The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) has said the body was not silent on the challenges facing the country contrary to allegation by Mr. Lekan Sote.
NIREC in a press statement issued by its executive secretary, Cornelius Omonokhua, said that NIREC is not a pressure group and does not force the government to implement its constitutional policies.
Omonokhua also noted that NIREC monitors and evaluates the events and responds when needed.
“Mr. Lekan Sote made a publication Wednesday 22nd September 2021 titled “Whatever happened to NIREC”. In the spirit of dialogue, I called Lekan Sote to thank him for the publication and the need to respond to his questions for the benefit of those who are ignorant about NIREC in our dear nation, Nigeria.
“Among the various questions posed by Lekan is why the near-absence of the voice of NIREC, if not total invisibility, in these days of religious intolerance among Nigerians and the consequent divisiveness in society and politics of Nigeria. NIREC is not a pressure group and does not force the government to implement its constitutional policies.
“It is not true that NIREC is silent regarding the challenges in the nation. The government is advised accordingly without cohesion. For instance, on the 11th of June 2021, the Council met with Mr. President and discussed the issues of insecurity in the nation and ways forward,” he said.
Omonokhua stated that NIREC has intervened in areas where there were conflict in the country.
“Similarly, on the 26th August 2021, the Council had its 2021 third-quarter meeting in which a communique’ was released in three national dailies on the first of September, 2021. On the same 26th August 2021, the Council paid a courtesy call to the Defense Headquarters of Nigeria to discuss security issues with the Service Chiefs. NIREC is visible in the social, print, and electronic media. NIREC has a functional website and YouTube.
“NIREC visits and intervenes in areas where there is conflict. For instance, On September 6, 2021, the Co-Chairmen of NIREC, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and His Eminence, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Gida Mustapha, the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua, and Rev. Dr. Ini Ukpuho visited Jos for a consultative peace meeting. The members of NIREC from Plateau State were in attendance. There were four governors in attendance,” he added.
According to him, “It is not true that the Christian and Muslim Founders of NIREC intentionally excluded or snubbed the adherents of indigenous religions. I am not aware if there is a national umbrella for the indigenous religions like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). NIREC has been relating with traditional rulers who are the custodians of the traditional religions at different levels.
“Every Nigerian needs a change of attitude, values, and mental orientation to transform the nation. It could not be true that the problems of the nation are religion and ethnicity. The citizens need serious transformation and re-orientation to make the nation work.”