The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Sunday charged Muslims in the country to lead war against poverty.
He identified poverty and misery as the major rationale behind insurgency and not religion.
Aregbesola made the charge during a gathering of Muslims from all over the country led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, in Osogbo, Osun capital, for a special prayer for the nation, and President Muhammadu Buhari in particular.
The governor maintained that the root cause of Boko Haram insurgency in the North East was basically endemic poverty in the region, and chronic misery.
He vehemently emphasised the need for Muslims to intensify their efforts in turning their economic life around, urging them to declare a total war against poverty for them to live a better and fruitful life.
Governor Aregbesola averred that it must sadden every Muslim to hear that a Muslim can kill himself or herself or accept a suicide mission for the paltry sum of N200.
He charged Muslim leaders to undertake the task of how to tackle the scourge of poverty headlong in the land, and practically put an end to insurgency.
“It is disappointing to hear that Muslims are being asked to kill for paltry sum as low as N200.
“What is the problem with us Muslims. Why is poverty afflicting us so terribly that we can now accept just any amount to kill ourselves.
“This should by now pose a serious challenge to us. And we must set up an organisation and saddle it with the responsibility of how to eradicate this grinding poverty.
“Unless we are not worried by the spate of this economic condition, by now we must develop capacity and strategy to end the poverty.
“Let the truth be told: Religion is not the cause of Boko Haram insurgency but extreme poverty is the root cause. Let us create an organisation to tackle and eradicate poverty now. This is a challenge to the entire Muslim Ummah,” Aregbesola said.
The prayer, with a spectacular theme “prayer for our Nation for peace, security, Stability and development” was organised in honour of Deputy President General (South) Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sakariyau Olayiwola Babalola.
The Sultan, while stressing the need to be fervent in prayer during the present economic downturn, also called for the unity of the country and of the entire Muslim Ummah for the country to get out of the current economic distress.
He also enjoined various religious groups across the country to make prayer a daily routine as the country needs spiritual solutions to its peculiar challenges.
“I must acknowledge your commitment in promoting unity among the various religious organisations in the state as this is in line with our cardinal objective of ensuring a peaceful nation.
“We have not in any way closed our eyes to your administration’s determination in making things happen even in the face of the present realities of the nation’s economy.
“We are glad that you are using your position to effect change in promoting and propagating unity in the state and beyond.
“This visit makes the 6th time of being in Osun and we are here in large number as one family under the umbrella of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs which is the apex body for muslims in Nigeria to further register our determination to unity, peace and tranquillity of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“The primary objective of the Council is to ensure peace, unity and stability not only among muslims but also within other religious organisations.
“So, as we are working assiduously to solidify the unity and peaceful coexistence between and among the various religious organisations in the country, we are equally determined to portray to the world that the religion of Islam connotes peace and unity”, Sultan said.