Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has blamed the unending killings in the southern part of the state on what he described as the “reckless statements” by some religious leaders.
The governor said this when the National Chairman of Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah wa Iqamatul Sunnah, Sheikh Abdullahi Lau, and other Izala leaders paid him a visit on Saturday.
El-Rufai, who spoke to journalists after the visit, noted that the Izala leaders came to be briefed on the security situation in the state, adding that they received briefings from the Commissioner of Internal Security as well as the Deputy Governor.
He said: “We also solicited their support and prayers to see the end of this crisis because we are of the strong view that at the bottom of this crisis are the reckless statements of some religious leaders.
“If religious leaders decide firmly that people should live in peace and preach that consistently, it will lead to peaceful coexistence in our state.”
The governor also insisted that the root of the crisis in southern Kaduna “lies in differences in religion and ethnicity. And religious leaders can play a very unifying or divisive role. What we have witnessed in the last few years is that they have been playing a more divisive than a unifying role.
“That is why we welcome the outreach by religious leaders and we presented them with all the facts, and for them to use the holy books to guide how they will preach to their congregations.”
Also speaking after the visit, the leader of the delegation, Sheikh Lau, emphasized on the need for calm in the state, adding that they visited the governor to identify ways of fostering peace.
“Without peace and harmony, you cannot even practise your religion. Religious leaders have a great role to play and value to add for the peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. That is why the governor said he had earlier received CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) leaders and His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto,” Lau said.
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