The Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Sampson Ayokunle on Wednesday called for inclusive governance to address the myriads of problems confronting the country.
Specifically, the Sultan said leadership at all levels should be equitable, fair and just to every member of the society in the distribution of amenities and resources irrespective of the political , religious and tribal inclinations of members of the society.
While the Sultan further said extremism and violence are not part of Islam and any one killing a fellow citizen in the name of any religion should be treated as criminals, the CAN President however urged the present administration to address the issue of the marginalization of the Igbos.
“The Biafra people are going through a lot, not because they want to be violent, but because they want to be heard. And one of the things they want to tell Nigerians is that the Biafrans are not a terrorist group. The people want to talk to Nigerians about a general issue that they do not want to be marginalized”, Rev Ayokunle said.
The Sultan and the CAN President made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a Collaborative Interfaith Peace and Security Capacity Building Workshop organized by the Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) in conjunction with Inter Religious Peace Initiative at the NARC Complex, Abuja.
The Sultan who was represented by the Executive Secretary of Abuja National Mosque, Alhaji Ibrahim Jega also said corruption was the reason behind the nation’s weak security system and the threats of insurgency coupled with the lack of teaching materials in schools and the sorry state of the health system.
Sultan Abubakar II who threw his weight behind the fight against corruption by the present administration, called on religious leaders to support government efforts to fight corruption in all ramifications in the country.
While commending the NARC for the workshop as it would foster peace building and engender understanding amongst the people, Sultan Abubakar II said Nigeria needs peace and unity to achieve even development and progress in all part of the country.
The President of CAN who was represented at the function by Apostle Nyenemeh Andy of the Holy Ghost Ambassadors Church, Abuja, said he was glad to hear the Sultan condemned the killings by any group as unislamic, noting that the herdsmen clashes against local farmers in some states should therefore not be taken as having religious undertone.
The Acting Director General of NARC, Brig. General Okechukwu Ugo said the workshop was necessitated by the need to expose participants to the positive roles religion can play in peace building and encourage the culture of religious tolerance, mutual understanding and trust among the people.
He expressed regret that the “continued manipulation of Nigeria’s religious diversity has further polarized the nation endangering her unity, stability and development”.
‘This situation has also increased the potential of sectarian violence and escalation of interfaith tensions thereby making religion one of Nigeria’s critical fault-lines” General Ugo stated.
“Sustainable response to religion as a trigger of violent conflicts must go beyond military engagement. It must encompass interfaith dialogues, religious education, sensitization and security awareness targeting youths who have always been used as catalyst in ethno-religious violence,” the Acting Director General asserted.