In the quest to counter Insurgency and Extremist ideology, the Nigerian Army Directorate of Chaplaincy Services which comprise of the Islamic affairs, Chaplaincy Roman Catholic and Protestant Services jointly held a seminar with the theme “Countering Insurgency and Violent Extremism in Nigeria through Spiritual Warfare”, at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre Conference Hall A, Abuja. The seminar also availed both Islamic and Christian clerics the opportunity to identify religious harmony, peaceful coexistence as one basic tool for national security and development.
During the seminar, both the Christian and Islamic Scholars in their presentations acknowledged that, the one basic solution to the insecurity and national development is through interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians irrespective of tribes, religion and political affiliations.
[images_grid auto_slide=”no” auto_duration=”1″ cols=”three” lightbox=”yes” source=”media: 4752,4750,4754,4753,4751″][/images_grid]
Delivering his welcome address, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Administration (Army), Maj Gen MS Yusuf, described the seminar as a very critical aspect of the security challenges confronting the Nation. He said, the theme “Countering Insurgency and Violent Extremism in Nigeria through Spiritual Warfare” is quite apt and cannot come at a better time than now. He posited that, the presentations, comments and responses of the various religious leaders in tackling the challenges require understanding by all the stakeholders for the country to move forward.
He observed that the history of the contemporary Nigeria has been characterized by violent conflicts with attendant consequences on peace, security and development. He emphasized that religion by itself does not pose any threat to peace, security and development, but was identified as one of the major triggers of violent conflicts in Nigeria. Accordingly, this has been predicated on its manipulation by some clerics as well as the adulteration of its teachings leading to violent extremism.
However, an Islamic Scholar from Baze University Abuja, Architect Abdulla Musa Abdul, bemoaned the case of Boko Haram terrorists capitalizing on the adulteration of religious teachings to galvanize youths to propel a religious insurgency that has undermined the stability of the Nigerian state. He further, lamented how the activities of this extremist group have been fuelling mutual distrust amongst Christians and Muslims adherent. “Understanding the nature of contemporary extremism is one of the greatest building blocks of finding solutions for the problem”, he said.
According to the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, CARITAS Nigeria, Rev Fr Dr Uchechukwu Obodoechina, explained that, sustainable response to religion as a trigger of violent conflicts must go beyond the military engagement as the only solution to the problem, but by also engaging other stakeholders in the society including women, schools and the critical civil society organizations.
He enjoined the religious leaders to encompass interfaith dialogues, religious education, sensitization and security awareness targeting the youths who have been used as catalysts in ethno-religious violence in Nigeria.