Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu is the Primate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria. This week he visited Kaduna, and fielded questions after a meeting with the Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai.
Q. Sir we want you to tell us the purpose of your coming to Kaduna.
The purpose of my visit is mainly to commiserate with the governor over what has happened in Jema’a Local Government and other Local Governments in Southern Kaduna.
It is unnecessary, it is callous, and it is dastardly for anybody to take human life. That bothers on intolerance. Everybody must learn to live together as people call Nigerians irrespective of our religion, our tribes or ethnic cleavages. We should avoid religious bigotry, we should avoid chauvinism and casting slur on others as if they are inferior. This nation is our common inheritance and we should promote love.
If we are talking about the economy there can be no growth in our economy without peace. There can be no movement without peace. We need peace, we need togetherness, we need love.
In fact if we remember the origins of our religions, I was told when I went to Israel that all these religions came from one father; Abraham or Ibrahim; Christianity came from Ibrahim, Islam came from Ibrahim, all these religions came from Ibrahim so why should we quarrel. And that man is known as the father of faith? Have we ever heard that Abraham killed? So why should we be killing and slaughtering ourselves in the name of God or Allah or Jesus?
The Bible says you shall not kill and I know that Quran says the same so why should we kill, why should we destroy property? I believe those are misguided elements in the society who use religion to achieve their selfish goals. And it is high time we pray that God should expose these people no matter who they are and no matter how highly placed they are. If we can fish them out and confine them somewhere Nigeria will move on.
I don’t see why I would be uncomfortable with Islamic prayer; I will never be uncomfortable with it. And I don’t know why my brother Imam or a Muslim will be uncomfortable with a Christian prayer. Are we calling on idols? The point is that we are not living by what we are teaching. We read the Bible, we read the Quran and see everything they say about brotherliness and about love but we go around to do another thing. We are not to hate one another.
Q. There has been religious bodies that have been taking partisan stand on this issue. How will your church help in uniting the people and solving the problem?
Our church is not in support of that. Even what I heard from the Ulamas and CAN they accuse one another that does not help us. CAN should not accuse Ulamas, Ulamas should not accuse Christians. They should work together for peace.
Q. What is your message to Nigerians especially followers of the two religions?
My message is that we should tell our people that peace is more rewarding that crisis. Crisis is destructive, crisis is like tsunami, it’s like wild wind that does nobody good and affects everybody. So can do well in an atmosphere of peace devoid of bitterness and rancour that is what I advocate.