Fund traditional religion like Islam, Christianity- Apena of Lagos

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By Taiye Olayemi

Chief Isiaka Ogundare, Apena of Lagos, on Tuesday urged the Federal Government to begin to support African traditional religion, just as it had always extended support to Islam and Christianity.

Ogundare, in commemoration of the World Culture Day, said traditional religion, an aspect of African culture, had not enjoyed the attention of government over the years.

While speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, Ogundare expressed displeasure over the fact that traditional worshipers were not usually considered each time the Muslims and Christians got support for spiritual exercises to Mecca and Jerusalem.

He, however, appealed to government to also pay attention to traditional worshipers, who need support to promote their festivals and deities like Agemo, Igunuko and more.

“We the traditional worshipers are not happy, government has sidelined us for too long, we are not taken serious at all and we are not happy with this.

“Government will always support the Muslims, paying huge amounts for their hajj exercises, same goes for the Christians, who go to Jerusalem.

“We also crave such support to develop our local festivals and promote our deities.

“Agemo deity is supposed to be celebrated during Agemo festivals, it is the deity responsible for the protection of children. We don’t have the needed resources to celebrate the festivals as we should.

“Also the Igunuko deity, responsible for warding-off evil from the land, is also not well celebrated. There are many more of our deities and festivals that need to be celebrated and promoted.

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“When resources are earmarked for hajj and mecca pilgrimages, some funds should also be given to us,” he said.

Ogundare advised Nigerians to practice religion by being charitable, showing compassion to others, and imbibing good morals.

He said exhibiting these qualities would make the society a saner place to live.

He warned Nigerians against neglecting African culture, while embracing the western culture, adding that the repercussion will be grievous later in the future as they will be left without an identity.

He advised Nigerians to uphold every aspect of the nation’s culture and explore ways of generating wealth from it.

NAN reports that the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is an annual event celebrated every year on May 21 globally, as declared by the United Nations General Assembly and adopted by UNESCO General Conference in 2001.(NAN)

Edited by Ifeyinwa Omowole

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