ABUJA (SundiataPost) – President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians especially on religious leaders across the country to continue to pray for an end to insecurity in parts of the country as well as the successful conduct of next month’s general elections.
Jonathan made the call shortly after receiving the report of the 2014 Hajj operations at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday.
The report was presented by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III and the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu.
He blamed “negative forces” for the insecurity being witnessed in parts of the country.
The President said no true believer of the two major religions would willingly kill human beings.
He assured that although it seemed the nation would burn, Nigeria would be safe during the general elections.
He said, “I charge you as religious leaders to continue to pray for the country on the excess of criminality. In the North, we have issues of terror; in the South, we have issues of kidnapping.
“These are issues being pushed by negative forces. No person who is really religious in any of the religions can willingly go and kill.
“We should continue to pray for the peace of the country, especially as we face the general elections this year.
“Anytime you open the newspapers, it is as if the country wants to burn, but Nigeria will surely be safe. Nigeria will surely be united and we will prosecute the election in the end and this country will surely be a peaceful country.
“We will all collectively work hard to transform our economy, but you should pray for the peaceful conduct of the general elections and peaceful transition.”
The President promised to look into all the issues raised in the hajj report especially the recommendations.
Earlier, the Sultan had thanked the President for supporting Hajj operations in our country, saying the operation had witnessed tremendous achievements and progress under him.
This, he said, could not have been possible without Jonathan’s total commitment and support.
The Sultan said the hajj operations were successful despite the earlier challenges of the Ebola scare which delayed airlifting of pilgrims by over a week.
He added, “Despite that, due to the multi-sectoral approach the President used, the Ebola scare was contained and visas were issued to our pilgrims.
“We want to thank you for the dynamic leadership in containing the ebola problem which would have been a very big stumbling block in making our pilgrims to perform hajj.
“The hajj exercise was conducted peacefully without any hitches and it is also noteworthy to inform the President that during the hajj operations there, the leadership of the team, the Oba of Lagos and the Muslim clerics from all over the country came together and organised special prayers for peace stability and progress of our country and most importantly for the peaceful conduct of the elections.”
He reiterated his call for the self-sustenance of hajj operations in Nigeria which will make the Federal Government to spend virtually less or nothing on pilgrimages.
He suggested that the President should set up a small technical committee comprising of religious leaders of both Christians and Muslims before a decision will be taken on the matter.