The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has said the country will not go into war again despite agitations from different quarters calling for the disintegration of the country. The Sultan who was speaking at the Second Quarterly Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in Abuja, 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 these 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 common man and humanity, and that is what God created us to do,” he said.
The Sultan who is also the Co-chairman of NIREC said he is a believer of dialogue which his religion taught him.
“So, let’s continue to work together, let’s continue to sit together, let’s continue to dialogue, 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 enough not 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 can’t even worship.”
He, however, acknowledged that things are bad in the country, as insecurity has affected the country’s growth adversely.
“It is a very trying time for our country Nigeria with 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, and I believe that the authorities know much better than us,” he added.
On his part, the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle said insecurity has paralyzed activities across the country.
Reverend Ayokunle who is also the Co-chairman of NIREC said food security is being threatened as farmers are being killed by bandits in their farms.
“Many things are not right with the nation, the most challenging one today is insecurity which has almost paralyzed all human activities apart from the havoc the restriction brought about by Covid-19 has done.
“To travel short distances today calls for serious prayers, and travelling with perhaps every security personnel because of kidnapping for ransome, ritual killing, armed robbery, insurgents attack, banditry and other forms of violent attack.
“Farmers lives 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 quickly”, he noted.
While expressing worry over the daily killings of innocent citizens, he called on religious leaders to unite and speak against the deplorable state of the nation.
He cautioned that breaking up the country may not solve the problem, but the government should be proactive in addressing issues that cause agitations.
The CAN President also called for more funding of security forces and close monitoring of how the funds are being spent.
“Intelligence gathering which we have been shouting about as panacea to the activities of the criminals and in order to identify where these criminals are has never been taken seriously by the government both federal and state.
“Religious leaders, this is the time for us to unite and speak in unison against all these evils before being wiped away by the criminals.
“The daily bloodshed is worrisome and must stop, while we commend our security forces for doing their best, we urge the government to fund them better and monitor the utilization of such fund so that it might be spent on what it is released for.
“Breaking the nation into fragments may not be the answer, however, proactiveness of those in power to prevent the causes of agitation for secession is the right step to keep the nation as one,” he added.
On his part, the Secretary to the government of the Federation, 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 his 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 counter-narrative.
He charged NIREC to go beyond statutory meetings to assisting the government with useful information “because security is the concern of everybody, no matter where you come from and the religion you practice.
Also speaking, chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, warned that unless Nigerians stand against ethnic, religious and political profiling in running the affairs of the country, the search for peace and unity will remain elusive.