Who We Are
The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) is a voluntary Association made up of fifty (50) Members, (25 Christians and 25 Muslims) formed by the representatives of the two principal Religions â€“ that is Christianity and Islam in Nigeria, on the 11th day of September, 1999.
The establishment was occasioned by the incessant ethno-religious crisis which punctuated the sociopolitical landscape of Nigeria as a country. NIREC, also known as a Council, is a permanent and independent Body established to provide Religious Leaders and Traditional Rulers with a variable forum to promote greater interaction and understating among the leadership and their followers as well as lay foundations for sustainable peace and religious harmony in the country.
The Council from inception was Co-Chaired by their Eminences, AlhajiMuhammaduMaccido, CFR, the late Sultan of Sokoto and the then President General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and Dr. Sunday Mbang, CON, the then Primate of Methodist Church of Nigeria/Archbishop J. Akinola, CON, who were one time Presidents of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) respectively.
Supported and encouraged by President OlusegunObasanjo, who saw the Body as a wonderful Project emanating from the Leadership of both major Faiths, NIREC was inaugurated on the 29th day of September, 1999.The foundation National Coordinator/Executive Secretary of the Council was the then Villa Chaplain, Rev. Professor Yusuf A. Obaje.
The Federal Government under the leadership of the then President, late Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua and later President GoodluckEbele Jonathan, like their predecessor continued with the policy of support for NIREC since 2007. Under that dispensation, NIREC was initially Co-Chaired by His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Saâ€™ad Abubakar, CFR,mni, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, NSCIA, and His Grace, Dr. John Onaiyekan, CON, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja and National President, CAN. Professor Is-haqOloyede, the then Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin, became the National Coordinator/Executive Secretary. His grace, Pastor Ayo Oritsajafor, CFR a former CAN President was a Co-Chair of the Council from: January, 2011 to 2016.
At present His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammadu Saâ€™ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, the Sultan of Sokoto and
President General NSCIA and His Eminence Rev. Dr. Samson O.A. Ayokunle National President CAN
Co-Chair the meeting, while Fr. Prof Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua is the Executive Secretary and
Professor Is-haq Oloyede OFR, FNAL, the current Secretary â€“ General NSCIA, is the National
All the meetings of the Council from inception were held in Abuja. However, when the present Council was reconstituted in 2007, members resolved that the meetings of the Council should rotate in the Six Geo-Political Zones of the country on quarterly basis to impart positively among adherence of the two Principal Religions to further promote religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence, ethical values and good governance in the country.
At such meetings, all Traditional Rulers/Religious Leaders as well as the Governors and Opinion Leaders
in the Zone were expected to attend the Formal Opening Ceremony and interactive session with the
Council. The Host Governor normally sends invitation to invite the above leaders as well as his
colleagues, Honourable Minsters and Members of the National Assembly from the Zone.
CommuniquĂ©sâ€™ were always issued at the end of each meeting and copies forwarded to His Excellency, the President through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. These were also published in at least, three National Dailies.
Moreover, NIREC is engaged not only in theoretical dialogue but is actively involved in the dialogue of action which makes us act jointly on multi-religious platform to address the major problems of the society, such as insecurity, poverty, corruption, unemployment and diseases. We collaborate with Anti-Corruption Agencies, National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), and African Union Commission etc. as part of the efforts to assist government in particular and Nigerians generally in bringing about a better society. We also collaborate with International Organisations to reduce the menace of Malaria and other diseases, thus the creation of Nigeria Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA). This is how the issue of mosquitoes being faith-blind (as it would affect the congregation in Church with malaria and move to the Mosque for the same thing without discrimination), is being handled by NIFAA.
The annual adopted NIREC meeting entails four (4) Quarterly General Meeting, two (2) Youth Seminars (each for 200 participants) and two (2) Meeting for each of the eight (8) NIREC Sub-Committees namely;
- i.General purpose
- ii. Internal relations
- iii. Publicity Policy issues
- v. Inter-religious dialogue and public enlightenment
- vi.Peace building
- vii. Finance
- viii. Research planning and development.
The funding of the activities of NIREC is handled by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) with support sometimes from Host State Governments and donations from some well- meaning Nigerians. The National Coordinator writes the OSGF on specific requirements on each quarterly meeting and where Hosting Government handles the Accommodation/banqueting of members along with that of the Secretariat, refunds were paid back to the OSGF.