President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja urged religious leaders in the country to assist government to overcome forces of destruction by enlightening their followers to guard against religious extremism and terrorism.
He made the call while receiving the leadership of Qadiriyya Islamic Movement in Africa at the State House, Abuja.
Buhari, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, also noted that Muslim leaders have a duty to promote the principles and tenets of Islam as a religion of peace and justice.
He said that those who indoctrinate children and plant explosives on them to harm innocent people do not belong to any religion but ‘‘terrorists who should be identified and fought until they give up their evil ways.’’
The President, who commended the Qadiriyya movement for promoting education, interfaith dialogue and good moral conduct in the society, expressed support for the proposed Islamic Centre in Abuja by the movement.
Speaking earlier in his remarks, the leader of the Qadiriyya in Africa, Sheikh Qaribullah Kabara had congratulated the President on his emergence as his party’s candidate for the 2019 election.
He also commended the President on the achievements of his administration since coming into office, stressing the diversification of the economy, increased power supply and food sufficiency.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of meeting, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Gamduje said “First of all to congratulate Mr. President for picking the ticket to run for second term and he used the opportunity to thank Mr. President for the development in Nigeria especially in the economy which has improved especially electricity and also agriculture and also we used the opportunity to inform Mr. President the importance of the Qadiriyyah center which is being built here in Abuja.
“It is basically for education especially for reducing extremism, radicalism in religion. This is the right time the centre will be able to control the minds of the followers.
“So the centre is under construction now. Mr. President appreciated the building of the centre and he promised to the help concern of the centre. We also prayed for Mr. President.
“That is the first group that came to visit the President, the Qadiriyyah Movement of Africa. It is a very powerful organisation with so many followers and it is anti extremism and anti Boko Haram. It believes in the normal religious injunctions as professed by our holy Koran.
Asked whether the meeting has anything to do with Buhari’s re-election bid, he said “Yes, in fact they prayed for his success in the forthcoming election.”