By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The umbrella body of Muslims across the six South West states in Nigeria, the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria ((MUSWEN), on Friday asked religious and political leaders in the country to preach peace and not violence as the 2019 general elections are fast approaching.
Addressing newsmen in Ibadan at a special press conference on the 10th anniversary of the body,
MUSWEN Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, Professor Daud Noibi said there is the need for both Christian and Islamic religion leaders in Nigeria to be mindful of their utterances .
Specifically, MUSWEN emphasized that religious and political leaders in Nigeria should be conscious of the kind of statements they make prior and during the general elections .
“Leaders in various segments of the society are to preach and demonstrate peace; they are not to spread falsehood or promote hatred as, disappointingly, some Christian elders have done. Indeed, there is no more appropriate time for leaders to be mindful of their utterances than this trying period in our nation’s history” he said
According to MUSWEN, “there is no other time for leaders; be it religious, political or ethnic to be mindful of their utterances than now, when the elections are drawing nearer.” hence the need for Nigerians to continue to live in peace with one another,
Speaking further, Professor Noibi who called on Muslim aspirants to distinguish themselves as men and women of ” unblemished character and be ready to serve the nation and shun all forms of corruption.” lamented that MUSWEN has witnessed a deliberate attempt being made by some people to create dichotomy among Nigerians along ethnic and religious lines, advised Nigerian Christians and that Muslims should not succumb to fear-mongering, intimidation, falsehood and hate speeches but live in peace with one another.
“We have witnessed a deliberate attempt being made by some Christian leaders to openly create dichotomy among Nigerian people along ethnic and religious lines. We are worried about the possible effects of this dangerous politicisation of religion and ethnicity by such elders in a plural society like Nigeria. As Muslims, we believe that our plurality as a nation is the product of divine wisdom and that nothing can change this. Similarly, while some Christian elders hide under the guise of religion to pursue narrow ethnic and political agenda, some pan-Yoruba socio-politocal groups hide under the guise of ethnicity to pursue their anti-Muslim agenda”.
Emphasizing that Nigerians regardless of religion should continue to live in peace before and after the elections, Professor Noibi said, “while MUSWEN remains committed to peaceful co-existence among the diverse people of Nigeria and to the sanctity of the 1999 constitution as amended, we hereby appeal to the peace-loving people of Nigeria, especially Muslims and Christians, not to succumb to fear-mongering, intimidation, falsehood and hate speeches. Rather, we should remain at peace with one another despite our religious and ethnic differences, and as law-abiding citizens.