President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja warned that stoking ethnic and religious prejudices will not augur well for the development of the country, adding that his administration will continue to create the enabling environment for religious freedom as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
He spoke 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 at the presidential villa in Abuja.
President Buhari said:
“The Federal Government will continue to promote religious freedom as it is a constitutional responsibility. I must thank the Muslim ummah for promoting inter-religious dialogue in the country. 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.”
The President assured the delegation that government was doing all within its powers to bring the current state of insecurity to the barest minimum, calling on the local community to assist the security forces as they perform their roles:
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, we are also boosting their morale to perform their constitutional duties without undue interference. We are also encouraging locales to enhance their intelligence gathering and timely remitting to the security Agencies.
“I acknowledge that security is the first responsibility of Government but 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 the society.”
He also spoke on efforts of his administration towards making life better for the average Nigerian:
“We are diversifying the economy and putting appropriate mechanisms in place to reduce poverty and more fiercely combat corruption, regardless of the status of those involved.
“Programmes such as N-Power, Conditional Cash Transfer, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme and Home-Grown School Feeding are just some of the interventions made to empower Nigerians and cater for their needs.
“The National Social Investment Programme alone has directly benefited four million Nigerians through job training and financial assistance.”