Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has said the country was built on tolerance among the adherents of the different faiths.
Mohammed said religious leaders in Nigeria are to blame for the hatred among the followers of the two major religions; Christianity and Islam.
The minister said this during the book presentation and 75th birthday of Bamigboye Ogunbiyi, a renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, on Saturday, in Abuja.
While unveiling the autobiography titled, “Ripples of Grace’’, Mohammed noted that the country is only in its current challenges because of some people who are trying to propagate enmity among Nigerians.
He added that he was trained as a child to see everyone as equals, irrespective of their religions and tribes.
“From the book, we learnt that the celebrant attended Federal Government College (FGC), Keffi and that is why I am not surprised he ended up marrying Justice Clara from Borno,” he said.
“In Keffi, we were taught at a very young age that this country is one and the same and that religion, ethnicity and social status do not matter but rather one’s academic prowess,’’
“This is a shining example of religious harmony and peaceful co-existence that we know in Nigeria.
“For three years, a Church made its premises available free of charge for the annual Ramadan lecture.
“This is contrary to the acrimony and mutual suspicion that many religious leaders are promoting today.
“The lesson from this is that the religious disharmony that is being propagated today by some religious leaders is avoidable, and that adherents of the two major religions do not have to be enemies.
“I have been living in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, for almost 25 years and during annual Eid-el-Fitr and Eid-el-Kabir, we, the Muslims always have our open prayers at Arch Bishop Vining Memorial Church belonging to Anglican Communion.
“There was a particular year, Eid-el-Kabir fell on a Sunday when the venue will also be used for the usual Christian service.
“With this development, we all agreed that we should come very early to pray so as not to disrupt the church service.
“To our surprise, the management of Vining Memorial Cathedral rescheduled their own Sunday service to noon after we would have left the place.
“I have not seen better example of religious tolerance in Nigeria.”