The Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has cleared the air over suspicion of a grand plan to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state.
The Sultan stated categorically that it is not possible for a multi-religious nation like Nigeria to either be Islamised or Christianised.
He stated this on Friday in Kaduna at the inauguration of the office of the International Centre for Inter-Faith Peace and Harmony.
According to Sultan Abubakar, who is also a co-chairman of the centre, no country survives religious war, hence, Christians and Muslims in Nigeria must imbibe the culture of peaceful co-existence.
He said ethnic and religious crises in the country should become a thing of the past, adding that “no country survives war or war stimulated by religious intolerance.”
Noting that the practice of religion should be voluntary and not by force, he said: “We have seen countries where people are killing one another, obviously, there can be no peace in such countries. Killing is not part of the teachings of the holy book.”
He called on Christians and Muslims across the world to desist from making comments that anybody is out to islamise Nigeria.
“Nigeria has a Muslim president and before him was a Christian president. We must see ourselves as one big family. Without that, we cannot have peace. It is not possible to islamise Nigeria; if God had wanted, He would have created all Christians or all Muslims. We are not secular but a multi-religious state because the people are so religious. We must respect one another and understand the tenets of the two religions,” he stressed.
Similarly, the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, decried the series of crises that had erupted in the state, lamenting that the state had been divided along religious line.
He stated that religion was no longer a matter of life after death but business; adding that those who operate the religious business make money by promoting division.
“We must de-emphasise our differences and promote peace,” he stated.