Vanguard (Lagos)

20 February 2013

Nigeria: Separate Politics From Religion, Kufuor, Atiku, Mark Tell Politicians

Lagos — Former President of Ghana, Mr. John Kufuor, and other eminent leaders yesterday, called for urgent steps to separate religion from politics to stem the current security challenges in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.

Speaking at the 10th Anniversary lecture of Sun Newspapers in Abuja, Mr. Kuffor lamented that religious conflicts devastated many countries of the continent had become a cog in the wheel of the development of such nations, including Nigeria.

His words, "as of now, however, there is no gain saying the reality that conflicts based on religion are still with us.

In many parts of the region, Mr. Kufuor, noted "religion sometimes appeared to be on a collision course with the state, or the state , using religion, appeared to be on a collision course with its people".

The former president therefore charged the media to play greater roles in ensuring peace, which he identified at a critical factor for the much-needed rapid development in Africa.

...Let's tackle conflicts now --Atiku

Also speaking, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said there was an urgent need to tackle political and religious conflicts in the continent in Nigeria in particular and IN Africa in general

His words, "the cost to Africa in terms of human lives, property, productivity and trade is clearly enormous.

"And this is a continent that continues to be weighed down by other developmental challenges - poverty, disease, unemployment, drought, low productivity.

The Senate President, Sen. David Mark, noted that religious fundamen- talism could thrive in a democratic setting and therefore called for idialogue between Christians and Muslims.

His words: "I should point out that there is a chance that religious fundamentalism will thrive more in a democratic regime due to opportunities as free speech and civil rights movement."

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