The president stated this in Sokoto on Friday.
President Goodluck Jonathan has enjoined Nigerians not to use religion to cause havoc capable of the disrupting the peaceful co-existence among residents.
Mr. Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo in Sokoto on Friday, at the opening of a two-day international conference, restated the commitment of his administration to ensure freedom of religion to all Nigerians.
The conference was organised by the Sokoto State Government in conjunction with the Muslim World League, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on the theme: ‘’Islam and the Fundamentals of peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.’’
“We should not use faith to cause havoc,” he said. “Sectarian differences should not be allowed. Inter-religious dialogue plays an important role in the society. The Federal Government is taking seriously the advice and recommendations of NIREC (Nigeria Inter-Religious Council),” he said.
The president gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to protect the rights of Nigerians, including right to religion, pointing out that adherents of the two major religions -Islam and Christianity- must maintain their long history of peacefully co-existing for centuries.
“All of them (religions) preach peace and unity and they abhor violence and transgression. They also uphold the dignity of humanity. We have no alternative to peaceful coexistence as there could be no meaningful achievements without peace,” he said.
While commending organisers of the conference, the President expressed the hope that it would provide an avenue to achieve lasting peace, unity and security in Nigeria and the world at large.
In his speech, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, challenged Nigerians to return to their Holy Books and do the right things, pointing out that country is having problems at the moment because both the leaders and the followers have deviated from the paths of their religions.
“We must always stand by the tenets of our religions no matter what happens. We will also continue to strive to ensure peaceful coexistence and harmony amongst the Muslim Ummah and the adherents of other religions,’’ Mr. Abubakar said.
The Sokoto State Governor, Aliyu Wamakko, said that Islam and Christianity teach their adherents the virtues of upholding peace, unity and harmonious living, adding that these also underscored the imperative of dialogue in solving all problems in Nigeria and the entire world.
“Nigerians should live devoid of any political or ethnic bigotry. Without peace, no meaningful achievements could be recorded,” he said, adding that Nigerians have no reason whatsoever to adopt violence as a way of achieving any cause.
The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, Abdullahi Abdul-Muhsin, said that Allah enjoined kindness and justice, adding that “the peoples of the world must live peacefully.’’