COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE NIGERIA RELIGIOUS LEADERS ROUNDTABLE ORGANIZED BY CHURCHES IN ACTION FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT(CAPAD) HELD AT BRIGHTON HOTEL LIBERTY ROAD IBADAN ON THE 9TH -11TH OF APRIL 2014 FOCUSED ON PILGRIMAGE TO THE HOLY LAND ISRAEL/PALESTINE AND PROSPECT FOR JUSTICE PILGRIMAGE.
In recognition of the fact that it is of value to embark on the journey to see and connect with the holy sites in Palestine/Israel, Christians must see the pilgrimage journey as an act of worship which mirrors our devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ.
The pilgrimage journey of Christians in Nigeria to the holy land does not largely include a visit to the Palestinians Christians who are experiencing gross human rights violation from the Israeli government. There are indications that the situation in Palestine today can be likened to the then apartheid policy in South Africa. Israel since 1967 occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank and as a result shut out Palestinians from gaining access to their land.
The fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907 both forbid occupying power from altering the ways of life of occupied citizens, they likewise prohibit members of the occupying state from settling in the occupied territory . This means that Israel’s action in East Jerusalem throughout history as well as today constitutes gross violation of International Law. Palestinian women and children are arrested indiscriminately and kept in detention all across Israel. Palestinians right of residency is withdrawn once they go abroad to study thus separating families and loved ones.
The Nigeria Religious Leaders Roundtable on the 9th -11th of April focused on Pilgrimage to the holy land Israel/Palestine and prospect for justice pilgrimage. The following are recommendations arising from the meeting:
Christian pilgrimage from Nigeria to the holy land must not sacrifice the act of worship and piety which our Lord Jesus Christ exemplified.
Christians in Nigeria should develop a policy paper to mirror a common approach in respect of justice issues arising from visit to the holy land.
Test tours to the holy land should be organized for Nigeria religious leaders to include visit to Palestine and visit holy sites in order to understand the Palestinians situation.
Nigeria Christians should be encouraged to embrace pilgrimage to the holy land facilitated by licensed Christian tour groups in a bid to visit Palestine and encourage the growth of local economy. An example of such tour group is the ATG (The alternative tourism group in Palestine).
Pilgrims from Nigeria are encouraged to identify with Christians in Palestine in the course of their visit.
VI. The come and see document, The Kairos document must be made available to churches for use in their study sessions so that intending pilgrims will have awareness about the Palestine and current situation
The films, The village under the forest, The stones cries out, should be view by Christian congregations at synods and meetings across Nigeria, so as to create pictorial and visual education to a large number of Christians, in a bid to prepare them for supporting the peace and justice course in the Holy land.
The BDS should be encouraged amongst Christians at every available opportunity and further find ways to promote it amongst ECOWAS countries.
Diplomatic relation should be established in networking and intervening in the Palestinian situation. Hence the need for a Palestine embassy in Nigeria to provide education services to teaming Nigeria Christians especially during pilgrimage Season
We support the recent call by Bishop Felix Ajakaiye, representative of Christian of Nigeria to the National Conference in support of the oransanye recommendation that Nigeria government should stop funding pilgrims to the Holy land, to curb the current corrupt practices associated with the organization of trips, but only help in the area of consular services.
1. Most Rev. Michael Kehinde Stephen- Archbishop of Methodist Church/CAPAD
2. Rt. Rev. Bankole Fabusoro (Bishop representative of the Primate Church of the Lord, Aladura)
3. Rev. Dr. Testimony Onifade – Represent the National President, Nigeria Baptist Convention
4. Ven. Dr. Ayo Atowoju- Theologian/Lecturer, Ajayi Crowther University Oyo
5. Very Rev. Dr. Williams Egbetakin- Theologian/Philosopher, Lecturer Immanuel College of Theology and Christian Education
6. Johnson Olukunle Akanmu- Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International
7. Mr. Akin Thomas-All Saints Church Ibadan/KAIROS NIGERIA
8. Prof. Segun Oke- All Saints Church Ibadan/KAIROS NIGERIA
9. Captain Happiness Uzoho- The Salvation Army
10. Rev. Dr. Paul O. Kolawole- Conference President Osun Baptist Conference
11. The Ven. Dr. Olasode Olagbaju- Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion
12. Rev. Dr. Kehinde Babarinde- Chairman Christian Council School Advisory Board
13. Mr. Gbenga Opadotun- Chairman Nigeria Union of Journalist Oyo State Council
14. Very Rev. Msgn T.O.A Fadeyi- Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan
15. Rev. Ezo G. Udofia- Represent Archbishop of Uyo Methodist Church
16. Very Rev. Opeyemi Awe- CAPAD
17. Rev. Stephen Owolabi- National Youth Council
18. Iyabo Oyekola –The Church of the Lord ( Aladura) world wide
19. Rev. Joseph Adegboye Adediji- Nigeria Baptist Convention.
20. Rev. Joshua Tunji Ojuwoni- Conference President Lagos Baptist Conference
21. Pastor Bidemi Olu- Davies- Household of David online Church
22. Mr. Kunle Oluwasusi- National Mirror Newspapers
23. Rev. Adefolurin Orekoya- Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Ibadan
24. Mrs. Taiwo Odejayi- Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Ikorodu
25. Rev. Kolade Fadahunsi- Kairos Nigeria/CAPAD
Rev. Kolade Fadahunsi – Programme Officer.