The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, yesterday called for continued dialogues over issues of religion in the country.
He said making public comments do not help but aggravate the issues, assuring that Muslims in the country are good people who would not be provoked to take up arms against anybody.
The Muslim leader spoke at the opening of the 34th National Qur’an Recitation Competition organized by the Musabaqah Foundation for Quranic Recitation in Nigeria/Centre for Islamic Studies, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto in collaboration with the Muslim Community of Lagos State.
In attendance were the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu; his Deputy, Obafemi Hamzat; Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, Chairman of Police Service Commission, Musliu Smith, among others. Sultan’s remarks were coming in the wake of a recent disagreement between NSCIA and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over the United States Department of State report listing Nigeria among countries that failed religious tolerance test.
CAN had backed the US report, saying Christians are being persecuted in the country but Sultan insists nothing of such exists, stressing that not all Fulani herdsmen are Muslims and they were not after the Christians as insinuated by CAN. Speaking yesterday in Lagos, the Sultan insisted that Muslims are very good people and they would continue to work with Qur’anic injunction forbidding man’s inhumanity to man. He said while Muslims are generally good, there are bad ones as they exist in all societies, urging the government to deal with the bad ones. “And I want to assure you that no Muslim would be provoked into taking up arms against anybody based on what you have been seeing in the media particularly of recent.
These are issues we need to tackle; these are issues the various governments at all levels need to tackle by sitting down and talking to one another because making public comments don’t normally help. “They aggravate situations. And I want to assure all, everything is right with us. The Muslims in Nigeria are very good people. We will continue to do the best. But among all good people, there are also bad people and we know there are bad people among all societies.”
He stressed that the Muslim leaders would not cease to give sound advice to the leaders to do the right thing and make the country a better place. According to him, Islam is a complete way of life and Qur’an is very important to all Muslims. He said if everybody works with the injunction of the Qur’an, there would be no corruption or any form of criminalities in the society.
“We must work with the Qur’an and Insha Allah as Muslims in this country we would continue to work with the Qur’an. We would continue to uphold Qur’anic injunctions and obey our leaders who Almighty Allah has placed on us,” he said. The state governor said he was convinced that Islam is a religion of peace which encourages tolerance and harmonious coexistence among all people of different beliefs. He urged the adherents of Islam and Christianity to follow the commandments of the two Holy Books and live peacefully with one another.
He said: “As a nation engaged in the battle against extremism, this programme will, among other initiatives, promote true understanding of the religion of Islam and help make our young people less vulnerable to beliefs that are not consistent with the teachings of the religion.