The Federal Government has urged religious leaders in the country to refrain from stoking the embers of hatred and disunity, warning that resorting to scorched-earth rhetoric at this time could trigger unintended consequences.
”While religious leaders have a responsibility to speak truth to power, such truth must not come wrapped in anger, hatred, disunity and religious disharmony,” the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement issued in Lagos on Saturday.
He said it is particularly graceless and impious for any religious leader to use the period of Christmas, which is a season of peace, to stoke the embers of hatred, sectarian strife and national disunity.
”Calling for a violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government, no matter how disguised such a call is, and casting a particular religion as violent is not what any religious leader should engage in, and certainly not in a season of peace,” Alhaji Mohammed said, adding that instigating regime change outside the ballot box is not only unconstitutional but also an open call to anarchy.
He said while some religious leaders, being human, may not be able to disguise their national leadership preference, they should refrain from stigmatizing the leader they have never supported anyway, using well-worn and disproved allegations of nepotism or whatever.
The Minister said whatever challenges Nigeria may be going through at this moment can only be tackled when all leaders and indeed all Nigerians come together, not when some people arrogantly engage in name-calling and finger-pointing.