Written by Abbas Jimoh

Former Head of States and chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC), retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has advised religious leaders to stay out of politics to maintain their integrity.

He gave the advice today in Abuja at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (AMJ) Nigeria’s maiden National Peace Symposium themed: “Religion, Peace and National Unity” and the 4th Northern Region Jalsa Tarbiya.

He was represented by the National Chairman of the National Conscience Party (NCP) and chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Dr. Yunusa Tanko, who also received the National Peace Award bestowed on him by the National Amir (President) of the AMJ Nigeria, Dr. Mashhud Adenrele Fashola at the event.

“Religious leaders should stay away from politics and politicking as they are known to be revered people from the alter in order to maintain their integrity but can as well challenge any perceived misdemeanor in the polity. The religious leaders should run away from any message that may lead to disharmony and misunderstanding,” Abubakar said.

He quoted several passages in the Qur’an and Bible that denounce violence and promote peace in all place and at all times, adding that if the people continue to preach such messages, there would have been little work to do in uniting the people towards peace and unity of the country.

He said: “The major concern of the local and international community was the fear of violence before, during and after the elections. This brings us to the important role our faith based organizations have to play considering the fact that, Nigerians listen to sermons from the Imams and Pastors dished out from the alter. Interestingly, none of the religions preaches hate, or violence.”

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