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Muslims Will Not Be Provoked To War With Anyone, Says Sultan Abubakar |The Republican News

The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday called for continued dialogues over issues of religion in the country.

He said making public comments do not help but aggravate the issues, assuring that Muslims in the country are good people who would not be provoked to take up arms against anybody.

The Muslim leader spoke at the opening of the 34th National Qur’an Recitation Competition organized by the Musabaqah Foundation for Quranic Recitation in Nigeria/Centre for Islamic Studies, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto in collaboration with the Muslim Community of Lagos State.

In attendance were the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat; Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, Chairman of Police Service Commission, Musliu Smith, among others. Sultan’s remarks were coming in the wake of a recent disagreement between NSCIA and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the United States Department of State report listing Nigeria among countries that failed religious tolerance test.

CAN had backed the US report, saying Christians are being persecuted in the country but Sultan insists nothing of such exists, stressing that not all Fulani herdsmen are Muslims and they were not after the Christians as insinuated by CAN. Speaking yesterday in Lagos, the Sultan insisted that Muslims are very good people and they would continue to work with Qur’anic injunction forbidding man’s inhumanity to man. He said while Muslims are generally good, there are bad ones as they exist in all societies, urging the government to deal with the bad ones. “And I want to assure you that no Muslim would be provoked into taking up arms against anybody based on what you have been seeing in the media particularly of recent.

These are issues we need to tackle; these are issues the various governments at all levels need to tackle by sitting down and talking to one another because making public comments don’t normally help. “They aggravate situations. And I want to assure all, everything is right with us. The Muslims in Nigeria are very good people. We will continue to do the best. But among all good people, there are also bad people and we know there are bad people among all societies.”

He stressed that the Muslim leaders would not cease to give sound advice to the leaders to do the right thing and make the country a better place. According to him, Islam is a complete way of life and Qur’an is very important to all Muslims. He said if everybody works with the injunction of the Qur’an, there would be no corruption or any form of criminalities in the society.

“We must work with the Qur’an and Insha Allah as Muslims in this country we would continue to work with the Qur’an. We would continue to uphold Qur’anic injunctions and obey our leaders who Almighty Allah has placed on us,” he said. The state governor said he was convinced that Islam is a religion of peace which encourages tolerance and harmonious coexistence among all people of different beliefs. He urged the adherents of Islam and Christianity to follow the commandments of the two Holy Books and live peacefully with one another.

He said: “As a nation engaged in the battle against extremism, this programme will, among other initiatives, promote true understanding of the religion of Islam and help make our young people less vulnerable to beliefs that are not consistent with the teachings of the religion.

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Herdsmen Menace Could Lead To Civil War, CAN Warns Federal Government

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CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle 

Kamarudeen Ogundele and Godwin Isenyo

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Reverend Olasupo Ayokunle, has called on the Federal Government to prosecute some herdsmen arrested in connection with the recent killings in Kaduna and Benue states.

He said it was only when the suspects were prosecuted that tension that had risen in the two states would reduce.

He spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, during a special service held at the First Baptist Church (Miracle Cathedral).

The Centenary Estate built by the Ekiti Conference of the Nigerian Baptist Convention was also inaugurated by the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe.

Ayokunle, who is also the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, warned that failure to stop the unprovoked killings by suspected herdsmen in some parts of the country could spark off war in the country.

In a sermon entitled, “Moving Forward, Exhibiting the Features of a Prevailing Church,” Ayokunle said the church had a duty to pray for Nigeria to overcome all its social, economic and political problems.

He said, “There is a need to pray more for Nigeria because it is only prayers that can save us. Let us continue to pray for the leadership of this country. But I want to urge the government to check the menace of the herdsmen in some parts of the country.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to prosecute the herdsmen arrested in connection with the recent killings in Benue and Southern Kaduna because this will ease tension in the two states.

“We also want the Federal Government to investigate, through intelligence gathering, those unpatriotic Nigerians supplying the herdsmen with weapons being used to perpetrate evil.

“If the government fails to stop the provocation by the Fulani (herdsmen), they should be prepared for war. No ethnic group has a monopoly of violence and no ethnic group should be a monster to others.”

Meanwhile, security operatives on Monday arrested 18 suspects in connection with the unrest in Kabala-West and Ungwan-Mu’azu in Kaduna-South Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

Governor Nasir el-Rufai’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, said this in a statement on Monday.

There was commotion in Kabala-West and Kaduna-South Local Government Area on Monday as an angry mob stabbed to death a suspected thief in the area.

