Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah has urged Nigerians not to continue to use religion to divide the country, but see it as tool for development and growth.
Kukah who spoke yesterday through Father Paul Awowole said that while other nations of the world are using religion to develop their countries, in Nigeria it has become tools for war and death.
He added that in Nigeria, religion has become tools for access to political and economic power, this according to him has become markers that seem to determine where we shall be and how far we can grow in the society.
Speaking on the topic : “ The Muslim agenda for Nigeria: Challenges of Development and Good Governance, a programme organised by the Islamic Welfare Foundation and Fountain University in Osogbo, he posited that religion has serious crisis of identity in Nigeria, stressing that events in the last few years have created so much anxiety that ordinary believes are visibly terrified.
The revered Bishop also maintained that in some areas in Nigeria, Christians and Muslims live, marry and intermarry together, but in the North an anathema, saying such would not make the country to grow.
His word: “ Every time I bring it up, I hear people say that this is what Islam teaches, that the religion allows Muslim men to marry christian girls and hopefully make them Muslims, while christian men cannot marry Muslim women”
“ How do we progress with this, given that marriage is such a key institution for national integration? We must sift the chaff from the grain”.
Speaking on the constitution, bible and the Quran, Bishop Kukah lamented that Nigerians believe so much in religious affiliation as different and distinct, and superior to the constitution.
“ The constitution which is what holds us together has assured us that Nigeria aspires to the ideals of a state where there is no favouritism of one religion over the other, but we spend time and energy debating over whether this is secularism, secularity or whatever.
Speaking on the sacred face of religion and Boko Haram, he called on the Northern elites not to hide under the banner of religion in taming the monster.
“That Boko Haram, its disciples and its victims are localized to Northern Nigeria should be instructive. What this calls for us, is an honest review of what the root causes are and whether it is about the past or the present that has led us to this ugly path.

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