President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to do more in efforts to eradicate religious extremism and intolerance in the country.
Buhari made the call in Abuja at the 60th Independence Day Public Lecture and Special Jumma’at Prayer held at the National Mosque on Friday.
The theme of the Independence Anniversary lecture is “Together Nigeria at 60: The Imperative of Building a Nation Together”.
The president, who was represented by Senate President Ahmed Lawan, stressed that the power and appeal of religion should be used to promote peace and unity among the people.
Buhari said that the Federal Government was committed to entrenching sustainable peace, as it intensified the fight against insurgency, extremism and all forms of intolerance.
He assured the citizens that the government would continue to work with committed and patriotic religious and traditional leaders to advance the ideals of peaceful coexistence.
Buhari 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.
“As Muslims, let us continue to prove through our 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,” he said.
The president, therefore, urged all Nigerians to remain resolutely committed to the goal of having a united, prosperous and peaceful nation, in the face of the 21st Century opportunities and challenges.
“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 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 conflicts, lies with you,” Buhari
The dignitaries at the special prayers include the Minister of State, Science and Technology, Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed, the FCT Minister Muhammad Bello and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, among others.