By Raymond Tedun
Religious leaders in Nigeria have been urged to refrain from inciting their followers into taken arms against believers of different faith irrespective of their differences.
President of “We Pray Nigeria”, a non-governmental and prayer initiative of Africa Christian Broadcasting Network (ACBN), Pastor Moses Samuel made the call yesterday in Lagos at a press conference on the forthcoming first national Prayer meeting of the group scheduled for Abuja next week.
The cleric, who gave the admonition against the call allegedly made by the national secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Musa Asake that Christians should carry arms to defend themselves, following the Southern Kaduna crisis, frowned at the position of the CAN scribe, saying it was unexpected of a leader.
It would be recalled that following the massacre of over 200 Christians in Southern Kaduna in a clash between Fulani herdsmen and locals last year December, the CAN scribe was reported to have implored Christians to carry arms in order to defend themselves.
Rather than calling for bearing of arms by Christians, Samuel said what was appropriate of all leaders irrespective of religious affiliations was to seek the face of God in prayers for peace to reign in the country.
Bearing of arms by any group or tribe, according to the cleric, would not solve the problems of the country but would rather compound it and increase bloodshed.
Asserting that prayer is the answer to the myriad of problems of confronting the nation, the group’s president, stressed that more blood are shed each time arms are deployed.
His words, “As leaders, let’s us refrain from inciting our followers against practitioners of other faith irrespective of lour differences. There are more pains in the land and calling on Christians to carry arms is not the answer but coming together to a place of prayer.
Each time we carry arms, we are killing ourselves. Nobody should encourage anybody to carry arms because this is not the time to fight ourselves, but to come together and pray for the peace and progress of our dear country”.
Pointing out that religious leaders have blown religion out of proportion and elevated it above love, Samuel stressed that this is the time religious leaders ought to speak in one voice, condemn religious bigotry and acts that are capable of leading to shedding of blood.
Speaking further, the clergy man called for attitudinal change from all leaders in public office as regards their religious affinity, saying it is wrong for anyone to use religion as a base while at the top.
“ It is an error for you to get to the top and want to use religion as a base. The constitution of Nigeria is not religious base, long before now there is no religious crisis until lately, we have to change our attitude towards this”, the We Pray group emphasised.
On the activities on the group, Samuel explained that it was not out to preach religion but to mobilise Nigerians irrespective of faith to embark on regular massive prayer in order to salvage the country.
“ We Pray Nigeria is different from Nigeria Prays led by Gen. Yakubu Gowon. Unlike the Yakubu Gowon group that prays periodically, we felt there is need for constant prayers for Nigeria because the b problem of Nigeria has increased astronomically”, he explained.
He disclosed that the forthcoming inaugural prayer meeting of the group is slated for the 1stof February, 2017 at the National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, where the national president of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Olasupo Ayokunle, Bishop David Oyedepo, Dr. Felix Omobude, Papa Ayo Oritsejafor and other men of God are expected to attend.