By Kemi Kasumu
The Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma has noted that the visit of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, to Enugu has allayed fears among the Igbo and fostered unity between the Christians and the Muslims.
He added that the Sultan took time to explain certain issues to leaders of both the Christian and Muslim community bordering on security, peace and national unity, emphasizing that they understood themselves after the dialogue.
His Eminence Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), among other dignitaries, had visited Enugu State on December 19, 2016 to honour Enugu Rangers International Football Club for their recent victory in Nigeria Premiership League, himself being a staunch fan of the club.
During his visit, which also saw him inaugurating some projects at the instance of the Enugu State Government, the Sarkin Mu’mineen of Nigeria preached for religious tolerance across regions in Nigeria.
“Father Mbaka said that with the Sultan’s speech, he had changed his perceptions of Nigeria and religious differences. He said: “We were biased unnecessarily, we were fighting unnecessarily. Sultan has come to build a bridge. Your coming here has succeeded in quenching a looming war. Your coming represents peace and unity.”
Joined by the fiery Catholic Priest of Adoration Ministries, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka at the reception organised by Enugu State Government in honour of the victorious Rangers, the monarch cum religious leader, Sultan Abubakar, said that Islam does not permit anybody to kill in the name of religion, maintaining that anybody who kills in the name of religion should be held as a criminal and treated as such.
He also told the large crowd at the reception that President Muhammadu Buhari was misunderstood to be biased about some sections of the country, noting that his interaction with the President never portrayed him as a religious or ethnic bigot.
The Sultan during the visit had said that, “If anybody commits any crime, he should be given his real name. It is not possible that Fulani who have lived here for so long can take up arms against their hosts. Branding them terrorists will not solve the problem. If you kill, you will be killed, anybody that kills in the name of religion is a criminal. The solution for us is to come together as one people. Any Fulani that kills will not go free. More Muslims have even died in this cause.”
Ventilating his satisfaction, Father Mbaka said that with the Sultan’s speech, he had changed his perceptions of Nigeria and religious differences.
He said: “We were biased unnecessarily, we were fighting unnecessarily. Sultan has come to build a bridge. Your coming here has succeeded in quenching a looming war. Your coming represents peace and unity.”
Joining in appreciating the leadership quality of the Sultan and his ability to unite and solve many issues capable of causing troubles among Nigerians, the Anglican senior priest, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, speaking at the New Year prayer session to mark the official resumption of work at the Government House, Enugu said with the Sultan’s speech, peace and unity have restored among people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds in the country.
The Archbishop spoke even as he commended the Enugu State Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for sustaining the New Year prayer and urged him not to be afraid to take tough decisions so long they would be in the overall interest of the people.