The Sultan of Sokoto and co-chair of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said the country will not go to war again despite agitations for disintegration from different quarters.
The Sultan who spoke at the second quarterly meeting of NIREC in Abuja yesterday said he would always advocate for dialogue as a way to achieve peace.
“People have been talking about war; there will not be war in Nigeria, who is going to fight who? In families we have Christians and Muslims; you have ethnic nationalities in your country; you have inter-married.
“So, all this noise people are making is trying to draw attention to what they can get out of this country and if you look at them, they are in the minority. In this country, there are excellent people that mean well for the common man and humanity and that is what God created us to do”, he said.
The Sultan said he remained a believer in dialogue which his religion has advocated.
He stated: “So, let’s continue to work together; let’s continue to sit together; let’s continue to dialogue. I am a total believer in dialogue and nothing will change my mind because my religion teaches me to always dialogue.
“And I believe no problem is too big to be resolved when we sit down and talk because even wars are fought to bring peace but if you know you can bring peace without fighting war, then why do you have to take up arms.
“Peace is the most important aspect of our lives because without peace we cannot even worship”.
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Abubakar, however, acknowledged that things were bad in the country, as insecurity has adversely affected the country’s growth.
“It is a very trying time for our country, Nigeria, for so many reasons, most notably insecurity which does not allow anybody to do what he or she wants and at the time and place he or she wants.
“That’s why we are very worried with the way things are in our great country at this time because things are really very stressful and there is no doubt about it, and you don’t have to tell anybody things are bad.
“To travel short distances today calls for serious prayers and traveling with perhaps security personnel because of kidnapping for ransom, ritual killing, armed robbery, insurgents attack, banditry and other forms of violence”, he added.
On his part, president of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samson Ayokunle, said insecurity had paralysed activities across the country.
Ayokunle, who is also the co-chairman of NIREC, noted that food security had been threatened as farmers are being killed by bandits in their farms.
“Many things are not right with the nation, the most challenging one today being insecurity, which has almost paralysed all human activities apart from the havoc the restrictive COVID-19 brought.
“Farmers are threatened on their farms while some have been killed while farming. The result of attacks on farmers is scarcity of farm products which will lead to famine if care is not taken by those in authority.
While expressing worry over the daily killings of innocent citizens, Ayokunle called on religious leaders to unite and speak against the deplorable state of the nation.
He cautioned that while breaking up the country may not solve the problem, the government should be proactive in addressing issues that caused the agitations.
The CAN President also called for more funding of security forces and close monitoring of how the funds were being spent.
The secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said the level of insecurity in Nigeria is so high that religious and traditional rulers must assist the government to tackle it.
Mustapha, who was represented by the permanent security in the SGF’s office, Morris Mbaeri, said, “In every ethnic group, there are good people and there are criminal elements.
“While the leaders in each ethnic group should caution their children, religious leaders should publicly reject the ideology of those who claim to be killing in the name of religion by giving a counter narrative.”
He charged NIREC to go beyond statutory meetings to assisting government with useful information “because security is the concern of everybody, no matter where you come from and the religion you practice.”