This Day (Lagos)

9 September 2007

Nigeria: Sultan, Can Laud Govt Over Security Policy

Dutse — Sultan of Sokoto and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar III, and the national leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have commended Jigawa State Government's initiative in preparing a law which would take care of the physically challenged in the state.

They gave the commendation in Dutse at the formal signing of the Social Security Bill into law by Governor Sule Lamido. In his remarks before the bill was signed, the Sultan praised Lamido for his foresight and described the event as a groundbreaking occasion in the annals of governance in the country.

"This is neither a political rally nor a social gathering. It is a wake up call for all leaders whether they are religious, traditional or political leaders to rise up to the challenge of taking full care of the people they lead", the Sultan said.

The Sultan expressed optimism that the policy would eradicate poverty in the land and restore the dignity of the ordinary man as well as restore their basic human rights. He said the law is in the right direction as "Islam makes it incumbent upon leaders to show love and mercy to their subjects.

In Islam, leadership is a trust which must be fulfilled with all seriousness."

He then called on the Federal Government and other states to take a cue from Jigawa State and put policies in place to take care of people with special needs.

Speaking in the same vein, the Engineer Samuel L Salifu, the National Secretary of CAN, lauded the programme as a way of putting into practice, the teachings of the two main religions of Christianity and Islam. He said Lamido's initiative is a "redefinition of democracy. If democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people, then this policy is a practical way of defining the concept."

Salifu also congratulated the government and people of the state for taking the right step at the right time and in the right direction. He advised Muslims and Christians in the state to continue to live in peaceful harmony to make the state a great one in the comity of states.

Before signing the bill, Lamido explained that the bill was part of the administration's commitment to "confronting historical nightmares of the talakawa of Nigeria ."

He noted that the bill was necessary because the confrontation "must begin by getting the concept right."

Tracing the history of the 'talakawa nightmares' to the late 1950s, he stressed that the signing "must draw our attention to the imperative of a greater sense of urgency to the resolution of the crisis of poverty using state power." He then declared that the goal of such a policy should be "towards a society in which absolutely no one watches his or her child die of preventable diseases."

The bill which is the first to be signed into law by the new administration is also the first such bill dedicated to social security of people with special needs in the country. The ceremony was witnessed by Muslim and Christian as well as traditional and political leaders from all over the country. Even if it was not planned as such, it served as a befitting climax of the government's first hundred days

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