By Ochiaka Ugwu
Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III has emphasized the need for inter religious dialogue in the country saying that it will bring better understanding among the people.
Sultan Sa’ad who made this known in Abuja yesterday at the 4th quarterly meeting of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) with the theme: “Religion and Civil Authorities in Dialogue for Nation Building” stressed the need to revive NIREC by taking its meeting to every part of the country to feel the pulse of the people as it was done before.
He said that meeting the people directly will make them appreciate the dialogue and lead to better understanding of the whole essence than watching from the television.
Sa’ad advised that we check extremism among us to stop extremists from causing trouble in the polity.
Continuing, he expressed the need to educate children to take them off the street and maintained that drug abuse must be combated.
He made case for lawfulness and rule of law noting that there will be no prosperity in a lawless state.
Also speaking, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha in a goodwill message thanked the Co-Chairmen and Members of the Secretariat for being steadfast in maintaining the peace and harmony we currently enjoy in the country.
He said that Federal Government recognizes the efforts of NIREC in bringing the two major religions in Nigeria together to provide Religious Leaders and Traditional Rulers with a veritable forum to promote greater interaction and understanding among the leadership and their followers as well as lay foundations for sustainable peace and religious harmony in the country.
Mustapha said the time is now for Governments at all levels to sit down and discuss the issue of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence with our religious and traditional rulers as the success or failure of security administration in the country depends largely on both institutions.
Executive Secretary of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) and Secretary General of the West Africa Inter-Religious Council (WA-IRC), Rev. Fr. Prof. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua noted that NIREC keeps reminding the nation that Justice and Good Governance remain the most effective means for the promotion of peace, harmony, mutual co-existence and the development of a country.
He said NIREC urged the Government to promote the rule of law, transparency, accountability, consensus building, equity, stronger institutions and efficiency.
Dr. Aisha Salihu Lemu in her paper presentation said that civil authorities should always dialogue and listen to religious bodies while Rev. Sis Dr. Nkechi Lillian Iwuoha said that dialogue is a healthy element in fostering relations with religion and government.