AGAINST the background of religious violence and killings in parts of the country, President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday observed that anyone who kills another person created by God in the name of religion does not know God and does contrary to the dictates of true religions.
He observed that the major religions in the country do not encourage violence and hate as they preach brotherhood, love and peaceful co-existence and therefore, whoever kills in the name of religion cannot claim to worship God.
The President was speaking at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria, Pro-Cathedral Garki Abuja, during the 30th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary and celebration of the elevation of Archbishop John Onaiyekan a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
According to him, “We all know no religion preaches or encourages violence and hate. Both major religions in this our land preach brotherhood, love and peaceful co-existence. This is their foundation and of course, the motivation for us to as Christians.
“Those who do otherwise, as His Grace also said, I cannot be a person who will worship the God that will encourage the people to kill people he himself created. We believe that God created all of us and anybody who uses weapons to kill the very one created by God cannot be worshipping God.”
President Jonathan however observed that the nation faced a lot of challenges, noting that the church, just like the political leaders, have the responsibility to mould the characters of Nigerians to put them on the right path.
“The church, the government, the political actors have the same responsibility. For us, we believe that the church is at the centre of society-building because some of the challenges we face today is because of the kind of characters our people have. If the church moulds us, moulds the people, and society moulds its children that Nigeria will surely be a better place,” he added.
President Jonathan expressed his belief that the Vatican’s elevation of Archbishop Onaiyekan was a measure of the Vatican’s recognition of the immense contribution of the church in Nigeria to the worldwide Catholic movement.
Recalling that he had sent a high-powered federal government delegation to Rome to witness the investiture of Cardinal Onaiyekan in November last year, the President said that it was not the Catholic Church alone that celebrated with the Cardinal but all Nigerians who he said were all proud of the Bishop’s achievement.
He said that he saw the Cardinal’s elevation as recognition to those who work and toil for peace, giving hope to their people and building bridges for reconciliation among many.