation and challenges being faced by all.
On the request made by the team which bordered on land claims, Otu said he would not want to take instant decision, but would ensure that justice which were hitherto denied would be corrected.
Earlier, Leader of the delegation, Senator Biobarakuma Degi, appealed for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Akpet-Ugbem-Etono road, to create access for both local and foreign tourists to Biakpan Holy City in Biase local government area.
Degi also solicited for support on the 36 hectares proposed mega city in Adiabo, Odukpani local government area, a project, he remarked, is aimed at boosting the spiritual and economic values of the state and its inhabitants.
How unforgiving spirit derails destinies of Christians, by pastor Godwin Ube
Senior Pastor of the Help from Above Healing and Deliverance Ministry Worldwide, Pastor Godwin Ube has attributed unforgiveness and bitterness as underlying factors affecting the destinies of lot of Christians.
Pastor Ube stated this at a thanksgiving service to mark the end of a three day international conference with the theme ” Gate of My Destiny Open Now” in Abuja.
Speaking on the topic ” the Dangers of Unforgiveness” from the bible, the book of Mark chapter 11 verse 25, Ube reiterated that the devil makes people to harbour bitterness in their hearts in order to truncate their destinies.
“One of the weapons of the deveil today is unforgiveness which hinder the breakthroughs of many Christians, unforgiveness is dangerous and bitterness is deadly” Pastor Ube added.
According to him, the scripture makes it clear that one of the attributes of God is his loving ability to forgive.
The Senior Pastor explained that it is because of God’s willingness to forgive the sins of humanity that he sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of men.
He further emphasized that unforgiveness attracts torments that can lead to self inflicted pains and sicknesses as well as closed heaven.
“Unforgiveness invites troubles in life, it is the root of bitterness and it leads people to enternal damination”
Pastor Ube added that bitterness grows to outright hatred that deprived people from remaining focus.
He urged Christians nursing unforgiveness to have a clean heart in order to be accepted by God.
“Bitterness can also cause mental condition, if you begrudge anyone, try to reconcile with the person because the name of a church cannot save you but personal relationship with God can” he added.
Pastor Ube therefore appealed to Christians to always have open heart to forgiveness to be able to approach God, stressing that unforgiving heart is unfit to meet God in a place of prayer.
According to him one who hates his brother is a murderer and no murderer has eternal life.
“I counsel you make up your minds never to live in unforgiveness, remember forgiveness can destroy sickness while unforgiveness can attract afflictions.
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