From Bello Wakili (Abuja)

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that stoking ethnic and religious prejudices will not augur well for the development of the country.

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 visit, at the presidential Villa Abuja.

The President maintained that his administration will continue to create the enabling environment for religious freedom as guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.

He thanked the Muslim ummah for promoting inter-religious dialogue in the country, stressing that it is self-evident that if the country must work, Nigerians must continue to work together in spite of ethnic, religious and political differences.

The president stated that Federal Government under his leadership does not and will not allow religious prejudice or partisanship to influence any of its decisions and policies.

He noted that his solemn decision is 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.

He also spoke on efforts of his administration towards making life better for the average Nigerian.

The President used the opportunity to appeal to Nigerians to support government efforts on COVID-19 as Government continues to work towards managing the crisis.

He called on the Clerics to lend their voices in support of those basic but fundamental protocols that can significantly curtail the spread of this disease which include Washing of hands, Using facemasks and ensuring social distancing as much as possible as they have been proven to be first line of defence in the fight against the virus.

Earlier in his address, Sultan Abubakar commended the President for the successes achieved so far in the Northeast, calling on the Government to deal decisively with the banditry that is raving the Northwestern States of Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and some parts of the North Central.

While expressing confidence that security forces, with better synergy among them, will overcome present challenges, he solicited for the cooperation of all the governors with federal government irrespective of their political leanings, calling on Nigerians to support the new leadership of the armed forces.

The NSCIA leader also appealed to Nigerians, particularly religious leaders to refrain from making inflammatory comments that tend towards sowing discord in the polity and exacerbating the current level of insecurity in the land.

He asked that religious leaders making subversive comments should be called to order.

The Sultan who equally identified with the ‘Hate Speech Campaign’ of the Minister of Information and Culture said ‘Hate Speech’ is aggravating insecurity in the country.