The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, on Saturday blamed the killings in Southern Kaduna on reckless statements made by some religious leaders.
In a statement, the governor said this when the National Chairman of Jama’atul Izalatul Bid’ah wa Iqamatul Sunnah, Sheikh Abdullahi Lau, and other Izala leaders paid him a visit on Saturday.
Addressing journalists, El-Rufai disclosed that the Izala leaders came to be briefed on the security situation in the state and that they received briefings from the Commissioner of Internal Security as well as the Deputy Governor.
El-Rufai said, “We also solicited their support and prayers to see the end of this crisis because we are of the strong view that at the bottom of this crisis are the reckless statements of some religious leaders.
“If religious leaders decide firmly that people should live in peace and preach that consistently, it will lead to peaceful coexistence in our state.”
He maintained that the root of the crisis in Southern Kaduna lies in differences in religion and ethnicity, and that religious leaders can play a very unifying or divisive role.
“What we have witnessed in the last few years is that they have been playing a more divisive than a unifying role. Without peace and harmony, you cannot even practise your religion. Religious leaders have a great role to play and value to add for the peaceful coexistence in Nigeria”, he said.
On another note, the youth wing of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union, in a press conference on Saturday, insisted that the state authorities must apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators and sponsors of the killings in the southern part of the state for peace to reign. The group said more should be done in rehabilitating, reintegrating victims as well as rebuilding the communities affected by the attacks by suspected militia Fulani herdsmen.