By Aniefiok Macauley Correspondent Uyo
The leadership of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (IREC) has expressed its dismay over religious preachers who preach and promote hate and violence and called on the Federal Government to identify and prosecute them.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a three-day meeting of the council in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital.
The communiqué, which was signed by NIREC Co-chairmen, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto, and Pastor Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), described as worrisome the spate of violence and loss of property in the country.
According to NIREC, “the persistent loss of lives and property occasioned by acts of terrorism, pipeline vandalism, communal strife, religious intolerance, kidnapping, rape and armed robbery among others in several parts of the country have become very worrisome”.
The communiqué stated: The act of terrorism and its attendant problems have assumed frightening dimension, threatening the cordial relationship between two main religions in the country, thereby working against national unity and cohesion.
”NIREC condemns very strongly the orgies of terrorism, violence and vandalism that have permeated the country and calls on the perpetrators to desist from their evil deeds”.
While appealing to Muslim and Christian religious and traditional leaders to make concerted efforts to reach out and discourage their followers from intolerance, NIREC challenged the Federal Government to exhibit the political will to tackle all forms of security issues using its relevant agencies.
The council, which called on government and private sector to create more jobs for the teeming youth to reduce poverty, urged President Jonathan’s led government to expedite action on power generation to ensure employment of Nigerians and economic development of the country.
The body argued that since the outbreak of political violence is strongly associated with poverty, underdevelopment and maldistribution of resources, there was need for the Federal Government to focus on designing and implementing pro-poor policies.
It urged the government to develop an inclusive framework that integrates the poor and the vulnerable into the process of decision making to discourage terrorism.