There will be no war in Nigeria, says Sultan as NIREC meets
The Sultan of Sokoto and Co-chair of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, says 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, 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.
“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,” he said.
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, and I believe that the authorities know better than us,” he added.
The 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 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 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. The result of attacks on farmers is scarcity of farm produce, which will lead to famine if care is not taken by those in authority.
“To travel short distances today calls for serious prayers with perhaps, security personnel because of kidnapping for ransom, ritual killing, armed robbery, insurgent attack, banditry and other forms of violence.”
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 breaking up the country may not solve the problem, but the government should be proactive in addressing issues that cause the agitations.
The CAN President also called for more funding of security forces and close monitoring of how the funds are spent.
“Intelligence gathering, which we have been shouting about as panacea to the activities of the criminals, in order to identify where these criminals operate from, has never been taken seriously by the government, both federal and state.
“For religious leaders, this is the time for us to unite and speak in unison against all these evils before being wiped away by 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 funds 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.
The Secretary to the government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said the level of insecurity in Nigeria was so high that religious and traditional rulers must assist the government to tackle it.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Security, office of the SGF, 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,” he said.