The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, on Thursday called on religious leaders of both the Christian and the Islamic faiths to preserve in their prayers for the unity, peace, and progress of the nation.
He said religious leaders should desist from negative sermons that brainwash their followers and worsen the security situations in the country.
Buratai gave the warning stated when the National Inter-Faith Religious Organisation for Peace in Nigeria visited him
at the Army headquarters in Abuja.
Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans(COPP), Lieutenant-General Lamidi Adeosun, Buratai noted that while the army would continue to seek solutions to the security challenges bedeviling the country, the prayers of religious leaders were also critical at ensuring the peace and stability of the nation.
Buratai said: “God did not make a mistake in bringing Nigerians with various ethnic nationals and religions together. So, it will be wrong to use the same platform of religion, either Christianity or Islam to divide us. Rather, it should unite us.
“What you do by praying for Nigeria is also as critical as what the army and other security agencies do to keep Nigeria one united entity and peaceful.
“I am aware that you just completed a 40-day fasting and prayer session for peace in Nigeria. The COAS appreciates your using the religious line to intercede for Nigerians. On our part, we will not relent in tackling and ensuring the security of the nation.
“He has also directed me to tell you that please, continue to plead and educate Nigerians to know that we don’t have any other country than Nigeria. When there is a problem in one part of Nigeria, we should not say it is not our concern. If there is a problem with one part of Nigeria, it is a problem for other parts of Nigeria.
“This is the only country where every Nigerian is a first-class citizen. Any other country you go to, you are a second class citizen. So while the army and other security agencies are handling the security aspect of the challenges, other sectors like the religious bodies should carry the message of peace, oneness, and unity to the masses.”
Earlier in his address, the National Coordinator of the National Inter-faith Organisation, Bishop Garba Yaji, said the group was at the Army headquarters to commend the military for its determination at ensuring peace and security in the country.
“We believe in the Nigerian Army. We thank God for giving us victory over the insurgents and Nigeria will soon return to what it used to be, peaceful and united.
“Despite all the challenges of banditry, kidnapping and so on, the Army has remained steadfast in keeping the country united.”