President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Muslims to shun “violent extremism” by following the peaceful example of Prophet Muhammad.
He cited the killing of innocent people, kidnapping of female students and forcing young women into forced marriages as some of the extremist behaviour that the Muslim Ummah must end.
The President’s call was contained in his Eid el-Maulud message released on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.
“The greatest honour Muslims could do the Prophet Muhammad is to follow his shining examples of non-violence, peaceful disposition and remarkable virtues of patience”, the statement quoted the President as saying.
Buhari added, “The indiscriminate killing of innocent people, the kidnapping of female students and forcing them into marriage and conversion is contrary to the teachings and personal examples of the Prophet Muhammad.
“Violent extremism is the single biggest challenge facing the image of Islam today which has been hijacked by a minority of misguided elements, who are using religion to cover-up their criminal agenda.
“Extremism is like a cancer that needs to be attacked in its early stages before it grows malignantly out of control and harm society.”
Govs preach peace
In the same vein, governors across Nigeria have called for peaceful coexistence and togetherness as the country celebrates Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.
The Governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade, urged Muslim faithful to use the period to show love to one another and imbibe the virtues of perseverance and tolerance.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Christian Ita, the governor said, “We all know that Prophet Muhammad preached and lived for peace as a revered and widely followed Prophet of Allah. His quality of honesty and perseverance, should be a lesson for all to imbibe.”
Also, the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, urged Muslims to emulate the good morals, and teachings of tolerance of the prophet.
In a statement, Obaseki urged Muslims to commit themselves to the teachings of the prophet as a means to promote peaceful living in a multicultural society.
Obaseki said, “Muslims constitute a major force for peace and progress wherever they may be, and we are glad that our Muslim brothers and sisters have been an integral part of our march to development in Edo State.”
In Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom assured the residents that his administration would continue to collaborate with security agencies to guarantee the safety of lives and property, just as he enjoined Muslims to pray for peace.
A statement by the state government on Sunday read in part, “ He appreciated Benue people and other Nigerians for the support given to his administration to surmount the security challenges which confronted the state especially in 2018. The governor enjoins Muslims to seize the opportunity presented by Eid-El-Maulud to pray for peace and unity of Benue State and Nigeria at large.”
In the same vein, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State called for unity among Nigerians, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic backgrounds, to enable the country to surmount its challenges.
Okowa, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Sunday in Asaba, urged Nigerians to use the celebration for sober reflection.
“The governor advised Muslims to use the period to reflect on the challenges bedevilling the country and to share with one another, whatever means of sustenance they have, to spread the virtues of peace, love and charity which the Holy Prophet represented,” the statement read.
Likewise, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Sunday enjoined Nigerians to remain prayerful for the sustenance of peace.
Ugwuanyi said, “This Islamic event is remarkable and reinvigorates the virtues of faith, sacrifice, obedience, love, tolerance, charity and peaceful co-existence, which are the deeds and teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad.”
Also, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, on Sunday vowed to deal with all criminals in the state and make the state conducive for everyone.
Mohammed in a message on the occasion of el-Maulud on Sunday said, “We should use the occasion for thoughtful stocktaking of our routine and spiritual performances in the last one year and pray to Almighty Allah for better and prosperous years ahead.”
In Gombe State, Governor Inuwa Yahaya called for the spirit of tolerance, humility, modesty and generosity as exemplified by the life and times of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
The governor in a statement on Sunday stated, “There is the need for tolerance among the people, regardless of the differences, it is the only through such commitment that developmental challenges will better be confronted and addressed” he said.
In Oyo State, Governor Seyi Makinde emphasised the need for religious tolerance and harmony in the country.
The governor, in a message on the occasion of the Eid-el-Maulud, said the time call for greater emphasis on religious harmony, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence.
He said, “We must resist revisionists and tell them in clear terms that ours is a society that values peaceful coexistence, brotherhood, and unity.”
Pray for leaders to be sensitive — Secondus
Also, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Uche Secondus, on Sunday urged Muslims to pray to God to touch the hearts of leaders in Nigeria so that they would be sensitive to the plight of the poor.
Secondus in his Eid-el Malud message stated that the worsening condition of Nigerians called for supplication to God for the much-needed succour.
The PDP National Chairman the statement, by his media aide, Mr Ike Abonyi, said, “The increasing number of people dropping to the extreme poverty level in our country in the last four years and the inability of the government in power to deliver good governance entails that we return to God for help.
“When a regime who should solve problems and confront myriads of challenges are copiously confused and engrossed in needless squabbles about 2023, our fate certainly is in God’s hand.”
Omo-Agege preaches unity, tolerance
However, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, charged Muslims to emulate the life of the Prophet.
He said, “Prophet Muhammad preached peace, truthfulness, faithfulness. He shunned all vices including corruption and bitterness.
“Muslims should stick to his preachings. The Prophet was a complete man of peace,” he said.
Gbajabiamila, Wase call for prayers
Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, congratulated Muslims for Eid-Maulud celebration.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, the Speaker urged Nigerian Muslims to use the occasion to pray for continuous peaceful coexistence in the country.
He said, “I urge our countrymen and women,especially Muslims, to use the occasion to pray for our country at this time of our development.”
Wase also urged Muslims faithful to collectively reflect on the virtues, teachings and ideals which the Prophet Muhammad, exemplified and taught.