The Minister of Interior, Lt Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (Rtd) has called on all well-meaning Nigerians not to allow themselves to be dragged into religious conflicts. He observed this has become necessary following insinuations that the criminal violence in Southern Kaduna has some religious interpretation.
The Minister’s advice is coming on the heels of violence in some parts of the North, especially Kaduna which has recently witnessed some killings in the Southern part.
Dambazau said there are people who are 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.
The Minister posited that true religious leaders do not fan the embers of hate, but ensure that communities live in peace and harmony. 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, 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 honoring 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 Christian and Muslim communities alike.
Dambazau said the Police have been tasked to ensure the sustenance of law and order, and to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in criminal activities.