The Kaduna State chapters of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and Jama’atu Nasrul Islam, JNI, on Thursday expressed solidarity with the state government on the Southern Kaduna crisis and said perpetrators must be punished.
The two groups made the declaration during a peace advocacy visit to their offices in Kaduna by officials of the state government.
Sunday Ibrahim, the state Secretary of CAN, said the state and federal government should prosecute whoever is involved in the crisis, and urged Christians to ignore those pushing them to carry out reprisal attacks.
He said people of the area must not allow their territory to be turned into another theatre of war, like is happening in parts of the North East.
The CAN scribe called on all well meaning Nigerians to push for the restoration of peace in the area.
“Without peace there will be no meaningful development in any society. I believe one day it will be history, I believe this government will prosecute whoever is involved and the perpetrators should face the full wrath of the law.”
On his part, the state JNI Secretary, Ibrahim Kufaina, urged all responsible clerics to preach peace and condemn all forms of killings under any guise.
He said that the body would support Governor Nasiru El-Rufai in his efforts to end the crisis and build sustainable peace across ethnic and religious divides.
“It is our duty to preach peace and according to our religion, any true Muslim will not engage in crisis or killing of a fellow human being.
“We read some religious leaders giving out figures of victims, but we didn’t give figures to the press because it may create further crisis and tension,” he said.
Mr. Kufaina urged religious leaders to stop heating up the polity and engage in preaching reconciliation, peaceful coexistence and forgiveness.
Ahmad Maiyaki, a member of the People Democratic Party and spokesman to former governor Ramalan Yero, who was on the government delegation, said they joined in the advocacy for peace in spite of their political differences with the state government.
According to him, peace is non-negotiable, as such Muslims and Christians must create the necessary peaceful atmosphere for them to worship their creator.
He called for the review of the penal code to provide severe punishment to perpetrators of such crisis, to deter others with similar intent.
Mr. Maiyaki cautioned the media about sentimentalising the crisis in their reports, saying such narrative only escalate the problem.
“Any religious leader preaching hate and division is not representing his followers, but he is representing the Devil.
“The persistent crisis in Kaduna state which started before this government has slowed the development of the state.
“Looking at the heterogeneous nature of people, they look at religious leaders for guidance, as such clerics should preach peaceful co-existence.”
He also appealed to politicians to stop making capital out of such crisis, as it was the people that become the greatest losers.
Mr. Maiyaki noted that the money being spent by the present government on security would have been channelled in addressing critical problems in vital areas such as health, education agriculture and infrastructure development.
In his comment, Samuel Aruwan, spokesman to Mr. El-Rufai, assured the people of the state that the main agenda of the government is building enduring peace and harmony.
According to him, the government will continue to engage traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, as well as other critical stakeholder in the search for lasting peace in southern Kaduna and all parts of the state.
“We are here on a peace advocacy visit to CAN and JNI, and to also appreciate our religious bodies in Kaduna state for the roles they are playing to end this crisis.
“We hold religious bodies in high esteem and we appreciate their role in peace building and to ask them to do more for our people to live in peace.”
He also urged people of the state to support security agencies and report any attempt to breach the peace to constituted authority.