President Goodluck Jonathan has restated the commitment of the Nigerian Government to ensuring freedom of religion to all Nigerians as well as peaceful coexistence.
Jonathan gave the assurance in Sokoto on Friday while opening a two-day international conference on ‘’ Islam and the Fundamentals of peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.’’
Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, also said that religion should not be used to justify violence.
The conference was organised by the Sokoto State Government in conjunction with the Muslim World League, Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
The President said: “We should not use faith to cause havoc. 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.’’
Jonathan also said the Federal Government would continue to protect the rights of Nigerians, including religious rights.
According to him, the two major religions: Islam and Christianity, and their adherents have been co-existing peacefully for centuries.
‘’All of them 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 are no any meaningful achievements that could be achieved without peace.’’
President commended the Sokoto State Government and the League for organising the conference and hoped that it would help in further finding ways to achieve lasting peace, unity and security in Nigeria and the world at large.
Also at the event, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, challenged Nigerians, both the leaders and the led, to return to their Holy Books.
“We must go back to our books and do the right things. We have problems because we have deviated from the paths of our religions as Muslims and Christians. We must always stand by the tenets of Islam no matter what happened. We will also continue to strive to ensure peaceful coexistence and harmony amongst the Muslim Ummah and the adherents of other religions,’’ Abubakar said.
Gov. Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State said that Islam and Christianity taught their adherents to uphold the virtues of peace, unity and harmonious living.
He 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. Sokoto State Government is ready to partner with the league and other organisations to further foster peace and understanding amongst Nigerians and other parts of the world.”
According to Wamakko, Nigerians have no reason whatsoever to adopt violence to achieve any cause.
The governor said the conference was aimed at proffering solutions to some of the problems of Nigeria and the
The Secretary-General of the League, Dr Abdullahi Abdul-Muhsin said that Allah enjoined kindness and justice, adding that “the peoples of the world must live peacefully.’’
Dr Makashafee Taha from Sudan and Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, the Chairman of the Islamic Education Trust (IET), all maintained that the conference could not have come at a better time than now both in Nigeria and the world at large.
The chairman of the occasion, Prof. Shehu Galadanchi, a former Vice chancellor, University of Sokoto, now Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, said: “solutions are needed to create a safer and secure environment to live in.’’
The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, Governors of Adamawa and Jigawa states, Alhaji Murtala Nyako and Alhaji Sule Lamido, respectively, were among other local, national and international participants at the forum.