President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that Islam forbids lawlessness and frowns at extremism even in normal acts of worship.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the opening of the International Islamic Conference on Peace and Nation Building, Buhari said the emergence of any group advocating the contrary is therefore irreligious and unacceptable.
He urged religious leaders to intensify their efforts towards promoting the real teachings of their religion in order to counter the diabolical ideology motivating insurgents.
Restating that Nigeria, in joint cooperation with her neighbours, had substantially degraded the attacking capability of the insurgents to a level that had compelled them to retreat, he said his government would pursue them relentlessly until they become “an item of history.”
Buhari said: “The tragic paradox of the global insurgency situation is that most of the atrocities committed by various insurgents all over the world today, are being carried out mainly by people who pretend to be Muslims, yet most of the victims and casualties are equally Muslims. To underscore their cruelty and godlessness, they particularly target the most vulnerable members of the society: children, women and the elderly.
“No religion approves of such heinous crimes against humanity; definitely not Islam nor Christianity, the two to which most Nigerians belong. This is a tragedy which all normal people must rise up against. Islam does not permit lawlessness. It frowns at extremism even in normal acts of worship. The emergence of any group advocating the contrary is therefore irreligious and unacceptable”.
The president also called on all religious, community and political leaders to mobilize their followers against corruption and crimes of any kind.
He said they should also encourage their followers to be more tolerant of one another and recognize the rights of others as they want others to recognize their rights to worship and live freely.
Noting that Nigeria had suffered many years of official neglect and corruption “leading to untold hardships to the common man”, Buhari assured that the government would do everything possible to safeguard lives and property as well as ensure even development across the nation.
He said the current global economic challenges might well turn out to be a blessing for Nigeria “because it will stimulate the latent economic opportunities that we have left untapped for decades.”