The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the arrest and prosecution of people who preach and promote hate speeches in the country.
Mr. Abubakar gave this advice at the opening of a two-day conference organised by International Dialogue Centre, KAICIID, an inter-governmental organisation that promotes dialogue to build peace in conflict areas.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the conference was supported by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, IPCR, in collaboration with the Inter faith Mediation Centre, IMC.
According to him, people who preach and promote hate speeches have brought friction between Christians and Muslims in the country.
He stressed the need for both religions to report preachers of hate to the security agencies for proper investigation, adding that no external people could bring peace to the country.
He identified hate preaching as a major factor responsible for friction between Christians and Muslims, saying “while we pray for peace and dialogue, preachers of hate must be reported to the security agencies.
“Therefore, we must work hard for peace and live in peace and harmony.
“All of us believe in dialogue that is why we are here. Some of us are outside Abuja and we have to travel long distance to be here.
“This shows what we want peace because violence, killings is contrary to the teaching of our Holy books.
“We are not here to teach ourselves the holy books, but to use them appropriately,” the Sultan said.
Mr. Abubakar called on religious leaders and their followers to support the security agencies to deal with people who promote religious intolerance in the country.
“We must tell ourselves the truth, we must collaborate with authorities to deal with those who don’t want peace.
“ When you keep quiet, it means you are supporting what other individuals are doing and the masses will suffer.
“ I have not lost hope in this country; I have never lost hope in my relationship with Christians.
“ If you did something wrong, I will call you and advise you. We must continue to show love as our religion ordered us,” he said.
He urged the organisers and participants at the event to ensure the implementation of all the recommendations of the conference.
According to him, by February the National Inter religious Council, NIREC, will meet and talk on the prevailing issues in Nigeria.
While speaking, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Supo Ayokunle said there was no better time for Nigerians to unite than now.
Mr. Ayokunle, represented by Steven Adegbite, a bishop, noted that there was no religion that encourages people to kill and advised Nigerians leaders to come together and design a road map.
The CAN president called on Nigerians to be their brother’s keeper, saying “ Only God gives and takes away life.
The conference brought together over 100 key actors from diverse communities; both Christians and Muslims, to find common ground to build and support a platform for inter religious dialogue in the country.
KAICIID is a Vienna, Austria based intergovernmental organisation that promotes and employs interreligious dialogue to prevent conflict and ensure sustainable peace and social cohesion.