President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday disclosed that he was “distressed and depressed by the atrocious ethnoreligious killings” across the country.
Speaking when he received leaders of the Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN, led by Rev Dr Dachollom Datiri, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari appealed to Nigerians to learn to live together in peace and harmony.
Buhari urged religious, community and traditional leaders to do more in promoting peaceful co-existence among Nigerians at different walks of life.
He said, ”As an organised institution (COCIN), I have no reason to doubt your report on the atrocities being committed in your communities including the killing of Idris Alkali, a retired Major-General, the dumping of his car into a pond and the body of the deceased thrown into a disused well.
”The communities (in Plateau) have lived long enough to know that there is nothing they can do without each other than to live together in harmony.
”As leaders, we must persuade the upcoming generation, using every channel particularly the educational institutions, to live together with our neighbours.’’
Buhari, who used the occasion to underscore the important roles religious leaders play in engendering peace, lauded the exemplary role of the Imam in Plateau State who risked his life to save hundreds of Christian families fleeing attacks, in June.
”It is not all Muslims that are against Christians and neither are all Christians against Muslims. The leadership in the respective religions have to work harder to make sure they convince the coming generation that they have to live together in the same country,” he said.
The President assured the Christian delegation that he will continue to exert pressure on the Nigeria Police Force to do the needful in protecting lives and property.
”In our security arrangement, the police is in the frontline in making sure that communities, irrespective of ethnic or religious bias, live together in peace,” he said, adding that “Nigeria cannot afford to take its unity for granted and allow a return to the unfortunate perils of a civil war.”