Chris Steven, Abuja
As condemnation continues to trail the killings in Southern Kaduna, the Minister of the Interior, Lt Gen (Rtd) Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau has called on Nigerians not to allow themselves to be dragged into religious conflicts as a result of the crisis.
Dambazau in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by his Press Secretary, Ehisienmen Osaigbovo said this caution became necessary following insinuations that the criminal violence in Southern has some religious interpretation.
He said there are people who are always looking for ways to further create division along religious or ethnic fault lines for their selfish interest, with the aim of creating instability in the nation’s internal security.
The Minister posited that true religious leaders do not fan the embers of hate, but ensure that communities live in peace and harmony.
He maintained that economic growth and development will remain a mirage for Nigeria; with over 500 ethnic groups and multiple religions, unless Nigerians resolve to live amicably as a people with common destiny.
Dambazau said criminals who perpetrate violence against innocent, law-abiding citizens do not discriminate along religious and ethnic lines, citing examples of how communities in Zamfara, Katsina, Taraba, Enugu, Lagos and Niger were victimized by those violent criminals.
He noted that a criminal should be treated as such, whether he is involved in armed robbery, drug trafficking, homicides or Cattle rustling, and that people should avoid honoring criminals with religious or ethnic attachment.
While advising opinion and religious leaders to refrain from giving the crisis between herdsmen and sedentary farmers in Southern Kaduna a religious connotation, he said attention should be focused on the real enemies of the society, who illegally acquire weapons to terrorize Christians and Muslims communities alike.