Religious leaders who preach violence are like Boko Haram – Onaiyekan

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John Cardinal Onaiyekan

The Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan on Tuesday called for the arrest of clerics who incite violence through their sermons.

The revered clergy likened such religious leaders to Boko Haram, stating that terror acts in Nigeria started from preachings of violence.

He spoke to newsmen at a workshop on Preventing Violent Extremism in Nigeria, organised by Club De Madrid in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Onaiyekan said:“In my own opinion there is enough in the law in Nigeria to curb reckless speaking if somebody stands up on his pulpit in church and start inciting his members to go and kill others,

“He has committed a crime under the Nigerian Law, he should be arrested, which is not happening.

“They would say if you touch religious leaders there would be a backlash. Let the backlash come for goodness sake so that we can get out of all this mess.”

He noted that Boko Haram did not spring up and start shooting on the first day, insisting that the sect incited its followers through hateful speeches.

“We must learn from our past mistake, while we defend freedom of worship and freedom of speech, there is obviously a limit as to how far you can carry your freedom.

“In Nigeria, we are free, because of that people claim to be bishops, Imams and religious leaders, they say whatever they like and they are not responsible to anybody,” Onaiyekan added.

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