The Executive Secretary Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua has cautioned Nigerians, not to peg issues of banditry, terrorism, kidnapping and other forms of insecurity to ethnicity and religion.

He emphasized that criminals and other non-state actors should be addressed and called by their names, as failure to profile them by their names will continue to fuel insecurity and cast aspersion on religious bodies.

Reverend Father Omonokhua made the statement on Saturday in Abuja while marking his 60th birthday and launch of his new books.

It was a beautiful moment on Saturday as friends, government officials, traditional rulers, religious leaders and well-wishers gathered at Reiz Continental hotel Abuja, to celebrate the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua

The event was a triple celebration for the family of Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua as he celebrated his 60th birthday, Thanksgiving on a successful recovery from major surgery and the launching of his two books titled, The Bridge Builder and From Dream to Reality.

In his review of the books, Mike Ozhokome, SAN highlighted the rich contents of the book.

The Celebrant, Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua was described as a bridge-builder who believes strongly in inter-faith collaboration, open dialogue and the message of peace and love.

In an interview Father Omonokhua, berated leaders who hide under religion and ethnicity to cast aspersions on the society, stressing that no ardent follower of any religion in Nigeria will be pushed to shed blood and kill innocent people.

The Chairman of the occasion, Boss Mustapha who was represented by Olusegun Adekunle stressed the need to embrace peace irrespective of people’s tribe and religious differences.

A traditional ruler, Alhaji Aliyu Danesi, who was part of those that came to honour the celebrant attributed the lack of peace in Nigeria to the inability of both Muslims and Christians to forge a common path and see each other as a creation of one God.

Reverend Father Raymond Ogboji who represented the Catholic Bishop of Zaria, regretted that religious bodies that should be at the forefront of advocacy on inter-faith collaboration are living in suspicion of each other.

A close friend of the celebrant and a Doctor who carried out the medical surgery, Douglas Emeka, called on the government to improve the healthcare system in Nigeria, adding that the operation done on Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua is a prove that Nigerian Doctors unlike their foreign counterparts can do it better.

With the large gathering of well-wishers and friends from different religious bodies, ethnic groups and traditional institutions, it shows that Reverend Father Cornelius Omonokhua as the Executive Secretary of NIREC has recorded achievements in the objective of the council, which is to advocate inter-faith collaboration and open dialogue.

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