The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has warned religious leaders not to link the incessant killings being perpetrated by herdsmen in some of the country to any religion or ethnic cleansing.
He warned that Muslim Governors should not be forced to declare Sharia law in their states, recalling that such happened during Obasanjo’s regime.
Osinbajo said that doing so might lead to another civil war in the country.
He spoke at the weekend in Osogbo, Osun State at the opening of greater Nigeria Pastors’ Conference held in Osogbo said that both Christians and Muslim’s were affected in the killings in the states being attacked by the herdsmen.
Professor Osinbajo said: “On the killing by herdsmen, we must not allow narratives, being said about it to survive. We have to handle it carefully, we may put the country in a civil war if care is not taken.
“When former President Obasanjo was in office, almost 12 states declared Sharia law. What did Obasanjo do about it. He could not have done more that he did. Many of the governors of those states then were Muslims.
“Can you imagine if 12 states governors declare Sharia law now that we have a president, who is a Muslim. We must put everything going on in the country in context. I am in a position of getting some information that many are not privileged to get.”
“Our country can only be governed by the wisdom of God. We must deal with all issues with great care,” he stressed.
“There is a big challenge. Sometimes, it is not always as it seems. When I went to Benue, I mentioned to them that any attack on churches is sacrilegious and it should be condemned. I was probably one of the few persons that spoke about it. Let’s put it in a context, we must not assume this is an isolated case.
“Deeper life Church was attacked in the North in 2014 and 17 people were killed. Whatever is happening, we must take a broader look at it. As pastors, when mosques are attacked, we must also speak up. It is good that we must also speak up,” he counselled.
Commenting on appointment of top security chiefs made by President Buhari, the Vice President said “I agree fully as far as security issues goes, we should have a broader approach. There is no reason why there should not be a review. The President had said he would address it.
“In River Benue, virtually all the cattle want to go in there for water. In Taraba, the killer herdsmen and farmers they attacked are Muslims. It is not entirely fair to say that they are targeting Christians.
“Any herder found with weapon must be arrested. In the last few months, we have sent special forces to Benue and and Taraba. There is greats determination to end the killings and hold accountable anybody arrested.
“Benue is largely Christians and Zamfara is largely Muslims. I want us to understand persecution as we see it. The response time is slow even when we deploy the security for emergency situation. That is why community policing is important.”
Speaking on why Leah Shuaibu,the kidnapped Dapchi Girl has not been released, Professor Osinbajo explained that “there were two factions of Boko Haram. The one led by Shekau and the other group.
“When they were kidnapped, we have to negotiate on all platforms, both local and international to ensure their release.
“The same government brought back 120 Chibok girls, mostly Christians by a president that is a Muslim. The rescued girls are now in American school, in Abuja. We are negotiating daily for about 80 Chibok girls still in captivity. I am constantly in touch with the negotiations.”
Commenting on Loans (Sukuk) taken by the Federal government from Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Vice President said, “We should take whatever loans available.
“There is no stringent conditions attached to the loans. We are using the loans to build 25 roads. We also borrow from the Chinese. It is confessional loans and the payment period is longer, about 20 to 25 years. The lending rate is 2 per cent.”