Catholic Bishop in Nigeria Lauds Muslim for Donating to Catholic Health Facility

Blessing and Commissioning of the new theatre facility by His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop Emeritus, Catholic Diocese of Abuja. Credit: Oyo Diocese

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria has lauded a Muslim man in the country for donating an operating theatre to a hospital run by the Diocese, noting that the West African country needs more similar gestures of interfaith collaboration.

Local media in Nigeria reported that that the facility named, Ayisat Aweni Raji Theatre, was donated by a Muslim, Ahmed Raji. 

At the inauguration of the facility, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo expressed optimism that Mr. Raji’s act of kindness towards Our Lady Hospital of the Diocese of Oyo would bring about healing in the country that is experiencing increasing extremism against Christians.

“It’s my prayer that we witness many similar gestures and activities of interfaith collaboration among us as a way of healing our country,” Bishop Badejo says in the Tuesday, October 18 report, and adds, “Let us all do unto others only what we would like them to do unto us, and things will be better for all.”

The Local Ordinary of Oyo who doubles as the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications has been quoted as saying that many Nigerians believed in peaceful coexistence and invested their energy and resources in collaboration and cooperation for the common good of all.


In the media report, Bishop Badejo notes that for over five decades, Our Lady Hospital had provided healthcare for all the people in the communities served by the Diocese irrespective of their tribe, religion or social status.

“In fidelity to the mission of the Catholic Church, the needy and underprivileged are never denied care due simply to what they have or don’t have,” he has been quoted as saying, adding, “This, we believe, is the way to demonstrate our faith that God is the Father of all human beings.”

According to the Nigerian Catholic Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese, the Muslim man’s gesture proves that the ongoing violence by Islamist extremists has nothing to do with religion.

Mr. Raji’s donation of the theater, which has modern surgical equipment, Bishop Badejo says, “is also a powerful means of showing that what is wrong with Nigeria is not religion but mischievous people who tend to use religion for their own selfish ends.”

“Events like this one will surely help to reduce their toxic influence,” he says, and adds, “We are, therefore, proud to have a like-minded ally in Raji to support our bid to create a better society in Iseyin and environs.”

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Inaugurating the theater on October 12, the Archbishop emeritus of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said that true religion could only be seen when people lived in peace, solidarity and friendship.

Cardinal Onaiyekan listed doctrine, worship, and behavior, as the three dimensions of religion that he said work successfully when the aim of the people is to glorify God.

He said that the essence of any true religion would be to do good to all in spite of differences in faith, and explained, “It is the act of one who has good behavior that brought us together today; we should give and do good to all as the donor has done despite his religion.”

“What is happening today is the kind of news that should be spreading in the country and not bad news,” the Nigerian Cardinal who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 1983 as the Auxiliary Bishop of Nigeria’s Ilorin Diocese said. 

In his remarks, Mr. Raji appreciated the role of the Catholic Church in initiating and fortifying efforts to realize religious tolerance in Africa’s most populous nation. 


He said that the donation of the medical facility to a Catholic-run hospital was part of his service to humanity.

“Our Lady Hospital has been there for us right from childhood; so, it’s a thing of joy for one to contribute his quota to its development,” Mr. Raji said, and added, “I named the hospital after my late mother to honor her and for her labor of love to her children throughout her lifetime.”

Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.