Catholic Bishop in Nigeria Underscores Respect for Persons in End of Ramadan Message

Bishop Francis Obafemi Adesina of Nigeria's Ijebu-Ode Diocese. Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

A Catholic Bishop in Nigeria has emphasized the need for respect for persons among Muslims and Christians.

In his message at the Holy Month of Ramadan marked by the celebration of Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking the fast), Bishop Francis Obafemi Adesina has said that the call for mutual respect for persons begins with respect for human life.

“What we are called to respect in each person is first of all his life, his physical integrity, his dignity and the right deriving from that dignity, his reputation, his property, his ethnic and cultural identity, his ideas and political choices,” Bishop Adesina says in his Monday, May 2 message.

The recognition of another person as unique, autonomous, and free, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop says, “is the foundation of the mutual respect, peace and understanding that we continue to enjoy among us.”

“I am happy that both Muslims and Christians in our society have come to the understanding that brotherhood, love and peace is important for our co-existence,” the Local Ordinary of Ijebu-Ode  Diocese adds.


The Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of the Nigerian Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in April 2019 says his message addressed to Muslims is part of “a tradition” aimed at fostering “interfaith interaction and oneness among us”.

“It is with great joy and pleasure that I greet you on this day that you celebrate the holy feast of ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’ (“the festival of breaking the fast”), to conclude your Ramadan period of fasting, prayer and almsgiving,” Bishop Adesina says.

He adds, “It is a tradition by now that, on this occasion, in the spirit of love and solidarity, I send you a message of good wishes, as expression of my desire for an interfaith interaction and oneness among us in Ijebu and Remo lands.”

“It is not coincidental that the holy season of Ramadan began during the Christian season of Lent,” the 58-year-old Bishop says, and adds, “This gave us the opportunity to reflect together on the commitments and necessity of fasting, praying and almsgiving in our journey of faith as required by both religions.”

“Seasons of this nature (Ramadan and Lent), after so much prayer and fasting, should manifest in an exceptional way the core moral values for life that should be an ‘act of faith’ in any living community that has the capacity to grow, give hope and heal the broken hearted,” the Nigerian Bishop further says.

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He goes on to acknowledge the place religion in the citizens of the West African nation saying, “We thank God that we live in a country that recognizes, at least in principle, the vital role which religion plays in the life of its citizens both as individuals and as society.”

In “a country where every individual can freely profess his/her religion without discrimination, religious tolerance, interfaith interactions and mutual respect should thrive among us,” Bishop Adesina says in his May 2 message.

He says that “both Muslims and Christians have as a basic tenet of their respective faiths, the duty to propagate their faith.”

“I therefore, invite us to do this with mutual trust and respect, without the spirits of superiority, competition and animosity,” the Catholic Church leader further says.

He invites Muslims and Christians “to remember in our prayers our dear nation Nigeria, for our brothers and sisters in the Northern part of the country, who are suffering from religious fanaticism and bigotry.”


The Catholic Bishop also appeals for prayers for “those who cannot celebrate God’s gift of freedom and peace to humanity,” and implores, “May God comfort them and give them every reason to be hopeful.”

“On this special day that Muslims all over the world come together to celebrate, indulge in massive feasts, congregate for sermons, and attend mass prayers at Mosques, may your fasting and sacrificial offerings to Allah not be in vain,” Bishop Adesina says in his May 2 message.

He further implores, “May your gratitude to Allah for the success of your Ramadan fast be acceptable by Him.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.