President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to the recent protest by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). In a statement issued by the Presidency and signed by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President expressed sadness over the murder of Pastor Lawan Andimi, saying it is shocking and unaccepted.
According to the statement, the President said the actions of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) demonstrates the right of all Nigerians to protest and express their views on matters of religion, ethics, politics and society, adding that the President and every member of his administration, believe both All life is sacred,” Irrespective of their religious beliefs.
The Statement partly reads:
“Whether you are Christian or Muslim, all Nigerians and their beliefs must be respected. The duty of all of us is to uphold the rights of others to worship according their faith – and to respect the rights of each other to do so freely in the spirit of brotherhood and respect – and without interference.
“This means, however, that we must stop false claims that only serve to divide one community against the other. There is no place in Nigeria for those who politicize religion. This is the President’s message to both Muslim and Christian communities alike.
“In the light of this, the CAN-inspired prayers and street enlightenment in our cities are much welcome as sensitizers to the need for ALL CITIZENS irrespective of faith, religion or language to accept their duty and role in law enforcement, to prevent crime in all its manifestations, be it corruption, theft, terrorism, banditry or kidnapping. Without citizen involvement, there is no miracle with which less than half-a-million policemen can effectively protect a population of 200 million. CAN is right to arouse popular consciousness to this duty to the state. One more thing is this: it is the added need for citizen-consciousness to stand up for nation. Nigerians, only Nigerians can defend their nation against these abhorrent killings and all sorts of crimes worrying us as a nation.
“From the prayers and advocacy by CAN, citizens need to take an important lesson, which is, that our people must rally around the flag”.