Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, has called on religious leaders in Nigeria to appeal to those agitating for the republic of Biafra to let peace reign in the region.
Vanguard reports that the minister made the call at the Peace Conversation with religious leaders organized by the National Orientation Agency on Wednesday, December 9, in Abuja.
He also urged them to de-radicalise those who had been exposed to violent religion views and terrorize Nigerians.
“You, our revered religious leaders, have a great role to play in this respect. Top on the list of these roles is the need to de-radicalize those who have been exposed to extremist and violent view of religion, especially in the north-east.
“It is important for you, our religious leaders, to highlight the pristine and unadulterated version of the two dominant religious faith, Christianity and Islam, to remind all the adherents of both faith that nowhere did any of them preach hatred and violence,” he said.
According to the minister, the agitation for Biafra is legitimate, but activists should take appropriate channel to ventilate their grievance and discontent.
He stressed that the government should address the issues, noting that religious leaders might serve as appealing voice to aggrieved people.
“At a time of agitations in some parts of the country by persons who believe their interests have not been well catered for in the federation over the years, our religious leaders can serve as an appealing voice to these aggrieved citizens.
“They can help them understand that while they have the right to ventilate their discontent, there is the need to do so using only the appropriate and established channels while allowing the government time to address the issues they raise without constituting themselves as a threat to the peace of their neighbor,” he said.
Speaking about the on-going war against the Boko Haram sect, Mohammed stressed that the government is determined to end the insurgency and called for cooperation of all Nigerians to achieve their common goal – peace.
“The military is doing their best to restore peace to the affected communities. What is missing, however, is the civilian component of the war in the form of support from all Nigerians for the military in their efforts to decimate the remnants of the insurgents.
“Our religious leaders have a great role to play in this respect. That is why we will be calling on them in the days ahead to be part of the integrated efforts to rally people of all faith and from all walks of life to support the war effort,” he added.
Meanwhile, the United Nigerian Chaplaincy has announced that it is capable of stopping pro-Biafran protests in the south east and any other violent protest taking place in Nigeria.
According to the group, it can achieve this by integrating various dominant religious groups in the country.