President Muhammadu Buhari has warned against politicising religion in Nigeria, saying Muslims and Christians can flourish together.This is contained in an opinion piece written by the President on religion published in the Church Times, UK’s largest Anglican newspaper and made available to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
President Buhari, who described himself as a descendant of Abraham, said in 1844, the Rev Samuel Ajayi Crowther returned home to Yorubaland (now part of modern-day Nigeria). Twenty years earlier, he said Crowther had been kidnapped and sold to European slave traders who were bound for the Americas. He was freed by an abolitionist naval patrol and received by the Church Missionary Society where he found his calling.
According to him, Crowther made his voyage home to establish the first Anglican mission in Yoruba land adding that he came with the first Bibles translated into Yoruba and Hausa languages. Buhari recalled that he opened dialogue and discussion with those of other faiths and his mission was a success. Crowther later became the first African Anglican Bishop in Africa
Today, the president noted that Nigeria has the largest Christian population on the continent pointing out that the messages and teachings of Christianity are part of the fabric of each person’s life.He said: “Along with the millions of Christians in Nigeria today, I believe in peace, tolerance and reconciliation; in the institution of the family, the sanctity of marriage, and the honour of fidelity; in hope, compassion, and Divine revelation.
“Like Bishop Crowther, I am a descendant of Abraham; unlike him, I am a Muslim. I believe our two great religions can, not only peacefully coexist, but also flourish together. But Muslims and Christians must first turn to one another in compassion. For, as it says in Amos 3.3: “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”