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Nigeria@60: Buhari urges NSCIA to eradicate religious extremism, intolerance

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Former Vice President, Namadi Sambo (left); Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello; Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gabari; Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; and Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, during a Special Juma’at Prayer to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence at the National Mosque in Abuja…yesterday


President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to do more toward eradicating religious extremism and intolerance in the country.

The President, who made the call at the 60th Independence Day Public Lecture and Special Juma’at Prayer held at the Abuja National Mosque Auditorium in Abuja, yesterday, stressed that the power and appeal of religion must be used constantly and only for peace building and promotion of unity among the people.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buhari, who was represented by Senate President Ahmed Lawal, at this independence anniversary lecture, themed, ‘Together Nigeria at 60: The Imperative of Building a Nation Together,’ stated that” the Federal Government was committed to entrenching sustainable peace, as it intensifies the fight against insurgency, extremism and all forms of intolerance.

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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. He commended NSCIA for its tireless efforts to safeguard “God- given liberties,” urging the body to adopt stringent measures to rid Nigeria of religious extremism.

“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 said.

While charging 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, added: “This can only be achieved if we remain united and focused as citizens of this great country.

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“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.” Buhari called on various religious communities and organisations to pursue peace and national unity, saying the simple solution to the country’s challenges in the area of ethnic and religious intolerance, which sometimes boil over and manifest into conflict, lie with them.

Similarly, the First Lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has called on Nigerians to continue to pray for an end to COVID-19 as the country prepares to mark the anniversary.

Mrs. Buhari urged Nigerians to offer special prayers for peace, progress and sustainable development of the country, saying: “We need to pray for forgiveness and a special prayers for forgiveness. 

“The world is no longer the same as a result of the pandemic and the pandemic is a sign that Almighty God is not happy with us. We have no choice than to continue asking for forgiveness from Almighty Allah.”

She charged leaders to always do the needful by ensuring justice to all. She later joined other Muslim faithful to perform a two Juma’at prayer, calling on Nigerians to support the current administration in its quest to develop the country.

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“The President cannot do it alone; he need the support and cooperation of all Nigerians, including his appointees to go in line with his change mantra,” she said.

Other dignitaries at the event include Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, Minister of State, Science and Technology, Abdullahi Mohammed, and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Bello, among others.

Mrs. Buhari was accompanied by former First Lady, Mrs. Turai Yar’Adua; Senior Special Assistant to the President on Women Affairs and Administration, Dr. Hajo Sani; wives of a former governors of Nasarawa and Zamfara states, Mrs. Mairo Almakura and Mrs. Asmau Yari, respectively.

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