Culture Minister calls for religious tolerance

Cynthia Okere, Lagos

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The General Manager of National Theater, Sunny Abba receiving award onbehalf of the Minister with the Chairman of St. Theresa’s Parish cultural committee, Samuel Dennis and St.Theresa’s Parish, Father Joachin Ochibili.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has called for more tolerance and respect for diverse cultures in Nigeria to enhance coexistence.

The Minister, who was represented by the General Manager of National Theatre, Sunny Abba made this known during the 2019 cultural fiesta of St. Theresa Catholic Church Agege, Lagos state.

Mr. Mohammed said cultural values, which often include religious beliefs, has gone a long way in shaping the way of living that the performances displayed by different ethnic groups in the church are indications that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable.

“What I have seen here today has again confirmed my belief in the indivisibility of this country. These performances have shown us how much we are united, as opposed to how much we are divided.

“Merging religion with culture as shown by the church has made me appreciate the fact that church is playing a very big role in uniting the nation and also a prove that no one can use religion to divide this country,” he added.

The Parish Priest of St. Theresa’s Parish, Father Joachin Ochibili said that the theme for this year’s cultural fiesta ‘Cultural Dance Our Heritage for National Cohesion’ was necessary because cultural dance in Nigeria is a common heritage for national cohesion.

”Every culture has dancing as a means of coming together in every celebration.
Dancing brings people together in happiness, joy and unity. No one ever dances and cry at the same time, let us be more united as a country and as a nation,”
he said.

On his part, the Chairman of St.Theresa’s Parish Cultural Committee, Samuel Dennis said: ”From the very day we became independent, there is one common gospel we have always preached to ourselves in this country, that is the gospel of oneness. Nigerians are one and that is what we are celebrating today. anything we can do to bring peace and bring us together as one is worth the while.”

“Kudos to government who thought it wise to close border to enable Nigerians appreciate their own products. It is a move that will boost the country’s GDP, jobs and farmers. It is good Nigerians know that in no time, this pain will be no more,” he stated.

The theme for this year’s fiesta is ‘Cultural Dance, Our Heritage for National Cohesion’.

Highlights of the fiesta were the display of cultural dances from different states and tribes represented and presentation of Awards to some members of the church including the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed as the Ambassador of culture in Nigeria.