“When I had the honour to lead a Military Government (as Head of State), there were more Christians than Muslims in the Federal Executive Council and the Supreme Military Council.
“This was not by design but I appointed 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.”
These were the words of President Muhammadu Buhari when he received in audience today, Thursday; a delegation of the Arewa Pastors Non-Denominational Initiative for Peace in Nigeria led by Bishop John Abu Richard.
The President called on religious leaders to work towards the broader goal of building a strong and unified nation, and avoid insinuations that could divide the populace, especially along religious lines.
He insisted that religious leaders have the responsibility of creating an enabling environment for peace and development to thrive.
Buhari regretted that 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. In my career as a soldier, administrator, and politician, I have never veered from my oath of office.”
President Buhari is happy that the Pastors have proposed to hold a one day prayer and fasting meeting for the nation on April 26, assuring them that he would direct the Inspector General of Police to provide adequate security for the gathering.
The leader of the delegation told the President that more than 45,000 pastors in the Northern part of Nigeria have registered with the initiative to use their pulpits for the propagation of the gospel of peace, and shun political distractions.
He called on other pastors to support the administration as it works towards ending the violence in various parts of the country and avoid politically coloured sermons.[myad]