.Sa’ad Abubakar

Task on peace

.Sue for resolution over FG, ASUU face-off

By Olasunkanmi Akoni

As political campaigns for the 2023 general polls commence on Wednesday, across the country, the Federal Government, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Sultan of Sokoto and leader of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, Mohammed Abubakar and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Daniel Okoh, have called on religious leaders and other Nigerians to guard utterances that are capable of causing a crisis in the country.

They charged Nigerians, irrespective of region, and religious and ethnic differences to work together for peace and justice in the country.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who represented the FG, along with others, made the call on Monday, at the Third Quarter Meeting 2022 of the Nigeria Inter-Religion Council, NIREC, held on Victoria Island, Lagos.

They stressed that the call was necessary as a ban on political campaigns will commence on Wednesday.

The event was themed: “Working together for Justice and Peace.” 

Boss Mustapha, represented by Dr Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri at the occasion, charged the religious leaders to work for peace and unity of the country.

He said the meeting was a call to national duty to take an active part in renewing troubled communities.

“There is the need for people to work for justice, peace and fair play to create the needed change towards promoting unity, peace and harmony in Nigeria.”

Sanwo-Olu in his address urged religious and traditional leaders to continue making it a collective responsibility to preach and work towards promoting unity, peace, justice and tranquillity in Nigeria.

Speaking on the theme, Sanwo-Olu said promoting unity, peace, justice and tranquillity in Nigeria will bring about a peaceful coexistence among the people. 

“I believe with the case of NIREC that we have today and that we have seen consistently, this country will not be put to shame. I am hoping that the conversations, discussions and decisions at the NIREC meeting will further strengthen that thing that we all swore to; to ensure justice, peace and equity in this country.

“We are at a time this country needs all of us, now more than ever before and so, we should not allow hate speech. We cannot afford ethnic bigotry. We cannot afford to be divided. We are going into elections; let us see the commitment and nationality in all of us,” he urged Nigerians.   

Sanwo-Olu also expressed his administration’s commitment to the delivery of dividends of democracy in Lagos State. “As a political leader, the only way we will not fail our people is by ensuring that we give good governance. I stand here as your 15th Governor of Lagos State and I want to repeat that the ‘Greater Lagos’ agenda is something that we are committed to and it is something that we have signed unto.”

On the ongoing Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, strike and the union face-off with FG, Sanwo-Olu said “though none of the Lagos State-owned three universities are on strike, it is painful that children in other universities are at home in the last seven months.”

The governor, who appealed that ASUU should call off the strike and get the students back to school, said the academic union and the Federal Government should quickly resolve the lingering issue necessitating the over seven months strike “in order not to compromise the future of our children.”

Co-Chairman of NIREC,  Abubakar, said the role of religious leaders is to be just and fair to earn the trust of the people.

He urged Muslims and Christians in the country to come together to pursue peace and justice noting that they are inseparable.

Abubakar also pleaded with ASUU to obey the court’s order by calling off the ongoing strike.

He urged both the government and ASUU to consider the future of Nigerian youths and resolved the issue in the interest of the youths.

Abubakar revealed different attempts made by NIREC to resolve the ongoing faceoff between ASUU and the government before the issue eventually ended in court but promised that the organisation will not give up in order to make sure that the parties reach an amicable settlement.

He said the meeting was coming on the heels of the lifting of the ban on political activities in Nigeria and based on the importance of religion and the platform,  the theme for the meeting was apt to share notes as well as discuss issues as there was a need to fight the course of justice and peace.

The Sultan of Sokoto, a Co-Chairman of NIREC, said the role of religious leaders is to be just and fair to earn the trust of the people.

He also urged Muslims and Christians in the country to come together to pursue peace and justice as they are inseparable.

He pleaded with ASUU to call off the ongoing strike, saying both the Federal Government and academic union should find a common ground to resolve their conflict in the interest of the students, who have not been in school in the last seven months.

Okoh, urged people to embrace peace, desist from hateful utterances, live in peaceful coexistence with one another, be accountable, elect leaders with capacities during the 2023 general elections and abhor tribal sentiments, among other vices.

In his speech, the Executive Secretary of NIREC, Cornelius Omonokhua, said the meeting was aimed at changing existing narratives to allow justice and peace to reign in Nigeria.

He said there was a need for mental reengineering, change of values and attitudes as well as radical emancipation to address the root of various calamities of national concerns.

Also speaking, the Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, called on religious leaders to continue to preach peace and unity to bring about development in the country.

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