Nigeria: an inter-religious forum on the new coronavirus

Organized in Nigeria last week, the Interfaith Forum concluded that greater collaboration between Christians and Muslims is needed to restore hope to the people struggling with the aftermath of Covid-19.


Working together to give hope to the Nigerian people: this was the invitation of a virtual forum organized last week by the Cardinal Onayekan Peace Foundation in collaboration with the Faith for Peace Initiative. According to the website of the West African Regional Episcopal Conference, the event was attended by several Christian and Muslim religious leaders.

Working hand in hand

Participants at the forum urged the country’s two major religious communities to intensify their complementary role in promoting economic development and poverty reduction in Nigeria, while coping with the devastating effects of Covid-19. In playing this role, religious communities should emphasize joint community action by leaders of both religions at all levels. In this way, faith communities would work together, become complementary and share their strengths and experiences in addressing this common challenge that involves the whole of humanity.

Charitable initiatives for the most vulnerable

Christian and Muslim leaders in Nigeria have also encouraged the two religious communities to collaborate in charitable initiatives for the benefit of the most vulnerable sections of the population. They welcomed the support of the Inter-religious Council of Nigeria for the government’s efforts to stem the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable. To this end, they called for increased efforts to promote religious tolerance and harmony in Nigeria in order to foster the climate of peace and tranquility necessary to attract foreign investment and to allow the free movement of goods and services throughout the country.

Benefit

The Nigeria Interreligious Forum also resulted in a proposal to the Interreligious Council of Nigeria to establish a special Covid-19 Interreligious Council to better coordinate their initiatives against the health crisis.

According to Nigeria’s religious leaders, the current health emergency has exposed all the shortcomings in the country’s governance, health and education system. Hence, the invitation to the ruling class to seize this opportunity to reform the system and make it more effective, so that the country can deal with other emergencies such as the Covid-19 in the future.