It was gathered that the suspect had burgled a house on Kaje Street located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Expressway of the state.          (Punchng.com)

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Probe The Sources Of Weapons For Fulani Herdsmen, CAN Tells Buhari

CAN to FG: Probe sources of weapons for Fulani herdsmen

CAN President, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle

The President, Chris­tian Association of Nigeria (CAN), his eminence, Rev Samson Olasupo Ayokunle has asked the Federal Govern­ment to probe the sources of the ammuntion being used by the murderous Fulani herdsmen with a view to stop their criminal activities.
A statement by the press secretary to the CAN presi­dent, Bayo Oyedeji stated that Ayokunle asked the security agencies to stop treating the criminals among the herdsmen with kid gloves urged the gov­ernment to rise up to the challenges if the nation must have peace and unity.
“The issues of the ram­paging and murderous Fu­lani herdsmen in different parts of our nation must be stopped. They block high­ways to kidnap and rob, inflicting injuries on inno­cent Nigerians and killing them like fowls.
“No stone should be left unturned in bringing the perpetrators of such crimes to book. Security agencies should stop telling us that they are ‘unknown gun­men.’
“Those arrested should be conclusively prosecuted to serve as deterrent to oth­ers. Their sources of am­munition must be unveiled and those behind the sup­ply should be proscuted. Victims of such senseless violent acts deserve com­pensation especially the people of Southern Ka­duna, Agatu community of Benue state, several com­munties in the Eastern part of the country and South-South.”
Ayokunle who decried the menace of unem­ployment in the country warned those in the posi­tion of authorities to cre­ate enabling environment before it is too late.
“Unemployment of the able bodied youths in our nation, especially gradu­ates of various tertiary in­stitutions is another wor­risome issue; such requires enabling environment for their employment. All the harsh economic measures must be dropped for busi­nesses to flourish. A stitch in time saves nine.”   (Authority)

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How To End Southern Kaduna Killing-by El-Rufa’i |The Republican News

Wale Ajetunmobi and Frank Ikpefan

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufa’i

KADUNA State Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i has offered a three-step solution to end killings in Southern Kaduna – a Christian-dominated settlement that has been constantly invaded by suspected herdsmen.

The governor said calming frayed nerves, prosecuting culprits and building peace are ways to go in healing injuries precipitated by the renewed crisis, which recently led to the destruction of lives and properties.

El-Rufa’i, who spoke yesterday on Sunrise Daily, a live programme on Channels TV, described the Southern Kaduna killings as a “reprisal” from trans-human pastoralists from outside Nigeria, saying some arrested suspects who participated in the carnage were helping security agencies in investigations.

He said: “We have studied these problems and we think the solution is in three-step. We are very clear in our mind that, that is the way to go. Based on previous experience and the study of the situation on the ground, and based on what Peace and Intelligence experts have told us; the first step is to restore peace and normalcy to the affected Local Government Areas through enhanced security and military deployment…

“The second step is to prosecute all those involved. We have made significant arrest; the police have paraded some of these suspects. Some have not been paraded because we have not got the entire gang… Most of those we have arrested now are local Fulani and the Southern Kaduna people, because they were also blocking highways and killing innocent people. We have both (groups) in custody… and we are getting closer to arresting the masterminds.

“The third step is the peace building. We need to bring the communities together, because no matter how many policemen and armed forces you put in a place like Southern Kaduna, which has scattered communities, there would be no peace unless people agree to live in peace.”

El-Rufa’i said there are people directly living of the crisis, accusing political and religious leaders for making gains out of the killings.

He said: “There people, believe it or not, that have been living of this (crisis). Subsequent events and prosecutions would reveal this. As I speak, we are aware of some church leaders that have been getting money from abroad to bury Christians that have killed and to re-build thousands of churches that are being destroyed. Because, the more they put these pictures on social media and give the impression that Christians are being targeted, the more the funds flow in.”

The governor cautioned political and church leaders in Southern Kaduna sending a “narrative of exclusion” to desist from making divisive statement.

He said: “There are political and church leaders in Southern Kaduna sending a narrative of exclusion that, only indigenes should live in that part; that only people of particular religion should live there. Unless people agree to live in peace, we will not have peace.

“No peace is possible without justice and foundations of law enforcement. What we have seen in Southern Kaduna is a result of impunity. People came and destroy property for 37 years and no one has ever been prosecuted.”

On the allegation that some traditional rulers and local government chairmen might be part of the problem, he said: “We are working closely with traditional rulers, but I want to tell you that some of them are part of the problems. We are prosecuting some of them. There was a case of policemen who went to Nasarawa State for an investigation. On coming back, they met a checkpoint manned by Southern Kaduna youths who killed four policemen and took their rifles. When the police investigated the matter, a traditional ruler handed over the rifles to police investigators. And we said, where are those people that gave him the riffles? Those are the killers. The traditional ruler refused. We are charging him for murder.”  (The Nation)

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Soyinka Comment On Religion Unfair, Unkind, Say CAN, JNI | The Republican News

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Prof. Wole Soyinka

Friday Olokor, Success Nwogu and Godwin Isenyo

The Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam as well as individuals and groups have faulted a statement by the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, that religion will kill Nigeria if it is not tamed.

CAN’s National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, and the Secretary-General of the JNI, Dr. Abdulkadir Khalid-Aliyu, stated this in separate interviews with The PUNCH.

