Nigerian youths have been charged to eschew hatred, hate speech and suspicion among adherents of different faiths, actions capable of engendering violent extremism and youth radicalization in the country.
President, Next Generation Youth Initiative International (NeGYII), Mr Ambassador Onoja, gave the charge over the weekend at a one-day inter religious exchange sharing session in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
Onoja, who lamented that religion had become dysfunctional in the country with its capacity to wreak more havoc than good, stressed the need for adherents of different faiths, especially Christians and Muslims, to build interreligious exchanges that would foster peaceful and harmonious living.
“Agreed that Benue State has had a good record of religious harmony and peaceful relationship among the different faiths, it is dangerous to take this for granted that it cannot be polluted in the contemporary times of hatred, hate speech and suspicion which fill the atmosphere everywhere, especially in Benue and Nigeria in general,” Onoja observed.
“Now, do we wait until this good relationship is polluted and we begin to face the consequences before we do something? Evidently, Benue State and Nigeria are filled with the air of hatred, suspicion and hate speech now, more than ever before. Should we allow this to grow?,” he asked.
While positing that religion is very emotive, Onoja, who regretted that “its history in our clime has been largely dysfunctional with destruction to lives, property and environment,” urged every Nigerian youth to build friendships by respecting each other’s faith for the greater good of the country.