Ambassador Samuel Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, on Friday advised Nigerian leaders, religious leaders and representatives of civil societies to avoid amplifying ethnoreligious tension in the country and focus on peacebuilding.
Brownback gave this advice at a one-day National Youth Dialogue on ethnoreligious tolerance, organised by the U.S Consulate General Lagos in partnership with the African Youths Initiative for Crime Prevention (AYICRIP).
Brownback, who met with a group of religious leaders during a recent visit to Nigeria in June, lauded the increased inter-faith engagement and dialogue in Nigeria.
He, however, observed that the country could do more to protect citizens’ right to religious freedom.
“When I visited Nigeria in June, I met with communities from all different faiths located all over the country and heard about how interfaith groups and people from every religion have come together to stop the violence at the community level, which is a great starting point.
“However, we need to do better than just achieving tolerance; we need to truly care for each other.
“The people who stand for peace do not do this because they are from the same ethnic group, or because they share a common religion.
“They believe the lives of everyone are sacred,” Brownback said.