The Sultan Of Sokoto and president general, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday cautioned religious fanatics against killing their fellow human in the name of God.
Sultan, who spoke while receiving Catholic Bishops of Nigeria in his palace, warned that Nigerians must stop hiding under the covers of religion to perpetuate evils.
“We must tell ourselves the truth and speak the truth. Everything is not okay in Nigeria. Let’s stop hiding under religion, ethnicity or region.
“There are so many leaders that use religion to better their lives. But we must remember that as leaders, we must work for peace.
“We must also educate our followers that despite the challenges, we belong to one God Almighty but choose to worship God in different ways”.
The Sultan, who expressed fear over 2019 general election, considering how politicians are fond of using children of the poor and downtrodden to cause havoc and achieve their selfish goals, appealed to all religious leaders to collectively come together and preach against violence before, during and after the elections.
To the politicians, Sultan appealed to them to stop using the children of the down trodden and poor masses of the society as machinery for spitting political fire.
The religious cum traditional leader, who frowned at all those killing innocent people in the name of religion, wondered where they got their own concept and interpretation of the religion.
According to him, those killing others in anticipation of getting heavenly rewards are simply deceiving themselves.
“God does not create you to fight for Him. Let’s prove to people that something is wrong somewhere. I know we have problems in Nigeria. Let’s not deceive ourselves.
“People have wrong notion of Jihad. You cannot kill people, pretending you are fighting for God. You are simply deceiving yourself. Jihad does not entail that.
He admonished adherents of the two major religions in Nigeria to strive towards reclaiming their religion from abuse by those whose mission is to use it for negativity, and also appealed to Nigerians not to use mistakes of few bad eggs and generalise.
“There is no fight between Christianity and Islam, but maybe disagreement between Muslims and Christians. We must try to fish out extremists in our midst, though; you cannot completely fish out bad eggs from the society. We should continue in doing our part to ensure a peaceful country.
“No society has 100 per cent saints. We have our problems and challenges, but we should collectively try and overcome them. As leaders, we must try and work for peace. There is no problem in this world that defies solution unless we are not honest, if not, we will overcome the problems.
“We should however look at the too many things that bind us together and try to take our religion back from the enemies who are bent on using it to commit crimes”.
Talking about 2019 and the recent gale of defections in the nation’s politics, Sultan urges politicians to play the game with decorum.
“Politics is a choice, like religion, therefore, let’s not fight each other because of defections.
“If we do not work very well on our followers, there will be problems because religion, ethnicity and lots of other issues will be used by these politicians”.
Earlier, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, led by their national president, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, said they have high respect for Sultan and his leadership because of the numerous roles he is playing on interfaith peace.
On his part, Cardinal Onayikon, said all mortals must surely give account of their lives here on earth in the hereafter, hence, the need to live a pious life.
He also appealed to other religious leaders to join Sultan in entrenching peaceful coexistence saying, “If we cannot get peace amongst religious leaders, how can we get peace amongst the people?”
The host bishop, Catholic Dioceses of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, said Sultan and the Sultanate Council have continued to be a place of warm reception for people of other faiths at all times.