By Benjamin Njoku
The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback, has urged Nigerian political office holders, representatives of civil society and religious leaders to avoid amplifying ethno-religious tension in the country and focus on peace building.
At a one-day national youth dialogue on ethno-religious tolerance organized by the U.S Consulate General Lagos, in partnership with the African Youths Initiative for Crime Prevention (AYICRIP), Ambassador Brownback, who met with a group of religious leaders during a recent visit to Nigeria in June, commended increased inter-faith engagement and dialogue in Nigeria, but noted that the country could do more to protect citizens’ right to religious freedom.
Brownback said, “When I visited Nigeria in June, I met with communities from all different faiths located all over the country and heard about how interfaith groups and people from every religion have come together to stop the violence at the community level, which is a great starting point.
“However, we need to do better than just achieving tolerance; we need to truly care for each other. The people who stand for peace do not do this because they are from the same ethnic group, or because they share a common religion. They believe the lives of everyone are sacred,” he added.