Falana Blames Corrupt Political Elites Of Fueling Religious Intolerance

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Femi Falana (SAN) on Saturday 22nd February, 2020 alleged that some corrupt political elites are responsible for the increase in of religious intolerance in the country.
He made the accusation during his speech at the 5th UFUK Dialogue International Conference on Love and Tolerance held in Lagos, tagged “Countering Violent Extremism for Peaceful Co-existence”.

UFUK Dialogue is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) founded to promote dialogue, culture of co-existence and mutual understanding. It has the mandate to establish a common platform aimed at information and opinion exchange.

UFUK also focuses on dialogue and peace activities in academic and intellectual levels amongst different members of the society.

Femi Falana said that some set of corrupt political office holders were the ones pitching the citizens against themselves as a cover up to their corrupt practices so as to get a reason.

There are evidences that corrupt political office holders are the one’s fueling religious intolerance in the country just to cover up for their sins against humanity.

The political elites are not sincere with stopping all these vices because that is a way to distract the people from their corrupt cases while the people are battling and engaging themselves.

As a person, people often ask me why I am standing in for a Muslim and the answer they get is that I don’t know anyone.

I am defending all the oppressed irrespective of religious affiliation. However our own leaders are busy spreading falsehoods about religion,” he noted.

Falana said that the two main religions in Nigeria have things in common, hence there shouldn’t be a reason for division of peaceful co-existence.

According to him, there are lots of things the two religions have in common, one is that they believe that there is one God above all, they both fast and other similarities.

There is no reason why peace shouldn’t prevail among the two if we believe in one supreme God. Love should exist, because God is love, this is important for us to know.

I have been in the position to encourage some rich people to invest in education and establishment of industries because that is the way to go to get our youths engaged.

Mr. Kamil Kemanci, the president of UFUK Dialogue foundation and the convener of the conference, during his presentation titled “Interreligious Dialogue: If not; what else?, said that peace remained a necessity.

UFUK dialogue serves to stand by societal peace, tolerance, love and compassion in support of human dignity and the greater good of humanity.

Peace and dialogue has always been and still remains the need, necessity and a must for us to have a healthy and more productive society.

The work for peace needs a dimension that goes beyond any ideology, political system, above any religious movements or religious authority.

One of the most important factor in the creation and promotion of a sustainable peace is the realisation of good governance while promoting justice through increased transparency, accountability, and the rule of law and strengthening of democracy.

He said; as sustainable development goal number 16 promotes, without peace, stability, human rights and effective governance, based on the rule of law we cannot hope for sustainable development in a world that is increasingly divided.

Kemanci said that violence worldwide was on the increase and becoming multidimensional, adding that roughly 50% of the worlds people had been affected by political violence lately.

Contrary to, especially all this so-called religion-based hostility, I think that religions and cultures have strong messages that can bring solutions to these problems, because religions and cultures are certainly a source of peace and well-being.

Religious and cultural leaders have a special responsibility to join hands with fellow Nigerians to save our world from the scourge of terrorism and violent fanaticism.

Religious and cultural leaders can start a strong effective collaboration of state authorities, religious leaders, and civil society actors to put in order community-wide efforts to address all factors that support violent extremism.

Violence and terrorist recruitment within communities must be fought and countered by working with local communities to set up the necessary framework for identifying at-risk youth,” he said.

Mr. Andy Nkemneme who represented the Director General of Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, (IPCR), Abuja, Dr. Bakut Bakut said that structural deficit was the main reason for extremism.

Structural deficit is responsible for religious extremism in our country (Nigeria) because people wish to get justice which they are being denied.

If we are talking about peace, we are talking about justice and if people cannot get justice they will complain.

Whenever there is poverty, people will be angry and will take up arms at slightest provocation against one another looking for justice.

Only our security outfit cannot stop the violence, and that is the reason why we have agencies such as IPCR to deal with the soft issues such as creating enlightenment for the public.

The panelists at the conference includes; Dr Saheed Timeyin, Prof. Alexander Bamigbola, Dr Scott Alexander,Prof. Olalekan Sumi-Amidu, Prof. Lai Olurode, Dr Folashade Toyin-Kehinde and many others.

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