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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that some Nigerians are using religion as a tool to advance their economic and political agenda.
Buhari identified continuous education of a more significant population of citizens as a solution to exposing such individuals.
He said this in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Tuesday titled ‘The place of education in addressing religious intolerance by President Buhari.’
The statement stated that the President spoke at Nouakchott, Mauritania, while meeting with the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Rashad Hussain.
Buhari said, “It’s a problem Nigeria has been struggling with for a long time, and it is completely unnecessary. Some people use religion as sentiment, but with adequate education, people are seeing through it now.”
The President recounted a private meeting at the White House with former US President Donald Trump, where Trump asked him: “Why are you killing Christians in Nigeria?” and how he (Buhari) explained to him that the killings were not religious, but rather criminal; with some elements using religion to further their economic, and sometimes, political interests.
He added, “The majority of the people just want to practice their religion without problem, but some people cash in on religious misunderstanding for their own ends.
“When people are educated, they are able to discern when others want to use religion for certain ends. They do it mostly for material reasons.
“Also, when some people are incompetent, they bring in all sorts of excuses, including religion.”
Also speaking, Hussain said the United States of America is interested in partnering with Nigeria in the areas of formal and non-formal education, toward religious harmony.
“There’s so much we can do together to promote peace, promote communal harmony. We love what you are doing, and we would be glad to assist as appropriate,” he said.