The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, has urged media practitioners to avoid the spread of hate messages capable of destabilising the peace of the nation.
Mr. Abubakar made the call at a joint press conference in Abuja as part of a three-day international program on religions for peace.
He said a lot of the damage caused by terrorists would be prevented if most media organisations acted responsibly towards reducing the gap between various groups and religions.
Mr. Abubakar, who had earlier called for greater cooperation of the citizens with government, said the media must also imbibe cooperative and responsive approach to reporting, as a way of contributing towards the struggle for peace.
“The little detail you publish on your platforms can go a long way to cause or prevent chaos. A lot of media organisations still engage in negative publicity that will not help the unity or peace of Nigeria,” he said.
The Sultan, who was represented by the Secretary General of the National Mosque, Ibrahim Jega, urged the media to be optimistic in its approach to issues of national unity, growth and development.
Also speaking at the event, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan commended the effort of government towards combating terrorism, but warned that the struggle to ensure the return of all those abducted by terrorists should not stop with the return of the Chibok girls.
He said the Chibok girls command the kind of attention that they have come to be known with because of groups that spoke out for them.
Mr. Onaiyekan, however, said the people still held by the terrorists should not be neglected just as the crimes committed by the Boko Haram should also not be taken lightly.
“People out there think that when the girls are back then it is over, but we know it is not so. While we are happy that the girls are back, we know that it is not over,” the cardinal said.
The Secretary General of religion for peace, William Vendley, said the program, titled; “Faith Works Africa: Partnership for Peace and Prosperity,” brought together over 400 religious leaders from across the world to Nigeria, to discuss possible ways of strengthening the peace and prosperity of nations.
He said the involvements of international agencies like the USAID and other international organs in the conference was a welcome development, better than the involvement of world leaders in the purchase of arms for war.
He noted the importance religious leaders in the fight against war, adding that religions for peace has over the years tried to strengthen the partnership between government and religious leaders in the fight against terror.