- Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, has blamed Nigeria's crisis on ignorant preachers
- He said ignorant religious leaders are leading some Nigerians astray
- The archbishop, however, said that religious harmony is still possible in Nigeria
The Catholic archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has said that there were many ignorant religious leaders in the country preaching errors and leading people astray.
Independent reports that Onaiyekan stated this on Monday, June 25, at the first international conference organised by the inter-religious council of the University of Ilorin.
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NAIJ.com gathered that the archbishop, who said that the people emerged religious leaders overnight, advised that there was the need to check their influence from affecting national order and harmony.
“We have a major problem these days in our country where it seems everyone can become a religious leader overnight without any credentials. There are too many ignorant pastors and Imams preaching errors and leading many people astray.
“Perhaps this is the price we have to pay for the freedom of religion that we enjoy. But surely a line should be drawn somewhere, especially when national order and harmony is at stake,” he said.
Onaiyekan, in his paper entitled: 'Religious harmony and nation building', said that religious harmony is possible in Nigeria, and that without it, it would hardly be possible to build a strong and united nation.
He canvassed training and retraining of religious leaders to ensure preaching that would encourage religious harmony among adherents of religions, particularly in local communities.
He stated: “For a long time, humanity lived in closed religious communities, with not much to do with others, who perhaps have their own faith, generally considered as erroneous and false. Now that globalisation has packed us into a global village; we are faced with the fact of plurality of religions, all of us calling on the same one God.
"There is a need for a radical theological updating of our ideas of God and our faith, in such a way that we can accommodate others, just as God Himself has accommodated all of us.
“This does not have to lead to doctrinal compromise or watering down of our convictions. It simply means that we recognise that God is far greater than our ideas of him and consequently than our religions, no matter how sublime we think they are.”
Also speaking, the secretary general of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and JAMB registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, called on Nigerians to concretise interfaith relationship to achieve the purpose for which religion was institutionalised.
He added that multi-religious nature of Nigeria is a divine design of the Creator, to test whether mankind would be able to harmonise its differences or not.
“That the pluralistic nature of man has made him invent different religions is not new to Allah. He (Allah) therefore rules that while carrying out any religious activities or rituals, such should not be done at the expense of other people’s rights.
"Not this alone, no adherent of any religion should force his religion on the throat of another, and the individual should carry out his religious tenets without hurting the feeling of others (Q109: 6). This forms the basis of peaceful co-existence in the pluralistic age and in a pluralistic society,” he stated.
Professor Oloyede, who observed that religion is a powerful instrument that could be used to make or mar a society, said that its wrong application had led to wanton destruction of lives and property, misery, agony and untold hardship.
He noted: “This, however, goes contrary to the expected role of religion in society, to develop and not to destroy; to elevate and not to relegate, and to promote not to demote the societal peace.”
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Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that the general overseer and presiding pastor, Emmanuel Evangelical Church of God, Prophet Kayode Emmanuel, said that President Muhammadu Buhari would hand over to a young person in 2019.
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