President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians, especially religious leaders, not to give room for terrorists to divide the country along religious lines.
The president’s appeal came on the heels of the recent execution of some Christians and Muslims by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
In a statement, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, quoted the president as saying that he was saddened and shocked by the killings of innocent persons hitherto held hostage by the insurgents.
He described the insurgents as callous and godless whose activities do not reflect the nature of millions of other Muslims across the world.
“I am profoundly saddened and shocked by the death of innocent hostages in the hands of remorseless, godless, callous gangs of mass murderers that have given Islam a bad name through their atrocities
“We should, under no circumstance, let the terrorists divide us by turning Christians against Muslims because these barbaric killers don’t represent Islam and millions of other law-abiding Muslims around the world.
“As a President, the collective security of all Nigerians is my major preoccupation and the death of an innocent Christian or Muslim distresses me,” Buhari said.
Shehu said the president also dismissed the terrorists as a group of barbaric persons who had no clearly defined agenda.
He also accused them of pursuing evil through indiscriminate murder of innocent people in contrast to the teachings of Islam, which according to him, prohibits massacre.
According to him, the killers are agents of darkness and enemies of humanity whose mission is to cause confusion, pledging that his administration would not relent in its war against terrorism.
“No true Muslim would be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ while killing innocent people, an evil frequently condemned by the Holy Qur’an.’’
“These agents of darkness are enemies of our common humanity and they don’t spare any victim, whether they are Muslims or Christians, and therefore, we shouldn’t let them divide us and turn us against one another.
“The goal of these psychopaths is to cause confusion and spread distrust between Muslims and Christians, despite the fact that they aren’t representing the interest of Muslims or Islam.
“While I condemn this evil, I wish to reassure Nigerians that this administration will not lower its guards in the war against terrorism, and we will continue to intensify our efforts towards strengthening international cooperation and collaboration to break the backbone of these evil doers,’’ the President added.
The statement added that the president appealed to all Nigerians to be united against terrorists and avoid what he described as unhelpful conspiracy theories that only serve the interest of Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP.