Kaduna – Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to resuscitate the Nigerian Inter-religious Council (NIREC) to promote inter-faith harmony and unity in the country.
The Emir made the call when he led a team of traditional rulers from the North-West Zone to receive President Goodluck Jonathan at the Hassan Katsina House in Kaduna.
The President was in Kaduna for the PDP North West Zone unity rally.
The Emir noted that the unity of the country could best be promoted if more attention was given to the security of lives and property, of which NIREC could play significant roles.
“I want to make a passionate appeal to the government to resurcitate the Nigerian Inter-religious Council at the national level.
“After this, there should be the establishment of branches of NIREC in all the 36 states of the federation,” he said.
NIREC is a body established by the federal government in 1999 to address the incessant ethno-religious crises which punctuated the sociopolitical landscape of the country.
The Council, is a permanent and an independent body established to provide religious leaders and traditional rulers a platform for interaction and building understanding among them and with their followers.
It is also charged with the responsibility of laying the foundation for sustainable peace and religious harmony in Nigeria.
The Emir said that the visit of the President, though brief, would go a long way in sustaining democratic governance.
He assured that the traditional institution, particularly from the zone, would continue to support the government.
“We will support every government of the day towards achieving sustainable peace which include security of lives and property,” he said.
Idris urged the government to show more commitment to boosting economic development through provision of agriculture extension services, poverty alleviation and healthcare.
“The government should continue with its programmes on poverty alleviation in urban and rural areas as well as the creation of more vocational training centres to enable people to be self reliant.”
President Jonathan thanked the Emirs for leaving their palaces to receive him and his entourage at the Government House.
He commended them for their support in ending the crisis in the state.
“Kaduna State is a very tough state which you know more than me.
“Ordinarily, Kaduna would have been one of these states converted to Lake of fire but for your cooperation with the government.
“Yes, we are having challenges, but we will overcome them,” he said.
The President told the traditional rulers that the PDP unity rally was not a campaign, but efforts by the party to reconcile its members.
“As a PDP family we are going from zone to zone to have unity rally. Elections are coming up next year and we will soon go into elections and politics is a game of interest
“We believe that before we start our electioneering activities we need to come together, hold ourselves, shake ourselves before we go to electioneering campaign.
“When we move to the next level, we will still come for your blessings,” he said.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, said that the President had delivered on his promise to the people of the zone.
Specifically, Sambo mentioned a 215 megawatts power project which would be completed and inaugurated in November.
He said more than N10 billion was approved by the federal government for the Great Green Wall project to address the challenges of desert encroachment in the region.
Sambo added that the rail line from Abuja to Kaduna was 70 per cent complete and the Kaduna to Kano project was in progress.
The Vice President said series of irrigation, roads and other projects on infrastructure had been delivered by the administration.
NAN reports that the Emirs presented a horse to the President.
Present at the meeting were Governors Mukhtar Yero; Kaduna, Sule Lamido; Jigawa, Ibrahim Shema; Katsina, Ibrahim Dankwambo; Gombe, Sa’idu Dakingari; Kebbi, Theodore Orji; Abia and the Deputy Governor of Sokoto, Mukhtar Shagari.
The PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, the Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Chief Tony Anenih, former Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadome were also at the event. (NAN)