A lecturer in the Department of Islamic studies, University of Abuja, Prof. Rafatu Abdulhamid, has called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to infuse interfaith relations into tertiary institutions curriculum to curb religious violence.
Abdulhamid was speaking at a TETFund/National Foundation 2020 Grant Cycle Data Yielding Workshop in Abuja on Saturday.
The workshop is focused on using Interfaith Dialogue to Promote National Integration.
She said that infusing in the General Studies (GNS) would go a long way in inculcating religious tolerance among undergraduate students, saying this would translate to growth.
” We hope interfaith relations is made as a subject in the university curriculum in General Courses where all students will be encouraged to learn irrespective of the courses you undertake and hoping that NUC will approve the course.
” This is so that so that at the end of the day all students whether you are reading biology, economics, medicine and any other course, you must have basic idea about what interfaith means.
” And with that you will have the ability to live with anybody. I believe this tool will go a long way in eradicating religious violence in our institutions and country in general,” she said.
Abdulhamid said that the university of Abuja was chosen as a pilot institutions, saying that such dialogue would be translated to other schools in each geopolitical zones of the country.
She added that the project was borne out of the need to address the problems of religious intolerance in tertiary institutions leading to the death of some students.
She said that the undergraduate students were pointers to addressing the problems as adequate information about interfaith relations would help in sensitising them on ways to live with one another.
” The problems of religious intolerance especially among students and looking at the damages religious violence has caused especially among the youths is something we must worry about.
” The students are so important in addressing this because without peace, there will be no development.
” So the project is out to achieve peaceful coexistence among ourselves irrespective of religion when we look at institutions we have crisis and the need to sustain peaceful coexistence in institutions,” she said.
Also, Prof. Afis Oladosu, a lecture at the University of Ibadan, said that the workshop was meant to generate data from students on ways to bring to an end religious intolerance in the institutions.
Oladosu faulted the roles some religious, political and traditional leaders played in causing disaffection among the various religious groups in the country.
” The project is with the view that if Nigerian undergraduates buy into the necessity for peaceful interfaith relations, that will promote national integration.
” Nigerian undergraduates are the leaders of tomorrow and it is whatever they learn now that they will live tomorrow.
” Those we expect to lead has actually led in a negative way, some are teaching what they should not teach the young ones as leaders.
” We have that duties to conscientiae ourselves to keep in mind that we cannot destroy this nation for these young,” he said.
He, therefore, said that the foundation would be launching an APP in the first quarter of 2023 which would be found useful by all NGOs involved in interfaith relations to propagate peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
A Guest Lecturer from the Department of Islamic Studies, University of Abuja, Dr Ahmad Garo, said the bane of the problems of religious tolerance was ignorance and pride and until we eradicate them, there would not be meaningful development.
Meanwhile, the Chairperson, Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN), Mrs Felicia Jessa, said that God never made miskate to have created us Christians and Muslims.
Jassa said that since we all originate from one source, there was the need to do away with differences and live together peacefully for a united nation.