President Muhammadu Buhari says it is unfortunate that some Nigerians are making unpleasant remarks, accusing him of taking sides on religious grounds.
He made the remark on Thursday in Abuja, when he hosted a group of Christian clergies known as Arewa Pastors Nondenominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who thanked the group of Pastors for the solidarity visit, said such comments being made about him are untrue.
He said he has never veered from his oath of office and will not do so now or any time in his life.
“In times like these, some voice, for political or ethnic reasons are making unguarded statements, accusing the government and myself in particular of religious bias. Let me assure you, honorable clergymen, that this is far from the truth. In my entire career as a soldier, administrator and politician, I have never veered from my oath of office,” he said.
President Buhari said his cabinet as presently constituted, has an equal representation of both Christians and Moslems because of his strong decision not to be biased.
“When I heard the honor to lead a military government, there were more Christians than Muslims in the Federal Executive Council and the Supreme Military Council. This was not by design but I appoint people on their merit, without the slightest bias. The present Federal Executive Council is also evenly balanced again, not by design but by respecting and rewarding individual qualities,” he said.
The Nigerian leader commended the move by the pastors to speak out, as he pledged full security cover for an event they want to holds in Abuja later in the month.
“Honourable Pastors, your initiative, and your stand mark you out as responsible Nigerians. Responsible people must speak out and not leave the public space to rubble rousers and attention seekers. I hereby note your request to hold a day of praise on the 26th in Abuja. I am requesting the Inspector General of Police to give adequate security cover for the event. I wish you success in your role as one of the groups of peacemakers to whom the country owes gratitude,” President Buhari noted.
The group of Pastors, which has representatives from the 19 northern States of Nigeria, has Bishop John Richard from Benue State as its National Chairman.
While Speaking to State House Correspondents, Bishop Richard, who pledged the group’s support for the current administration, urged religious leader to avoid using their platforms to make inflammatory comments that are capable of causing the crisis in the country.
“We assured the President of our support and prayers, that God will intervene in the area of security in this country. We stand against hate speeches and religious leaders that use their platform to ignite violence. We cannot be in this country and allow things to deteriorate,” he said.
– Timothy Choji I VON