The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has said that the country will not go to war in spite of secession agitations from different quarters.
The Sultan, who spoke at the Second Quarterly Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) in Abuja, said that he would always advocate dialogue as the path to 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 are 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, who is the co-chairman of NIREC said: “Let us 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.
“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 cannot even worship.”
Abubakar, however, acknowledged that things were bad because insecurity had affected the country’s growth adversely.
“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.
“You don’t have to tell anybody that things are bad, and I believe that the authorities know much better than we do,” he added.
The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samson Ayokunle, said insecurity had paralysed activities across the country.
Ayokunle, the co-chairman, said food security is threatened with farmers being killed by bandits.
“Many things are not right with the nation; the most challenging one today is insecurity which has almost paralysed all human activities apart from the havoc the restriction of COVID-19 brought.
“To travel short distance today calls for serious prayers, and traveling with perhaps every security personnel because of kidnapping for ransom, 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,” he noted.
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 might 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 were 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.
The Secretary to the government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, said the level of insecurity was so high that religious and traditional rulers must assist the government to tackle it.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Security, SGF, Mr 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 government with useful information “because security is the concern of everybody, no matter where you come from and the religion you practice,” he said.