PRESS BRIEFING BY THE NATIONAL CO-ORDINATOR/EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF NIGERIA INTER-RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (NIREC) ON TUE Saturday 9th FEBRUARY, 2013 AT GENERAL MEETING OF THE COUNCIL HOLDING AT LE MEREDIEN IBOM HOTEL AND GOLF RESORT, UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) is a body made up of fifty (50) members (25 Muslims and 25 Christians) charged with the responsibility of promoting peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
The Council is Co-Chaired by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, President – General Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and His Grace Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor,OFR the National President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)and president PFN
The meetings of the Council from 1999 when it was established up to 2004 were held in Abuja. However, when the present Council was reconstituted in 2007 it was decided that the meetings be rotated among the Six Geo – Political Zones of the Country to impart positively on adherents of the two principal religions and to further sustain religious tolerance, peaceful co-existence and promotion of ethical values and good governance in Nigeria.
Under the rotational arrangement, the meetings of the Council were successfully hosted in Enugu (February, 2008), Maiduguri May, 2008, Lagos (August, 2008) and Kano |state (November, 2008) by Governors of the respective states. In the years 2009, the 1st and 2nd Quarter meetings of the Council were hosted by Plateau State Governor in Jos, Plateau State Capital (May, 2009). The Third Quarter meeting was hosted by the Governor of |Rivers States in Port Harcourt (August, 2009) while the last Quarter was hosted by the FCT Minister in Abuja (December, 2009) The 1st Quarter General Meeting of the Council for the year 2010 was hosted by the Governor of Bauchi State in Bauchi (April, 2010), the 2nd Quarter was hosted by the Governor of Imo State in Owerri (July, 2010), while the 3rd Quarter was hosted by the Governor of Sokoto State at Sokoto (October, 2010). In January, 2011 the meeting was hosted by the Governor of Oyo State at Ibadan. The last General Meeting of that year (2011) was hosted by the Governor of Kwara State at Ilorin.
In keeping with the protocol so far established, the Council extended the hosting right of the first 2013 General Meeting to South – South and it is being hosted by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa-Ibom State on behalf of the zone. The entire Governors from the zone, first Class Traditional Rulers, Religious Leaders, Political and Community Leaders from the zone are expected to interact with members of the Council from across the length and breadth of Nigeria. The formal opening Ceremony shall by God’s grace hold on Tuesday 12th February, 2013 at 11.00a.m at Ibom hall, Uyo.
The meeting is an extra ordinary one aimed at addressing the current security situation in the Country. Members along with other prominent religious leaders are going to put heads together on the theme of the conference.
In conclusion, 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 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), African Union Commission in bringing about a better society. We also collaborate with International Organisations to reduce the menace of malaria by the creation of Nigeria Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA).
Gentlemen and Ladies, it is my pleasure to invite you to the formal Opening Ceremony Programme meant for public awareness on the 12th of February, 2013. We also invite your patriotic selves to mobilize, educate and invite the public to this very important national forum.
On behalf of the Council, I wish to implore all to actively participate in our struggle against insecurity, poverty, kidnapping and unemployment in our dear Country.
Once again, thank you.
-Prof. Is – haq Oloyede
National Coordinator/Executive Secretary (NIREC)