The Kaduna State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI), have called on the state government and security agencies to arrest and prosecute those responsible for the attacks in the southern part of the state.
The groups also appealed to citizens in the state not to engage in any form of reprisal attacks as doing so would only worsen the situation.
They made their positions known during a peace advocacy visit to their offices by officials of the state government.
In his remarks, the Secretary General of CAN in Kaduna state, Sunday Ibrahim, asked the state and federal governments to prosecute whoever is involved in the crisis, and urge Christians to ignore those pushing them to carry out reprisal attacks.
He advised the people of the southern Kaduna not allow their territory to be turned into another theatre of war, which he says is just like what is happening in the North East.
“Without peace there will be no meaningful development in any society. I believe one day it will be history, I believe this government will prosecute whoever is involved and the perpetrators should face the full wrath of the law.”
The state JNI Secretary, Ibrahim Kufaina, on the other hand, urged all religious leaders to preach support for the ongoing effort to restore security in southern Kaduna by preaching peace and religious tolerance to their followers.
Mr Kufaina urged religious leaders to stop heating up the polity with hate messages and to rather engage in preaching reconciliation, peaceful coexistence and forgiveness.
“It is our duty to preach peace and according to our religion, any true Muslim will not engage in crisis or killing of a fellow human being.
“We read about some religious leaders giving out figures of victims, but we didn’t give figures to the press because it may create further crisis and tension,” he said.
A former Spokesman to the State Government, Ahmad Maiyaki, also emphasized the importance of peace to the development of the state.
He also called for the review of the penal code to provide severe punishment to perpetrators of such crisis, to deter others with similar intent.
“Any religious leader preaching hate and division is not representing his followers, but he is representing the Devil.
“The persistent crisis in Kaduna state which started before this government has slowed the development of the state.
“Looking at the heterogeneous nature of people, they look at religious leaders for guidance, as such clerics should preach peaceful co-existence.”
He also appealed to politicians to stop making capital out of such crisis, as it was the people that become the greatest losers.
In his comment, spokesman to the Kaduna state government, Samuel Aruwan appeals to religious leaders to support the ongoing effort by government in ensuring that peace and security return to southern Kaduna.
“The government will continue to engage traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, as well as other critical stakeholder in the search for lasting peace in southern Kaduna and all parts of the state.
“We are here on a peace advocacy visit to CAN and JNI, and to also appreciate our religious bodies in Kaduna state for the roles they are playing to end this crisis.
“We hold religious bodies in high esteem and we appreciate their role in peace building and to ask them to do more for our people to live in peace.”
The killings in Southern Kaduna has continued to attract reactions within and outside Nigeria.
There is therefore hope that advocacy meetings such as this one, will perhaps give room for the religious leaders to talk to their people on the need for all of them to drop their arms and embrace peace