The Country Director, Global Peace Foundation Nigeria (GPFN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, has called on Nigerians to end religious and ethnic sentiments, as it had continued to fuel division and strife in the country.

Hayab, who made this call at an event to commemorate the World Peace Day, in partnership with the alumni of International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) in Abuja on Wednesday, said Nigerians must learn to tolerate differences.

The UN General Assembly unanimously agreed that Sept. 21 is marked and celebrated annually and globally as the World Peace Day, with the 2022 theme, ‘Fostering Peace, Tackling Racism’.

He said religion and ethnicity has continued to fuel division and exclusion in the country, saying no meaningful development could happen in an atmosphere of strife.

According to him, religion and ethnicity seem to be doing worse than racism and the organisation will continue to preach peace through the umbrella of ‘One Family under God’.

“So, permit me to add here that religion and ethnicity have unfortunately instead of being what brings mankind together, turned out to be great lines of the divide in our societies today.

“For our society to have peace and get to a point of celebrating the benefits of peace, we must understand, tolerate and accept one another’s differences.

“We, therefore advocate that we look at a fellow based on humanity first before the differences in religion, ethnicity, tribe, region, among others.”

Hayab said the day was a reminder that all humans were the same, irrespective of language, skin color, race and religion.

The country director added that all Nigerians must make it a point of duty to promote peace wherever they found themselves, saying the country must remain united.

The National President, IVLP Nigeria, Dr Barakat Sani, said the organisation pride itself in ensuring that peaceful coexistence was maintained at all times.

According to her, World Peace Day is worth celebrating as a nation without peace cannot develop in any sphere.

She said Nigerians must do all within their power to promote peace at all times, saying all stakeholders must play their part in praying for the country.

“I call on all our leaders to practice peace and make peace happen, they must keep on making Nigeria peaceful so that investors can come in.

“The whole idea of leadership is the ability to entrench peace for development; leadership cannot be practiced where there is no peace.

“Without peace, we cannot reclaim the name Nigeria, the giant of Africa, peace is not a spirit, we are the one to make it happen, It has to start from everyone, with little efforts, we can huge impact.”

Sani said IVLP sought to collaborate on impact-driven programmes, saying poverty, disunity, lack of cooperation promotes strife and underdevelopment in the country. (NAN)