By Dipo Olowookere
Minister of Interior, Mr Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, has called on all well-meaning Nigerians not to allow themselves to be dragged into religious conflicts.
He made this passionate appeal following insinuations that the criminal violence in Southern has some religious interpretations.
He said there were people always looking for ways to further create division along religious or ethnic fault lines for their selfish interest, with the aim of creating instability in our internal security.
Accordingly, the Minister posited that true religious leaders do not fan the embers of hate, but ensure that communities live in peace and harmony.
In this connection, he maintained that economic growth and development will remain a mirage for Nigeria; with over 500 ethnic groups and multiple religions, unless we resolve to live amicably as a people with common destiny.
Speaking further, Mr Dambazau said criminals who perpetrate violence against innocent, law-abiding citizens do not discriminate along religious and ethnic lines, citing examples of how communities in Zamfara, Katsina, Taraba, Enugu, Lagos and Niger were victimized by those violent criminals.
He noted that a criminal should be treated as such, whether he is involved in armed robbery, drug trafficking, homicides or cattle rustling, and that people should avoid honouring criminals with religious or ethnic attachment.
He advised opinion and religious leaders to refrain from giving the crisis between herdsmen and sedentary farmers in Southern Kaduna a religious connotation, rather attention should be focused on the real enemies of our Society, who illegally acquire weapons to terrorize Christians and Muslims Communities alike.
Consequently, the Police have been tasked to ensure the sustenance of law and order, and to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in criminal activities.
He therefore urged citizens to cooperate with the Police by providing actionable intelligence/information in its quest to restore normalcy to the troubled Communities.
He reassured citizens of government commitment to tackling the root causes of similar crisis in all parts of the country, while paying special attention to measures aimed at eradicating poverty, climate change, population explosion and the issues of youth bulge which have been identified as some of the causative factors of these conflicts.
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