The Nigerian Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN has said that unity and tolerance are crucial values needed to safeguard peace and stability in a multi-religious society like Nigeria.
Osinbajo in a statement at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received a delegation of Imams, Islamic scholars and Muslim clerics.
The delegation of more than 25 Islamic clerics, intellectuals and leaders of different groups was drawn National Council of Ulamas, Qadiriyya Movement, Fitiyanul Islam of Nigeria, Dariya Sect, National Council of Muslim Youths.
Others include the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria, Jammat Tajdidul Islamy, Salafiyya Youth Movement, Imams from the National Mosque and Legislative Quarters in Apo, Abuja among others.
The gathering discussed issues such as how to promote Nigeria’s unity.
Osinbajo noted his delight about receiving the attendees, saying “it is not often that one gets the honour of such a visit.”
Chief Imam, Lagos State House of Assembly, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Abdul Lateef described the VP as a leader who loves all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic differences.
“We are here in recognition of your love for all Nigerians and your belief in the harmonious existence of our country. We understand the kind of love you have for all Nigerians.”
Abdul Lateef, a former Commissioner for Home Affairs, said no less than 18 Muslims were part of the senior cadre of Osinbajo’s staff including the Deputy Chief of Staff, Rahman Ade Ipaye.
Leader of the delegation, Prof. Siraj Abdulkarim said they visited Osinbajo because we love this country.”
The scholar said the unnecessary rivalry between Christians and Muslims has to be doused and called on the VP to initiate a programme to promote understanding.
“I am enriched from what I have heard today and I have noted all the issues. I wish we had a bit more time. I agree we should engage more.
“The issues you have raised show us clearly that the future of this country lies with the elites, especially religious and political elites.”
Chief Imam of Abuja National Mosque, Prof. Ibrahim Maqari stressed that religious leaders also have “a duty to pray for Nigeria”.