Experts on religious extremism have urged the Federal Government to take religious extremism in Nigeria more seriously.
Mahfouz Adedimeji, a social critic who was the guest speaker at a seminar organised on Saturday by the Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC), said religion has been politicised in the country to cause crisis.
Making a presentation on the topic: 'Religions as a Catalyst for Peace Building, National Integration and Conflict Management in Nigeria', Adedimeji decried the population re-grouping of global religious sects, noting that "conflicts have been given different names based on the various views of liberal, radical and neo-liberal perspectives".
He identified models of conflict management to include: conflict avoidance, compromise, collaboration and accommodation, stating that "religion has given rise to violence in the country and the world in general, with adherents using power, illiteracy and intolerance".
Using Iraq as a case study, veteran broadcaster, John Fiegener, said: "The IMN through its activities is tilting towards the same pattern of al-Qaeda and ISIS in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and if nothing is done to urgently contain the group, it will plunge the nation into a catastrophe of immense proportion.
"Nigerian authorities need to take more concrete steps in this direction as it is already stretched by Boko Haram insurgency."
He also called on Nigerians in their own interest to support government's effort aimed at securing the nation.
An international expert on religious extremism, Don Pathan, warned the Nigerian authorities to act fast in designating the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) a terrorist organisation before it is too late.
According to Pathan, the group’s activities poses a great threat to the sovereignty and the authorities’ continuous indifference towards the sect by tolerating IMN like every other religious group is akin to "playing with a keg of gun powder".
Dr. Oliver Tersoo Agundu, a senior lecturer at the Benue State University said: "The IMN as fundamentalists do not believe in individualism, liberty of personal choice or plurality of thought. They do not encourage or enter free debate; they deny others the right to express their own views freely and they cannot tolerate anything which they perceive is going against their faith".
He also called on Nigerians to support government's effort aimed at securing the nation.
The high point of the event was the presentation of a book titled: 'Terror in the Caliphate', written by Evangelist Sunday Attah.
The book chronicled the violent activities of the group as a terror organisation and called on Nigerians to understand the group better than social media posts, which many rely on to pass judgement.