Leadership (Abuja)

27 January 2013

Nigeria: Insecurity - Cleric Calls for Regulatory Body On Religious Activities

Sheik Muhammad Khalid, the Chief Imam of the National Assembly Quarters' Mosque in Abuja, on Sunday called for the establishment of a body to regulate preaching and religious activities.

Khalid made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

He said that the establishment of the body would aid efforts to ensure the security of lives and property in the country.

"It is necessary to have a body that will check the activities of those who are not knowledgeable enough, while restraining them from propagating teachings that are capable of disturbing peaceful coexistence in the society.

"Let us have a body that will be on the lookout for those who are misleading people," he said.

Khalid urged that government to come up with modalities on how such a body would be set up, saying that it should have an absolute control over the activities of all the religious groups in the country.

"I support the idea of government establishing a regulatory body on religious activities in Nigeria," he added.

The chief imam noted that the issue of security in Nigeria has become a serious issue, which required the collective responsibilities of all Nigerians, regardless of their religious affiliation.

"As an Islamic scholar, I wish to advise all stakeholders, especially the government which has the duty of ensuring the security of lives and property, to look into ways possible ways of guaranteeing the safety of the citizens.

"I am not saying that government is not doing anything but its efforts will not be good enough until when the nation is adequately secured."

Khalid appealed to the government to initiate a dialogue with the Boko Haram group, while granting its members amnesty so as to restore peace and harmony in the country.

"I think it is important for the government to be sincere in starting a dialogue with the Boko Haram; it should also grant them amnesty in order to bring an end to this insurgency."

Khalid, however, urged the Boko Haram group to realise the devastating effects of its actions on the lives of the people, stressing that its actions had crippled socio-economic activities in some parts of the country.

"A lot of damage has been done to this nation. It is important for the group to note that they can achieve whatever they want through dialogue with the government," he said.

He urged religious leaders to ensure that their followers conduct themselves in a peaceful manner so as to engender the unity and progress of the country.

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