Minister in Charge, First Baptist Church, Akwanga, Nasarawa State, Rev. Armstrong Ajayi, has called for more inter-ethnic marriages among Nigerians to promote peace and unity.
He made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, July 30, 2018 in Abuja to commemorate the International Day of Friendship.
Ajayi observed that the country could overcome its security challenges if there were tangible number of marriages among various ethnic groups across the country.
He described the present security situation in the country as worrisome; borne out of complex issues involving ethnic groups not accommodating others as friends.
“The situation is so bad now that you hardly find people of different ethnic groups getting married in the country.
“For instance, I can’t remember hearing a Fulani man getting married to a Yoruba lady, likewise an Igbo man getting married to a Mada lady.
“Even if there are, you will find out that they are few, which is not encouraging.
“Once we learn to marry from different ethnic groups within the country, we will notice that the issue of rivalry and competition which has resulted in several mayhems would reduce.
“We will have no choice but to see ourselves as brothers and sisters, thereby enhancing respect and unity among us,” he said.
The clergy further stated that inter-ethnic marriages would increase the level of civilisation and socialisation among citizens, thereby reducing ignorance about people’s culture.
Ajayi, however, called on parents to inculcate the habit of advising their kids to have friends from different ethnic groups from their young age.
He noted that the most important agent of socialisation was from the family and it was the responsibility of parents to teach their kids that we are one.
In 2011, the United Nations (UN) proclaimed the International Day of Friendship with the idea that friendship among peoples, countries and cultures can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities by promoting friendship.
By Ruth Oketunde