Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Peter Obi, has called on political and religious leaders across the country to ensure that the different religious groups in the country live peacefully together, while upholding the ideals of freedom of worship as contained in Nigeria’s constitution.
In a message to mark the 2020 ‘International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief’, celebrated on August 22, Obi charged leaders at all levels of governance, political and religious, to sincerely strive for peaceful co-existence among all the religious groups in Nigeria.
He lamented the grievous pain religious intolerance has inflicted on Nigeria’s unity. Obi stated that upholding the right to freedom of religion, worship or expression and the right to peaceful assembly, were critical in the fight against all forms of intolerance and of discrimination based on religion or belief.
“Our national unity is not only threatened, but seriously weighed down by religious intolerance visibly existent in our dear country. Nigeria’s constitution obviously allows the freedom of religion and worship and the right to peaceful assembly. We must take urgent steps to sincerely breakdown the barriers dividing the many religious groups in Nigeria and ensure that we all live together peacefully as one,” Obi said.
Obi decried the different religious-based violent acts that had plagued different parts of the country, with their attendant security threats. He lamented that many lives have been lost and properties have been destroyed due to religious violence. He warned that continual repetition of such had serious negative economic implications on the nation.
“Religious violence goes with serious negative economic consequences. Aside ushering in a high level of insecurity, it causes a drop in the inflow of foreign direct investment while capital flight increases sporadically. We as a people must therefore learn to live in respect for other people’s religious beliefs,” he said.