Presidency warns against religious intolerance in Nigeria

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The Presidency has warned against religious intolerance among the diverse socio-cultural groups in the country, saying politicisation of religion, as forbidden by the constitution, has no place in Nigeria.

Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, frowned at some political and religious leaders who, he said, were bent on scoring cheap political points from the nation’s religious differences.

According to him, Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division.

“Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences.

“As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview.

“This government shall never tolerate religious intolerance. We clearly and unambiguously restate our support for the freedom to practise whichever belief you wish. The politicisation of religion, as forbidden by the constitution, has no place in Nigeria,’’ he added.

The presidential aide gave the assurance that security forces had been working continuously to return those taken hostage by Boko Haram to their families, friends and communities.

“In doing this, government has full confidence in their ability to accomplish the task.

“On its own part, government has condemned some of the appalling acts of terror, especially following the festive period.

“Yet, to continue to see these happenings solely in religious terms – removed from social, economic and environmental factors – simplifies complexities that must be heeded.

“Not seeing them as they should be is exactly what the terrorists and groups wish: they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as reason(s) to turn against one another.

“On the contrary, Christians and Muslims alike are united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for,’’ he said.

Nnenna.O

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