From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Nigeria needs religious understanding as opposed to religious tolerance being preached by religious leaders, Director of Programmes at International Centre for Interfaith Peace and Harmony (ICIPH) Kaduna State, Ezekiel Abdullahi Babagariyo has noted.
According to him, the word tolerance has limitations but the word understanding can help people of different faiths to live together at any given time in true peace and harmony as long as they live.
Director, who spoke to The Sun Newspaper in his office in Kaduna said, the centre has been doing a lot to sensitive religious leaders most especially Christian and Muslim leaders on the need for coexistence for the well being and progress of their communities and the country at large.
He said, “we try to sensitive religion leaders most especially from the Christian and Muslim angle on the need for peaceful coexistence and religious understanding though people often talk about religious tolerance which we are trying to replace the word ‘tolerance’ with the word. ‘understanding’
“Tolerance means there may be limitation to how far I can tolerate you before that tolerance expires. So, we preach inter-religion understanding among religious leaders both Christians and Muslims.
“We also organise programmes for youths within communities. This is important because the youths are the foot soldiers use for conflicts in Northern Nigeria when it arises. We induct these youths to be peace ambassadors and peace vanguards.
“The peace ambassadors bring in graduates and even those with secondary school certificates to be trained and become peace ambassadors.
“Then on youth vanguard, we go on the streets to recruit participants including those who smoke weeds because we want to capture them where they live, train them to be peace vanguard. We also empower women to be able to contribute economically to the well being of their families”, he added.