ICIR urges Kwara govt to be proactive to avert religious crisis

* Religious intolerance can snowball into large scale war if not nipped in the bud – ICIR

The President, International Council for Ifa Religion, Solagbade Popoola, hasthe Kwara State Government to take proactive steps to prevent religious crisis in the state following the stoppage of a planned traditional festival in the state capital.

The ICIR called on Kwara State Government “to urgently initiate an inter-faith dialogue to enable each religion know that Nigeria remains a secular state and that no religion or faith is superior to another”.

Popoola, in a statement titled, ‘Social incitement against traditionalists to forment religious violence in Ilorin: The position of ICIR’, stated that the group “considers as very unfortunate and ominous the invasion of the home of an Osun priestess, Yeye Ajesikemi, in Ilorin and the stoppage of the planned celebration of Aje Cultural Festival by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari.

He said that the ICIR also condemned “the open threat flagrantly and carelessly issued against the life of the woman, as well as all traditionalists in the listed areas of Ilorin by some islamic clerics”.

Popoola, who said the development amounted to religious intolerance and violation of the woman’s freedom of thought, conscience and religion, added, “ICIR considers the event and action as potential predicates of an upcoming fatal religious and human rights violence”.

The group which said that the Emir’s alleged role in impairing the freedom of one religion to the advantage of another, left much to be desired and translated to religious intolerance which could snowball into a large scale war if not nipped in the bud, advised the
Kwara State Government to be very proactive.

The group also called on the security agencies in Kwara State “to arrest those clerics who threatened and invaded the home of the Osun priestess. They should be arraigned and prosecuted for inciting religious violence and for terrorizing a fellow Nigerian citizen who was only exercising her freedom as enshrined in the Nigeria’s constitution among others”.

Popoola said that the ICIR had resolved “to use all legal means available to stop religious marginalization, discrimination and slavery in any part of Nigeria where there are traditionalists. This is a way to strengthen the nation’s legal framework and deter a large scale religious war”.

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