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Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, on Saturday blamed the killings in Southern Kaduna on the reckless statements by some religious leaders.
According to a statement, the governor said this when the National Chairman of Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah wa Iqamatul Sunnah, Sheikh Abdullahi Lau, and other Izala leaders paid him a visit on Saturday.
Speaking with journalists, El-Rufai noted that the Izala leaders came to be briefed on the security situation in the state and that “they received briefings from the Commissioner of Internal Security as well as the Deputy Governor.”
He said, “We also solicited their support and prayers to see the end of this crisis because we are of the strong view that at the bottom of this crisis are the reckless statements of some religious leaders.
“If religious leaders decide firmly that people should live in peace and preach that consistently, it will lead to peaceful coexistence in our state.”
El-Rufai also said that the root of the crisis in southern Kaduna “lies in differences in religion and ethnicity. And religious leaders can play a very unifying or divisive role. What we have witnessed in the last few years is that they have been playing a more divisive than a unifying role.”
“That is why we welcome the outreach by religious leaders and we presented them with all the facts, and for them to use the holy books to guide how they will preach to their congregations,” the governor added.
Also, Lau called on the need for calm in the state, adding that they visited the governor to identify ways of fostering peace.
“Without peace and harmony, you cannot even practise your religion. Religious leaders have a great role to play and value to add for the peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. That is why the governor said he had earlier received CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) leaders and His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto,” Lau said.
Meanwhile, the youth wing of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union on Saturday said the state government must arrest and prosecute the sponsors and perpetrators of the killings in the southern part of the state for peace to reign. The group said more should be done in rehabilitating, reintegrating victims as well as rebuilding the communities affected by the attacks by suspected militia Fulani herdsmen.
The Southern Kaduna youths stated these at a press conference held in Kaduna on Saturday
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