The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar III, has lamented the hardship being faced by Nigerians, noting that hunger was killing the people more than the dreaded coronavirus.
The monarch said this in Abuja on Thursday during the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council meeting attended by the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha.
Speaking on the theme of the parley, ‘Together, we can grow peace for the Nation,’ the Sultan warned that “no individual or religion would be spared should the country be torn apart.”
He stated, “There is a very serious virus that is killing people much higher than coronavirus. That virus is hunger; there is hunger virus and it’s very serious. You need to go round the country into the villages, into the towns and see how people are really struggling to survive.”
The Sultan, who is the Co-Chairman of NIREC, insisted that there was no such thing as persecution of Christians in Nigeria as alleged by the Christian Association of Nigeria and other Christian bodies, noting that Nigerian Muslims were equally being killed in large numbers by terrorists and bandits.
Stating that every life was sacred, Abubakar, who is the President-General of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, urged aggrieved parties denied rights to build mosques or churches in some locations as the case may be, to approach relevant authorities to solve the problem rather than attribute such actions to persecution.
“For me, there is no persecution of anybody in this country because if you say there is persecution of Christians, there is also persecution of Muslims but that will not solve the problem.”
Abubakar knocked the CAN leadership, stressing that there was unity and commitment to address the nation’s challenges when Cardinal John Onaiyekan was the President of the Christian body.
The CAN President and Co-Chairman of NIREC, Rev Samson Ayokunle, stressed the need for Nigerians to retrace their steps back to God “if the issues bedevilling the country must be solved.”
Represented by the President, Organisation of African Instituted Church, Napo Emuchay, he said, “The way out is for us to go back to contrition; we have to change from a life of sin to righteousness, so let’s come back to God in contrition. If we forsake wickedness in its entirety, our nation will be saved.”
The SGF in his remarks cautioned religious leaders to “desist from propagating narratives capable of plunging the nation into a major crisis that would further tear the country aart.”