By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) -. The Sultan of Sokoto and Co-chairman, Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to initiate dialogue among critical stakeholders to deliberate on issues that will promote peaceful coexistence in Nigeria following the heightened insecurity challenges in the country.
The Sultan disclosed this at the Third Quarterly Meeting of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) in Abuja.
Alhaji Sa’ad explained that continuous dialogue is key to attaining peaceful and healthy society.
According to him, traditional, opinion, religious and community leaders including critical actors must be involved in such discussions and negotiations.
“It is important we sit together and discuss the issues that concern this nation.
Most times, we meet at NIREC, discuss issues and arrive at conclusion. Unfortunately, people would go about and be doing otherwise, particularly preaching hatred and violence.
“We must be truthful to one another. What is so difficult in the president organising a dialogue that would have in attendance impressive participation of the traditional rulers, opinion leaders, market leaders, elder statesmen and every person that has something to contribute?
“If such meeting is eventually convoked, we should look ourselves eyeball to eyeball and tell ourselves the truth. We shouldn’t be afraid of such conversation again cos things are deteriorating. Dialogue is the best approach because whatever cannot be achieved through dialogue will remain unachieved with violence.
“It’s time we rise up and look beyond ethnic and religious sentiments, and tell ourselves the truth that what is happening in Nigeria is not right and make suggestions on the way forward.
“The president must lead the way, reach out to people, sit down, talk to one another because I have seen the good will of the people of this country” he added.
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria and Co-chairman NIREC, Samson Ayokunle accused the Presidency of sentiments in its reactions to attacks and killings in the country stating that the president choose to react to some and keep mute to others.
He described as deplorable the present state of insecurity with even the security agencies not been spared.
“We know that there many challenges facing the government and it is not this administration that started the deploying state but improvement must begin to come from people that want to add value.
“The state of the nation is presently not healthy because of insurgent attacks here and there, religious leaders gathered here, I don’t need to tell you about how deplorable the security situation had become. Bandits have now entered into camps and so called secure places with reckless audacity to kidnap people and kill. Police Stations and even the Nigerian Defense Academy was not spared. These are the people we depend upon for security but they also need to be secured.
“If the armies are not safe in their own barracks in the hands of bandits, who then can be safe?” He questioned.
While commending the Military for their sacrifices the CAN President however advised that they be encouraged to win the war against terrorism and other criminalities.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha called for deepened political and religious collaboration to address the challenges.
Also present at the NIREC quarterly meeting were, Chairman Nigeria Governor’s Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong and Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib among others