The Emir of Zauzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris has called on the Federal Government to resuscitate the Nigerian Inter-religious Council (NIREC) to promote unity and progress of the nation.
Idris made the call on Tuesday, when President Goodluck Jonathan held a meeting with traditional rulers from Kaduna State shortly before attending the zonal unity rally of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which held in the state.
The President landed at the Kaduna Airport by 10am and he proceeded to General Hassan Usman Kstsina House where he met with the Emirs.
Idris who is the head of the monarchs, while speaking at the meeting noted that the unity of the country would best be promoted if more attention is given to the security of lives and property adding that NIREC would play a pivotal and significant roles in achieving peace and security.
“I want to make a passionate appeal to the government to resurcitate the Nigerian Inter-religious Council at the national level
“After this, there should be the establishment of branches of NIREC in all the 36 states of the Federation,” he said.
NIREC is a statutory body established in 1999, to address the incessant ethno-religious crises which punctuated the sociopolitical landscape of the country.
The Council, is a permanent and an independent body established to provide religious leaders and traditional rulers with a variable forum to promote greater interaction and understanding among the leadership and their followers.
It is also charged with the responsibility of laying the foundations for sustainable peace and religious harmony in Nigeria.
According to the Emir, the President’s visit though brief would go a long way in sustaining democratic governance, assuring that the traditional institution, particulalrly from the zone, would continue to support the government.
“We will support every government of the day towards achieving sustainable peace which include security of lives and property,” he said.
The Emir further urged the government to show commitment to boosting economic development through agriculture extention services, poverty alleviation and health services.
“The government should continue with its programmes on the poverty alleviation in urban and rural areas as well as the creation of more vocational training centres to enable people to be self reliant” he said.
President Jonathan speaking at the meeting, commended the traditional rulers for supporting the government in ending the crisis, particularly in Kaduna.
“Kaduna State is a very tough State which you know more than me.
“Ordinarily, Kaduna would have been one of these states converted to Lake of fire but because of your cooperations with the government.
“Yes, we are having challenges, but we will overcome them,” he said.
The President told the traditional rulers that the PDP unity rally was not a campaign, but an effort by the party to reconcile its members.
“As a PDP family we are going from zone to zone to have unity rally. Elections are coming up next year and we will soon go into elections and politics is a game of interest
“We believe that before we start our electioneering activities we need to come together, hold ourselves, shake ourselves before we go to electioneering campaign.
“When we move to the next level, we will still come for your blessings,” he said.
Vice President Namadi Sambo, in his speech, said that the President had delivered on his promise to the people of the zone.
Sambo added that to boost power supply in the zone, an additional 215 megawwats power project would be completed and commissioned in November.
He said more than N10 billion was approved by the federal government for the Great Green Wall to address the challenges of erosion.
Sambo added that the rail line from Abuja to Kaduna was 70 per cent completed and the Kaduna to Kano project was in progress.
The Vice President said series of irrigation, roads and other infrasturtural projects had been delivered by the Administration.
The Emirs presented a horse to the President.
The meeting which started at 10:45am and ended by 11:05am after which the President proceeded to the Murtala Mohammed Square where the unity rally took place.
Present at the meeting are Governors Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Kaduna, Sule Lamido, Jigawa, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, Katsina, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, Gombe, Sa’idu Nasamu Dakingari, Kebbi, Theodore Orji, Abia , Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom and the Deputy Governor of Sokoto,Mukhtar Shehu Shagari.
The PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, the Chairman of the Board of Trustee, Chief Tony Anenih, former Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadome, former chairman, Ahmadu Ali, were also at the meeting.