General Abubakar Abdulsalami (Rtd), Former Military head of state; the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar; Catholic Bishops of Abuja and Sokoto state, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, held a closed door meeting with Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai over killings in Southern Kaduna.
The elder statesman and religious leaders said it was part of efforts by the National Peace Committee to tackle the incessant attacks in the Southern part of Kaduna State.
Speaking shortly after the meeting with governor El-Rufai, General Abdulsalam said, “We are here due to the recent happenings in Southern Kaduna.
“From here, we are going to meet with other stakeholders, religious leaders, the Chiefs in the area and also visit the sites where these problems are happening and discuss with the people. After which we will sit down and see what we think should be done.
“We will come back to the governor, and if necessary, we will meet the federal government. Considering that these clashes and killings are not only limited to Kaduna state, it is something that is engulfing the country.
“So we want to make sure that peace reigns in Nigeria. We want to make sure that people know that we are together, we have to live in peace with each other and we have what it takes to give and take. We are in a situation in the country where human lives doesn’t mean anything to people and this is wrong,” Abdulsalam said.
He added, “There is no religion on earth or anywhere that preaches violence. So this is why we are here today. We thank the governor and his team for receiving us. One of the points that the governor drew our attention to is the way people take law into their hands and they go scot free. And this impunity must be checked. These are some of the issues we discussed.
“Everybody is aggrieved in one way or the other, so we want to prevail on the people to be patient, try as much as possible to forgive and to be each other’s keeper. We must live together, we must to find solution to the problems to sit down and talk to ourselves because there is no problem that cannot be solved when you are talking to each other.”
On his part, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, disclosed that the visit was more of a solidarity with the people of Kaduna State.
According to him, the National Peace Committee members were in Kaduna to get first hand information about what exactly is happening and what they can do to find a way forward.
“What we are doing now is trying to bring about peace. We are looking at how we can achieve peace and stability. I think what the people of Kaduna State, including the government should be doing now is to look into how we can achieve peace and development and I think that is the reason we have democracy.
“So whatever contributions anybody can make, we need to make it now, though some other people have expressed their views.
“What is going on now in Kaduna is a very sad phase in our history, but I believe that we can get over it. We will get over it and come out much more stronger and committed to peace,” Kukah said.