Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has called on Nigerians to use the Ramadan period to foster peace and unity among themselves irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliation.
The ambassador stated this on Tuesday evening in Abuja at the breaking of fast (Iftar) and feeding of indigent Muslims by Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society.
He said Nigeria is a great country that needs to harness its diversity as a strength and not an hindrance.
The envoy stressed on the need for peace, unity and religious tolerance among all Nigerians for the country to achieve socio-economic development and prosperity.
“We need to underscore the importance of the need for unity and good relationship between people of different faith in Nigeria, because it’s actually a strength.
“In the past, in Nigeria, we had people of about 500 languages, different faiths living together in peace; this is far from the senseless violence, blasphemy and deaths now, ” he said.
He commended Al-Habibiyyah for the feeding programme which catered for both Muslims and Christians and urged other organisations to emulate them.
“There is need to go back to those days when you celebrate both Sallah and Christmas, Easter and Ramadan together and above all share the language of God that says love and care,” he said.
He also urged Nigerians and religious leaders not to shield those who hide under religion to perpetuate violence and kill innocent people.
Earlier, the National Chief Imam of Al-Habibiyyah Mosque, Adeyemi Fuad, said that more than 1,000 less-privileged Muslims and people of other faith are fed daily throughout the Ramadan period.
He said the programme was part of the Al-Habibiyyah Food Bank programme meant to help the less-privilege and foster unity among Nigerians.
A cardinal, John Onaiyekan in his remarks, commended the initiative of feeding the less- privileged and called for peace and unity among Nigerians