Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Christian leaders to spread the gospel through tolerance, love and unity.
President Buhari made the call at the opening ceremony of the 23rd General Assembly to mark 172 years of the Presbyterian Church in the country, a weeklong event holding in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
The President, who was represented at the occasion, by Nigeria’s Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita described the theme, living by the word of God as apt.
“As your vision and mission is to carry the Gospel to all parts of Nigeria and beyond, through evangelism, discipleship, service delivery and promotion of social righteousness; it must be done through religious tolerance, love and unity of the Nation” he urged.
President Buhari appreciated the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria for its proposed investments in education and hospitality industry, noting that its investments in agriculture would enhance food security.
“Let me appreciate the Church for her investment in the hospitality industry and education through the proposed guest house and Hope Waddell University, which is aimed at producing new generation of leaders committed to the growth and stability of our Nation”, stated the President.
He charged the clergy to continue to promote ideals that unite, reflect and pray for the Nation particularly as the general election approaches.
Earlier, the Prelate of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Nzie Nsi Eke urged the Nigerian President to overhaul the entire security architecture of the nation, noting that clashes between herdsmen, farmers and communities must be nipped in the bud.
According to Eke, “the wanton destruction of lives and property either by herdsmen killing or communal clashes, is worrisome. We, religious leaders, traditional rulers and political leaders must rise up to end this challenge”.
“The entire security architecture of the country needs to be revamped. My plea is for President Buhari to do something. As an experienced soldier, civilian and Commander-in-Chief, he has all it takes to speak and all forms of killing in Nigeria will end”, said the Moderator.
Eke, who commended the President for his dogged stance to end corruption in the nation, urged Christians to join to fight all forms of corruption in Nigeria.
The Moderator disclosed that the church had concluded plans to expand its investments in the education sector to include a tertiary institution, which would be called “Hope Waddell University” to be located in Ohafia, Abia State, southern Nigeria and a 60 room guest house.
He noted “the church intends to take quality and affordable educational mission to a new level through building a university to be named after the pioneer missionary, Hope Waddell. New structures are springing up now at the take off site as directed by the National Universities Commission”.
“The modern method of evangelism involves movement and a guest house serves as ‘a home-away-from-home’ for effective missionary activities”, said Eke.
In a message, the Keynote Speaker, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State urged Christians to draw closer to God through prayer, speak truth at all times and work for the growth of Christianity in the nation.
He urged Christians to be actively involved in politics either as candidates or electorates, noting that it was important for people with the fear of God to reach out for political office and provide service to Nigerians.
There were goodwill messages from PCN churches in Ghana, Republic of Cameroon, South Africa and Scotland including members of the Christian Association of Nigeria as well as other prominent persons.
Highpoint of the occasion was the presentation of awards to dedicated members, who contributed immensely to the expansion of the church across Nigeria.