President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that encouraging ethnic and religious prejudices will not augur well for the development of the country.
President Buhari gave the warning on Thursday while speaking when the leadership of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), led by its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, paid him a courtesy call.
The president expressed the commitment of his administration to continue to create the enabling environment for religious freedom as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
Buhari, who thanked the Muslim ummah for promoting inter-religious dialogue in the country, said: “It is self-evident that if the country must work, we must continue to work together in spite of our ethnic, religious and political differences because Nigeria is our collective project.
“Accordingly, the Federal Government under my leadership does not and will not allow religious prejudice or partisanship to influence any of its decisions and policies.
“It is my solemn decision to be fair and just to all segments of society,” he added in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
The President, who assured the delegation that government was doing all within its powers to bring the current state of insecurity to the barest minimum, called on the local community to assist the security forces as they perform their roles.
He said: “The Federal Government has worked tirelessly to combat insecurity and other challenges that are confronting the country.
“Security is a protracted problem but we are not relenting in our efforts.
“Not only are we equipping the military, but we are also boosting their morale to perform their constitutional duties without undue interference.
“We are also encouraging locals to enhance their intelligence gathering and timely remitting to the security agencies.
“I acknowledge that security is the first responsibility of government, but the Government cannot do it alone.
“It requires stakeholders, such as yourselves.
“Therefore, I urge you to lend your support to the security agencies by providing information that may stem the tide of crimes and insecurity in society.”
President Buhari called on the leaders to continue “speaking to our people and to help amplify this message through your very tried and tested networks” and to give full backing to the Alternate School Programme which he launched on Tuesday.
The President, who appealed to Nigerians to support government efforts on COVID-19, told the delegation that “when the vaccines which we are working hard to procure for the nation arrive, please, please join in the drive to educate people that these vaccines are meant to save lives and protect everyone.”
Earlier in his address, Sultan Abubakar, who hailed the President for the successes achieved so far in the Northeast, called on the government to deal decisively with the banditry raving the Northwestern states of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and some parts of the North Central.
‘Call religious leaders to order’
The religious leader, who expressed confidence that security forces, with better synergy among them, will overcome present challenges, solicited for the cooperation of all the governors with the federal government irrespective of their political leanings, calling on Nigerians to support the new leadership of the armed forces.
He asked that religious leaders making subversive comments should be called to order.