Abuja, 17 July, 2020 / 9:00 pm (ACI Africa).
Religious leaders in Nigeria have, at the virtual Faith Leaders’ Dialogue Forum organized by Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP) in partnership with Faith for Peace Initiative (FPI), underscored the need for “Faith and Inter-faith communities” to collaborate and give hope to citizens of the West African nation amid COVID-19 challenges.
The religious leaders “appealed to both the Faith and Inter-Faith Communities to do more in lifting the hope of our people by harnessing the power of faith for the common good and, as a result, step up their complementary role in economic development and poverty alleviation as we all grapple with the effects of COVID-19,” Nigeria’s Vanguard News reported, Friday, July 17.
“In playing this role,” the Religious leaders said, “Faith Communities should lay emphasis on Joint Community Action by the leaders of both faiths at all levels; this way, the Faith Communities would work together, complement each other and share resources and experiences as we all face this common challenge to our humanity.”
They also encouraged “Faith Communities to collaborate on charitable initiatives while efforts should be made towards deploying Zakat, tithe and charitable donations to attend to the needs of vulnerable citizens and embark on strong advocacy on financial literacy among their members in order to facilitate the utilization of non-interest social and commercial finance instruments for short-term, medium-term and long-term interventions.”
During the forum, the religious leaders also called on members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), to “rally religious leaders to take their social roles more seriously and facilitate the establishment of an Inter-Faith COVID-19 Council that would coordinate the responses of the Faith and Inter-Faith Communities to the COVID-19 crisis in Nigeria.”