In light of the intensifying Israeli-Hamas war, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has appealed to Nigerians to prevent the foreign hostilities from worsening the divisions or stoking religious tensions within the nation.
This call coincides with General Overseer Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) expressing support for Israel, stating that all RCCG members worldwide stand in solidarity with the Israeli people during this critical period.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, the President of CAN, underscored the importance of fostering understanding, compassion, and peaceful coexistence among Nigeria’s diverse religious communities.
He said, “This conflict holds significant implications for Nigeria’s faith communities. We must resist the temptation to allow this conflict to deepen divisions or inflame religious tensions within our nation.”
Okoh also conveyed profound apprehension regarding the ongoing conflict, noting that it has led to a staggering loss of lives and the extensive destruction of vital infrastructure, further worsening the humanitarian crisis in the area.
The Christian organisation strongly denounced any form of violence that jeopardises the well-being of innocent individuals, irrespective of their nationality or religious affiliation.
“While recognising Israel’s right to self-defence, we emphasise the importance of proportionality and the avoidance of harm to innocent civilians in any military response,” Okoh added.
He extended heartfelt condolences to all those who have tragically lost their loved ones in these incidents.
CAN appealed to all parties involved to promptly put a stop to all hostilities and initiate dialogues aimed at seeking diplomatic resolutions. It emphasised the sanctity of human life and the principles of justice and peace, as prescribed by the Christian faith.
The religious organisation recommended the temporary suspension of the airlifting of Nigerian pilgrims to sacred sites like Jerusalem and Bethlehem until calm is restored in the region.
He also urged the international community, including the United Nations and pertinent stakeholders, to redouble their efforts in facilitating a just and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We pray for the repose of the souls of those who were killed in the violent attack and the resultant war, as well as reconciliation, healing, and enduring peace in the region. May God Almighty comfort their families,” said Okoh.
The CAN President urged all religious groups in Nigeria to pray earnestly for peace, unity, the safety of those impacted by the conflict, and the swift release of abducted individuals in the region.
“Our faith calls us to be peacemakers and agents of reconciliation, even in the midst of conflict and adversity. May the God of peace guide us as we navigate these challenging times, and may His grace and mercy prevail in the lands of Israel and Palestine,” Okoh prayed.
Adeboye to Israel: RCCG worldwide stands by you
In response to the Israel-Hamas war, Adeboye expressed his solidarity with the Israeli people, stating that all members of the RCCG worldwide stand by their side. This message was conveyed in a video posted on his official X handle, where he emphasised that his prayers are with the people of Israel.
He said, “Hello, my beloved brothers in Israel, I want you to know that we are praying for you, that all members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God all over the world are standing by you at this critical moment.
“The almighty God, the only one of Israel, will give you absolute victory and give you permanent peace from now on in the mighty name of Jesus. It is my prayer for all our brethren in Israel that the Almighty will grant you absolute peace from now on, in Jesus name. #Israel #peace.”
— Pastor Adeboye (@PastorEAAdeboye) October 11, 2023