Jenna Josh-Daniels, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on religious leaders to intensify efforts in building the bridges of unity and coexistence, by contributing their quota towards eradicating religious extremism and intolerance from the country.
Buhari the call on Friday in Abuja, at the 60th Independence Day Public Lecture and Special Juma’at Prayer held at the Abuja National Mosque, with the theme ‘Together Nigeria at 60: The Imperative of Building a Nation Together.’
The President who insisted Nigeria has kept her spot as the most prosperous black nation in the world 60 years after independence, said the 60th anniversary was not only a milestone, but a reminder of the great sacrifices of the founding fathers and leaders past.
Represented by the Senate President Ahmed Lawal, he gave assurances of his administration’s commitment towards intensifying the fight against insurgency, extremism and all other forms of intolerance, in order to entrench sustainable peace.
Buhari said: “I am making a clarion call to our various religious communities and individuals to sue for peace and national unity. I am making this call because the ground solution to our challenges in the area of ethnic and religious intolerance, which is sometimes manifested in conflict, lies with individuals, you and I.
“I charge the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCAI) to do more in eradicating religious extremism. As Muslims, let us continue to prove, through words and actions, that Islam is nothing but peace, as enshrined in the Glorious Quran.
“Together and only together can we attain the goal of building a vibrant Nigeria, one that is steadily on the path of growth and sustainable development and one that works for all and give potentials. And one that rewards hardworking and bolsters potentials to flourish beyond limitations and one that gives meaning to peaceful co-existence and unity in diversity.
“As a matter of fact, national unity, to me, is the new meaning of independence, that is our independence from all elements of division. Today, therefore, I am asking all Nigerians to remain unwaveringly committed to our goal of ‘a united, prosperous and peaceful nation in the face of 21st century opportunities and challenges’, reiterating that this can only be achieved if we remain united in purpose and action, as citizens of this great country.”