The introduction of Interfaith Code of Conducts was a means to bridge the disparity between Christian and Muslim clerics — the two major religions in Nigeria — at a landmark event under the umbrella of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP). It was stated that Nigeria is not a battlefield for religion and should not be treated as one. This event which was held in Abuja stands as a significant milestone to promote a peaceful relationship between Islam and Christianity in Nigeria as the two major religions that coexist.
Reverend Dr. Benebo Fubara-Manuel, former President of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), who represented Archbishop Daniel Okoh, The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) mentioned that the 20-page Interfaith Code of Conduct that was initiated in 2020 by the IDFP highlighted measures to clear out misunderstandings that surround shared values and by so doing, promoting unity among the faith communities. Fubara-Manuel said that the guidelines stand to correct many misunderstandings from both faiths and help to dissolve disagreements in their religions.
Promotion of empowerment & education of all Muslims and Christians.
This Act is proposed to be generally communicated in schools, mosques and churches nationwide both in electronic and print formats, in order to empower and enlighten the worshipers of the two religions. According to CAN President, IDFP was commissioned to prompt discussion, peace-making and understanding in interfaith among various cultural and religious bodies in Nigeria. Okoh said that members of faith communities, religious leaders and religion, throughout history, have always been entangled in territorial, political and religious rhetoric conflicts.
A profound symbolic dimension has been attributed to the influence of many sacred places, groups and religious leaders on the identity of people as it enhances community disorderliness. Okoh said that this Interfaith Code of Conduct which is accessible in electronic and print formats will be generally circulated in different schools, mosques and churches. The aim of this initiative is to promote empowerment and education of all Muslims and Christians, enhancing their ability to work in unity to build a peaceful Nigeria.
Through the code of conduct, hateful speeches will be dispelled.
Co-chair of IDFP, Imam (Dr.) Yusuf Arrigasiyyu, also added to Okoh’s statement that Nigeria should not be seen as a battlefield, but rather as a united nation, stating that the system of Interfaith Code of Conduct was mainly initiated to indicate that Christianity and Islam can coexist peacefully and partner harmoniously. Also, he added that the code of conduct, which was initiated voluntarily, functions as a guide to dispel hateful speech and insultive views while raising respect and promoting unity for each other.
Furthermore, the Director General of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr. Joseph Ochogwu, stressed the significance of mutual understanding in the establishment of the guidelines. Ochogwu said that the religions rely on each other and a united practice of religions in the country is required. He added that he hope to witness continuous support of the Directorate of the Institute of Peace and Cultural Resolution to this initiative. The former co-chair of IDFP, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, re-emphasized the requirement of accountability in practicing religion.
IDFP objective is to establish a society recognized with harmony.
Also, the IDFP requests immediate action from the government on any persons, notwithstanding whether they are religious leaders or not, that speak recklessly, stating that they should be held accountable and responsible. The objective of IDFP is to establish a society recognized with harmony, cooperation and respect, with the aim of building a united and stronger nation. According to the Interfaith Mediation Center for Muslim-Christian dialogue in Kaduna, Imam Nuraini Ashafa and Pastor Joseph Wuye, the launch of the Interfaith Code of Conduct is viewed as a significant step towards building a peaceful coexistence of the faiths.
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