President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs to do more toward eradicating religious extremism and intolerance in the country.
Buhari made the call at the 60th Independence Day Public Lecture and Special Jumma’at Prayer held at the Abuja National Mosque Auditorium on Friday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the Independence anniversary lecture was: “Together Nigeria at 60: The Imperative of Building a Nation Together.”
Buhari stressed that the power and appeal of religion must be used constantly and only for peace building and promotion of unity among the people.
Represented by Senate President Ahmed Lawal, Buhari said the Federal Government was committed to entrenching sustainable peace as it intensifies the fight against insurgency, extremism and all forms of intolerance.
The President assured Nigerians that the government would continue to work with committed and patriotic religious and traditional leaders to advance the ideals of peaceful coexistence.
The Nigerian leader used the occasion to thank the NSCIA for its tireless efforts to safeguard “God-given liberties”, urging the body to adopt stringent measures to rid Nigeria of religious extremism.
He said: “As Muslims, let us continue to prove through words and actions that Islam is indeed the religion of peace as enshrined in the glorious Qur’an.
“On this, we will continue to work with committed and patriotic religious and traditional leaders to advance the ideals of peaceful coexistence in our dear country.”
Buhari, therefore, tasked all Nigerians to remain resolutely committed to the goal of a united prosperous and peaceful nation in the face of the 21st Century opportunities and challenges.
He said: “This can only be achieved if we remain united and focused as citizens of this great country.
“In the spirit of this togetherness, I commend the efforts of our religious institution leaders for serving as fundamental instruments of unity among our people.
“This, I believe, is the natural objective of religion – worship God and serve humanity.
“On this note, I am making a clarion call to our various religious communities and organisations to pursue peace and national unity.
“I am making this call because the simple solution to our challenges in the area of ethnic and religious intolerance, which sometimes boil over and manifest into conflict, lie with you.”
Other dignitaries at the special prayers were the Minister of State, Science and Technology, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed; FCT Minister, Muhammad Bello; and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, among others.