President Muhammadu Buhari has denied the allegations that he is religiously biased as the leader of Africa’s most populous nation.
The President rejected the claims on Thursday when he received a delegation of the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria, led by Bishop John Richard at the State House in Abuja.
“Some voices, for political or ethnic reasons are making unguarded statements accusing the government and myself in particular of religious bias. Let me assure you, honourable clergymen, that this is far from the truth,” he stated
in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“In my career as a soldier, administrator, and politician, I have never veered from my oath of office. When I had the honour to lead a military government, there were more Christians than Muslims in the Federal Executive Council and the Supreme Military Council,” President Buhari added.
He noted that the selection process was not by design but that he appointed people based on their merit without the slightest bias.
The President maintained that the present Federal Executive Council is evenly balanced, stressing that the appointees were chosen with the intention of respecting and rewarding individual qualities, contrary to the claims of being lopsided.
He further called on religious leaders to work towards the broader goal of building a strong and unified Nigeria and avoid insinuations that could divide the populace, especially along religious lines.
President Buhari reminded his visitors that religious leaders have the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for peace and development to thrive.
He said he was delighted at the proposition to hold a one-day prayer and fasting meeting for the nation on April 26, 2018, while assuring them that he would direct the Inspector General of Police to provide adequate security for the gathering.
In his remarks, the leader of the delegation said more than 45,000 pastors in the Northern part of Nigeria had registered with the initiative to use their pulpits for the propagation of the gospel of peace and shun political distractions.
He also urged other pastors to support the administration as it works towards ending the violence in various parts of the country and avoid politically coloured sermons.