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Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP) has partnered
Faith for Peace Initiative (FPI) to organize a forum to strengthen interfaith in the country.

According to the organizers, the forum was aimed at building peace and unity among religious Leaders.

At the one-day Inter-Faith Peace Forum held on Wednesday, 19 February 2020, at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, prominent religious leaders, representing both Islam and Christianity, appealed to the Government to make peace-builidng and integration national priorities.

The Forum themed ‘Faith and the Fate of the Nation: Inter-Religious
Harmony as a National Imperative’ was convened by Tajudeen Alabede, a Fellow of Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace’s Fellowship Programme
on Inter-Religious Dialogue and Mediation and Director of Faith for Peace Initiative.

The Forum which chaired by Professor Dawud Noibi, a member of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) was attended by representatives
of the Christian and Muslim Communities in Oyo State and beyond.

While commenting on the forum, professor Dawud Noibi, stated that Nigeria should be recognized as a multicultural country with a stong passion for religion.

He added that two religions – Islam and Christianity – represent an absolute majority in terms of the country’s population.

“This Forum acknowledges the fact that, of the two primary indices of identification in Nigeria, that is religion and ethnicity, religion has the largest aggregate of citizens which cut across all
the ethnic groups in the country,” he said.

“Peaceful coexistence
among the followers of the two major religions, on the basis of mutual
respect and understanding will go a long way in promoting peace, progress and prosperity in the country,“ he added.

The Forum also dismissed insinuations that the two major
religions are competing with each other.

According to Tajudeen Alabede, both Islam and Christianity already have firm roots in Nigeria..

He warned against the dangers of such false insinuation, urging the government and religious leaders to show courage in addressing issues of religious discrimination and ensure that there
exists an atmosphere of justice, equity and fairness in the country.

“Religious leaders across the divide should stand together in defending the rights of all
Nigerians, irrespective of their religious affiliation,” he said.

The Forum therefore condemned hate speech, including hate preaching, as this is
against the tenets of both religions which are anchored on peace and love.

Religious bodies well represented at the forum included: Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State Chapter, Muslim
Community of Oyo State.

Personalities at the Forum included Bishop Emmanuel Ogundeji, Vice Chairman of CAN, Oyo State Chapter, Dr Bashir Olanrewaju, a Permanent Secretary in Oyo State Civil Service, Venerable Dr Victor Oladele, Assistant
Chaplain of the Chapel of the Resurrection, University of Ibadan, Professor Taofiq Abdul Azeez, Chief Imam of the University of Abuja, Reverend Kolade Fadahunsi, Director of the Institute of Church and Society, Alhaji
Kamaldeen Akintunde, former National President of the National Council of
Muslim Youth Organisations (NACOMYO), among others.

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