Northern Religious Leaders Meet to Protect Holy Sites

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

A high level technical team of northern Nigeria religious leaders wednesday night resolved to protect places of worship in the region as well as domesticate the universal code of conduct as one of the ways to improve inter-faith relations and ease religious tensions in the region.

The advisory panel made up of stakeholders from faith- based organisations and civil society organisations met in Abuja for two days at an interactive conference organised by Search for Common Ground.

The technical committee issued a communiqué containing some of the resolutions at the end of the meeting last night.

Some of the key decisions that were read by a member of the committee, Prof Tukur Mohaammed Baba of Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, are that holy sites as places of profound significance and sacred religious attachment must be protected against all violence and desecration.

The advisory panel also appealed to religious leaders, traditional institution in and other inter- faith bodies in northern Nigeria to in the spirit of the code, consider it a template for confronting the need for protecting holy sites as a socially compelling imperative.

They also suggested the adoption of the code to reflect the local needs and peculiarities of different communities, with the process entailing, education, joint visits and denunciation by religious leaders to attack on holy sites and sacred places.

As part of the strategy to achieve this objective, the committee said it was mulling a regional and national activities on the applicability of the code in the North, including translating the universal code to local languages.

Other four members of the advisory board include Elder Timothy Mshelia, Nurudeen Lemu of Islamic Education Trust, Minna, Mrs. Esther Mbanga of Women Without Initiative and Hajia Rahinat Oni of NASFAT.