By Ola Ajayi
Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, and the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Akanbi, yesterday, cautioned Nigerians against making inflammatory statements that could ignite ethnoreligious crisis in the country.
The monarchs gave the warning during the visit of Oba Akanbi to the Alaafin’s palace, in Oyo.
Asking those stoking ethno-religious crises to have a retrospective look at the past, the monarchs advised that anything that could fan the embers of discord should be avoided.
They said: “Nigerians must exercise restraints; they must bear in mind Nigeria’s long history of ethno-religious conflicts, as people use this type of deep-seated animosity in their speech precisely because of the culture of impunity which reigns in the country.”
“What is more, hate speech is an agent provocateur and precursor to insecurity anywhere in the world. In a multi-cultural country like Nigeria with different diverse ethnic settings, inflammatory statements are very sensitive that if not contained, could lead to war.”
To the two traditional rulers, the government is saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property and should do everything in its power to apprehend and prosecute criminals and bandits who unleash terror on innocent and defenceless citizens.
“As citizens, let us bury our differences, embrace peace, live in harmony and shun hate comments which have been contributing to increased tension in Nigeria.”
Acknowledging growing concerns about insecurity in the country, they called on traditional rulers, security agencies and government to work together for the safety of their people, they noted, “as custodians of traditions and values, we are the ones who keep peace in our rural areas and in the various local governments that constitute our various states.”
“As Nigerians, we must respect our various religious and ethnic backgrounds, because it is God that brought us together under one country. Thus, when we understand one another, the security challenges bedevilling the country will be a thing of the past”, they said.