Blasphemy: Borno police move on peace talks with religious leaders

Having seen the rising tension created by the murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto State on Saturday, the Borno State Police Command, late Saturday, and through the early hours of Sunday, engaged some critical stakeholders in a peacebuilding meeting at the command’s headquarters in Maiduguri to forestall any unrest that might disrupt the peace of the already ravaged state of the North-East sub-region.


The Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar, who convened the meeting at the instance of the state government disclosed to The PUNCH, shortly after the meeting, that an intelligence report indicated that certain elements were already gearing up for a shutdown in the city in reaction to the Sokoto State incident but that his personnel, along with other security agencies like the Civil Defence, the DSS, and the military, have been deployed across the state capital maintain decorum.

“We convened the stakeholders meeting with all religious leaders in the state after meeting with the Deputy Governor, Umar Kadafur, at the government house. The Deputy Governor charged me to call on leaders of the two major religions in the state to speak with their followers on the need to maintain peace and safety in the midst of security challenges confronting Sokoto and threats of retaliation in some states like Kaduna.

“We, in Borno, have suffered our share of security challenges in the past 12 years, as such, we don’t want to go through that experience again, hence, the need to proactively engage the stakeholders to beckon on their followers to sustain the peace being enjoyed at the moment,” Abdu Umar remarked.

“We have not only engaged the religious leaders, the police and other security agencies have, since the unrest started in Sokoto, deployed personnel across the state capital and also stepped up our surveillance. In case of any eventuality or surprise, we are also going to embark on a show of force from Sunday to alert residents that we are active, on alert, and battle-ready to pounce on anybody that will want to attempt to disturb public peace,” the CP added.

On his part, the CAN Chairman Borno State chapter, Bishop Mohammed Naga, during the meeting assured that Christian leaders in the state have been instructed to inform their members to exercise restraint and not take any laws into their hands as God is capable of fighting his battles.

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“We, the Christian community in Borno State, have agreed to maintain Peace. I have written letters to all the pastors in Borno telling them to inform their members that we don’t want any reaction from them and that they should go about their normal routine activities without any fear of attack.

“We are law-abiding and we have a total submission to the teaching of God as enshrined in the Holy Bible,” Naga noted.

The Muslim leaders of the State led by the Chief Imam charged Borno residents to desist from the temptation of commenting on religious posts on social media as those comments are the root causes of the crisis and those comments could be inciting and injurious to others which could lead to violent reactions among the populace.

Present at the meeting were the representatives of the Nigerian army, the DSS, NSCDC, State government, Christian and Muslim religious leaders.

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