Clerics from the two major religions in Nigeria have advocated for peace and religious tolerance between Christians and Muslims that would promote mutual trust, coexistence, unity, and love for the progress and development of the nation.
This was revealed during this year's interfaith fast-breaking dinner (Iftar) organized by the Muslim Community of the Federal University Lokoja (FUL) on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, at the College of Health Sciences, Adankolo Campus of the University, marking the 28th day of the Ramadan fasting.
The annual event is usually organized in collaboration with the University Management to foster the spirit of togetherness, love, and mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims within and outside the University. In addition, it creates a convivial atmosphere for adherents of the two faiths to bond together and share common values towards building mutual trust for one another.
In his opening remarks, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and Chairman, FUL Muslim Community, Prof. M.S. Audu, who introduced and welcomed leaders of both religious groups from Lokoja, maintained that the cordial relationship existing between Christians and Muslims, and amongst staff and students in the University was as a result of the joint efforts aimed at promoting interfaith interaction within the academic community.
He added that since the assumption of the current Vice-Chancellor, the scope of the yearly event has been expanded beyond what it used to be to accommodate more diversity and entrench inclusiveness among the religious groups.
While giving his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi appreciated members of the Christian and Muslim Communities for honouring the invitation and equally thanked religious leaders on the campus for working in harmony towards promoting peace in the University. Prof. Akinwumi prayed for peace to reign in Nigeria, pointing out that, with the ushering in of a new administration just immediately after the Lent and Ramadan fast, he was quite optimistic of a better country in the offing.
In their separate goodwill messages, the State Chairman of Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI), His Excellency, Ambassador Usman Bello; the Administrative Secretary, Kogi State Council of Ulamau, Alhaji Idris Baba-Ango; the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kogi State Chapter, Senior Apostle (Dr.) Adebayo Olaniyan Emmanuel; and the Chaplain, Regina Caeli Catholic Chaplaincy, FUL, Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Paul Tubi, who spoke during the event, underscored the need for a sustained effort in promoting religious harmony in every Institution/Organization and State of the Federation. They all alluded to the need for such interaction to be encouraged at all levels and held regularly between the two predominant religions due to its many benefits.
The leaders of the Muslim groups specially commended the efforts of the Vice-Chancellor and his management team for the good job they are doing in FUL, particularly the introduction of MB;BS programme and upgrade of FMC Lokoja to Federal Teaching Hospital, allocation of land for the building of a mosque at the Permanent Site which is under construction, the establishment of religious and other new programmes, among other giant strides. While praying for God's guidance and more wisdom for the VC, the two religious groups assured him of their unwavering support.
Giving the vote of thanks, the Registrar of the University, Dr. Rebecca Aimiohu Okojie, expressed profound gratitude to the guests and all those who worked to ensure the success of the event. The fast-breaking dinner which included the recitation of the Holy Qur'an was attended by Principal Officers/Management staff, Professors, staff, and students who turned out in droves. Others were the Chief Imam of the University Central Mosque, Iman Danjuma Khalid, and Dr. Sheikh Abdullahi Yusuf who represented the Kalifah. Seen more pictures of the event here