Soyinka had, at a book presentation in Abuja, on Thursday, warned that religion would kill the country if it was not tamed.

Condemning killings in the name of religion, the Nobel laureate stated, “I would like to transfer that cry (by President Muhammadu Buhari on corruption) from the moral zone to the terrain of religion. If we do not tame religion in this nation, religion will kill us.”

The Nobel laureate also said the President and the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, were wrong in their approach to the Southern Kaduna killings.

Reacting to Soyinka’s statement on religion, Samuel, in an interview with The PUNCH, said religion was not the problem of Nigeria.

The CAN leader stated, “With due respect to Prof. Soyinka, it is not true that religion is the bane of Nigeria’s stability. No genuine religion promotes killings and destruction of lives and property. It is unfair for the Nobel laureate to project religion as a problem when it is the faithful believers that are praying and sacrificing to keep the nation moving.

“Christianity preaches peace in all its ramifications. I challenge the professor to identify one attack on any community in Nigeria that was reported to have been carried out by Christians. Let him show any terrorist group by whatever name that shouts the name of Jesus before attacks or claim they are fighting for Jesus.

“We are sad that the so-called religious killing is persisting because our prominent leaders are not ready to call a spade by its real name.”

Samuel lamented that Nigeria’s security agencies appeared to use a different template in performing their functions at home from the one they adopted when on international mission.

He stated, “I wonder how Nigeria would have been without the coming of the Christian missionaries. This nation has the security agencies that present heavy budgets, undergo serious training both nationally and internationally, perform very highly on foreign assignments. Yet, when they are dealing with Nigeria, they seem to be very lost as to knowing what is happening in Nigeria, let alone finding any lasting solution.”

He urged respected Nigerians like Soyinka to ask relevant authorities some questions as to why for years, killings had continued with no single prosecution of perpetrators.

“Why a woman will be murdered in cold blood by known neighbours, yet they will be set free without prosecution like it happened in Kano? Nigeria will be far from getting to any solution,” he said.

The Secretary-General of the JNI, Dr. Abdulkadir Khalid-Aliyu, said depending on the context from which Soyinka made the statement, the retired don’s position was most uncharitable.

He called on Nigerian leaders to guard their utterances, especially on religion because of its sensitive nature.

Khalid-Aliyu stated, “Is Prof. Soyinka saying religion is bad? It is important that we really have to be decorous and be respectful of the sensibility of the people.

“Even in advanced countries, people respect religion and adhere to religion.

“Until we are able to separate the chaff from the grain; there is a difference between religion and people of religion. Such assertion coming from somebody who doesn’t believe in religion is uncharitable.

“If he is talking about moderation and the need to really purge ourselves of extremism in the practice of religion or of being used to advance considerations that are inimical to peace and development, then, that could be understandable.”

The former Secretary-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said religion was positive, admitting that positive things could be abused.

In an interview with The PUNCH, he said, “It depends on the perspective from which he was speaking. Anything, no matter how positive, if negatively good, will be negative and it is the other way.

“Religion, as far as I am concerned is positive. But that does not mean that anything positive cannot be negatively good. So, it depends on the context from which Soyinka spoke.”

Also, the Vice-Chancellor, Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Prof. Taofeek Ibrahim,

disagreed with the Nobel laureate that religion should be tamed.

In an interview with journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, Ibrahim said religion had been pivotal to the development and peace of many countries.

He stated that people, who were using religion to cause mayhem rather than religion should be held responsible for the killings and wanton destruction of properties.

He warned that going against the dictates of religion could be counter-productive and even destructive, adding that it was important to ensure peaceful co-existence of different religious faithful.

Ibrahim said, “I strongly disagree that we have to tame religion. For most of the developed world and everywhere, where there is sanity today, religion has been the basis of development and peace over the centuries.

“It is those that show themselves as religious but are actually not religious and for selfish reasons, which they impose in the name of religion, are the ones that cause the troubles we have been witnessing in this country.

“When you look at the history of America and Europe, you will appreciate the role of the church in the building of such nations. Similarly, where you still have relative peace in the Muslim world, you will see the contribution of Islamic religion in these areas.

“As a matter of fact, it is when we go away from the dictates of religion that we get into further problem. Whether Muslim or Christian, the problem is for people taking advantage of religion; it is for minimal personal issue that they destroy the picture of the role religion should be playing.”

The Al-Hikmah VC urged religious leaders to place greater priority on spirituality, morality and ethics rather than on materialism.

Ibrahim said, “Our religious leaders, the heads of the church and the mosque have a lot of roles to play. As we preach and eulogise the issue of mundane things, then there will be problems. We need to go back to preach moral and ethics.

“It is amazing that people in government, who claim to be Muslims and Christians will take all the funds they steal from the public or government to the churches and mosques. It makes nonsense of the whole claim of our being religious.”

The VC agreed with the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who, at the book presentation, lamented the non-prosecution of perpetrators of religious violence and other high-profile murder cases in the country. (Punchng.com)

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